<![CDATA[NBC Southern California - Southern California News - [LA FEATURE] The NFL in Los Angeles]]>Copyright 2017http://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/localen-usSun, 24 Sep 2017 21:45:42 -0700Sun, 24 Sep 2017 21:45:42 -0700NBC Local Integrated Media<![CDATA[Stan Kroenke Weighs in After Trump's National Anthem Remarks]]>Sun, 24 Sep 2017 14:39:10 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-845412134.jpg

Los Angeles Rams owner Stan Kroenke weighed in Sunday on the issue of NFL players kneeling during the national anthem, as the protests appeared to be growing in the wake of sharp criticism from President Donald Trump.

"The Los Angeles Rams, our fan base and our city are all comprised of people from a variety of backgrounds and beliefs," Kroenke said in a statement released this morning. "When we recognize that this diversity is our strength and seek to understand different perspectives, we are more enlightened and empathetic human beings. Our organization is committed to celebrating diversity, inclusion and respect, values that help define Los Angeles. We are proud of the work that our players and all NFL players do to make our communities better places to live. We believe in the tenets of the national anthem, which is a pillar of this country; just as freedom of speech is another pillar and a constitutional right. We will continue to support our players' freedom to peacefully express themselves and the meaningful efforts they make to bring about positive change in our country."

Trump slammed the players during a speech in Alabama on Friday, saying "Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, 'Get that son of a bitch off the field right now, out, he's fired. He's fired!' You know some owner is going to do that. He's going to say, 'That guy disrespects our flag; he's fired.' And that owner, they don't know it. They're friends of mine, many of them. They'll be the most popular person, for a week. They'll be the most popular person in this country."

In response, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell hit back at the president on Saturday. "Divisive comments like these demonstrate an unfortunate lack of respect for the NFL, our great game and all of our players, and a failure to understand the overwhelming force for good our clubs and players represent in our communities," Goodell said.

A handful of other NFL leaders also criticized Trump's comments, including New York Giants owners John Mara and Steve Tisch, Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross and San Francisco 49ers CEO Jed York.

At Sunday morning's game between the Baltimore Ravens and Jacksonville Jaguars in London, several players on both teams kneeled and locked arms during the playing of the anthem.

Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick started the protests last season by refusing to remain standing during the playing of the anthem, as a protest against the treatment of African-Americans in the United States. His feelings were prompted in part by a series of high-profile cases of law enforcement officers shooting unarmed African-Americans over the last few years.

Kaepernick is now out of a job, which many NFL players and analysts have attributed to his anthem protests.

The Rams' next home game is Oct. 8 at the Coliseum against the Seattle Seahawks.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Chargers Facing First 0-3 Start in 14 Years]]>Sun, 24 Sep 2017 08:29:59 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-848582896.jpg

The Los Angeles Chargers will try to avoid their first 0- 3 start since 2003 when they play at StubHub Center Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs, who Chargers coach Anthony Lynn calls "the best team in the National Football League."

The 2-0 Chiefs lead the league in yards per play (7.59), are second in yards per game (440.5), rushing yards per game (148.5) and red zone touchdown percentage (83.3) and third in scoring with 34.5 points per game.

"Because we're 0-2 right now, it's a very important game for us," Lynn said. "If we beat this team, what does this say about us? We've been in both of our games so we feel like we can play with anybody."

Kansas City rookie running back Kareem Hunt led the league in rushing entering play in Week 3 with 229 yards. (Carlos Hyde of the San Francisco 49ers and Todd Gurley of the Los Angeles Rams, who both played Thursday, moved past Hunt with 253 yards and 241.)

Hunt has scored five touchdowns in his first two games. The only player with more touchdowns in his first two games was Dutch Sternaman, who had six touchdowns while playing for the Decatur Staleys in the league's inaugural 1920 season.

"He's a very instinctive, good football player," Lynn said of Hunt, who was drafted in the third round out of Toledo.

"He's not the type of kid that goes to the combine and measure well and run well, but he's just a football player. He's doing what he's always done. He's been very consistent and productive his whole life."

The Chargers have lost six consecutive games to the Chiefs since 2014, including 33-27 and 37-27 losses last season.

Both Charger losses this season have been by three points or less.

They opened the season with a 24-21 loss to the Denver Broncos Sept. 11. They appeared to have tied the game on a 44-yard field goal by Younghoe Koo, on the rookie's first NFL field goal attempt, but Denver called a time out just before the kick with five seconds left. The second kick was blocked.

Koo missed a 44-yard field goal with five seconds left last Sunday in a 19-17 loss to the Miami Dolphins. Koo also missed a 43-yard field goal with 30 seconds remaining in the first half.

An injury and an illness have resulted in two new members of the Chargers 53-player active roster since the Miami game.

The Chargers signed Tyler Marz from the Tennessee Titans practice squad Wednesday after placing fellow offensive lineman Chris Harrison on the reserve/non-football illness list because of an undisclosed illness, sidelining him for the remainder of the season.

Cornerback Jason Verrett was placed on the reserve/injured list Saturday because of a knee injury. Linebacker Nick Dzubnar was promoted from the practice squad to fill Verrett's spot on the roster.

The 6-foot-7-inch, 316-pound Marz spent the 2016 season and first two weeks of the 2017 season on Tennessee's practice squad. He was a teammate of Chargers running back Melvin Gordon and fullback Derek Watt at Wisconsin.

Verrett began training camp on the physically unable to perform list after being sidelined for the final 12 games of the 2016 season because of a partially torn ACL he was unable to pinpoint when it occurred.

Verrett played in the third preseason game, making an interception, and in 63 of 69 defensive plays and four on special teams in the opener against Denver.

Verrett participated in the first practice before the Miami game, then missed the next two and the game. He did not participate in any of the three practices leading up to the Kansas City game.

"It was never right in my opinion just watching him in practice," Lynn said. "But he's such a competitor (that) he kept wanting to go out, save himself and play the first week. But he wasn't able to play to his standard. So we just want him to get healthy."

Verrett was the Chargers Defensive Player of the Year in 2015 and played in the Pro Bowl following the season.

Dzubnar is a Mission Viejo High alumnus made the Chargers as an undrafted free agent out of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in 2015, playing all 16 games that season. He played the first four games of the 2016 season, then was sidelined the remainder of the season because of a knee injury.

The Chiefs roster includes two players who played on the high school level in Los Angeles County -- offensive tackle Mitchell Schwartz (Palisades) and receiver De'Anthony Thomas (Crenshaw). Coach Andy Reid is an alumnus of John Marshall High in Los Feliz.

Throughout the game, the Chargers will highlight NFL Play60, the league- wide initiative focused on increasing the wellness of young fans by encouraging them to be active for at least 60 minutes a day.

Chargers Play60 youth ambassadors will be invited onto the field during both pregame ceremonies and at halftime.

Members of the Agoura-Oak Park Chargers Youth Football team will get the opportunity to run through the Chargers tunnel and join players for the national anthem, which will be sung by Tinashe, an American singer-songwriter, dancer, actress and record producer.

The High School Quarterback Challenge will be held at halftime. The participants are Jaja Bellinger (Carson); Matt Corral (Long Beach Poly); Cooper Jones (El Toro); Griffin O'Connor (Edison); and Brevin White (Paraclete).

Corral has committed to Florida, O'Connor to Yale and White to Princeton.

The winner will have an opportunity to meet Pro Football Hall of Fame member LaDainian Tomlinson.

"American Ninja Warrior" host Akbar Gbaja-Biamila will fire the Chargers Cannon just before the opening kickoff. Gbaja-Biamila played three games for the Chargers as a defensive end in 2006 as part of a 22-game NFL career with three teams.



Photo Credit: Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[The Chargers Are Here to Stay]]>Fri, 22 Sep 2017 19:04:45 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/DeanSpanosGettyImages-607575460.jpg

Recently, reporter Don Banks suggested the NFL is considering moving the Chargers back to San Diego. But the team is here to stay for the long run.

"We are committed to and confident of the long-term success of two teams in Los Angeles," NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said.

Think about this logically for a moment — the NFL is one of if the most powerful entity in all of American sports. When the league makes a decision like moving a franchise to another bigger market, the due diligence necessary for that process has been completed.

Granted, the NFL did not want to vacate that market in San Diego, however due to stadium issues, Chargers owner Dean Spanos decided it was time to relocate the team after a 15 year battle with the city. The Rams were awarded the first opportunity to relocate from St. Louis to Los Angeles. The NFL finance committee — made up of a group of influential owners – rejected that notion last January on Spanos' attempt at a stadium plan with the Oakland Raiders in Carson. He later moved the Chargers to Los Angeles in March of 2016.

After settling in on a temporary home for the Chargers at the Stub Hub Center — which can host over 27,000 fans — Spanos has expressed excitement and anticipation for his franchise’s long-term future in Los Angeles.

The Chargers have sold out their season tickets to fans, and have added a wait list for future season ticket packages. Even though the attendance was over 25,000 fans for the Miami Dolphins game, the organization remains optimistic that the process to win over Los Angeles will come in due time, along with moving into the new Inglewood stadium with the Rams in 2020.

Banks, on the other hand, is convinced that the team will move back to their San Diego home sooner than later.

"I can tell you this, there are people in the league — including the commissioner — they did not want to see San Diego forsaken. They would rather there be a team in San Diego. If there's anything viable that they could find to put the league back in to San Diego, I think they will be in that camp strongly," Banks said.

It makes zero financial sense for the league and the Chargers to move back. The team has invested millions into their current facility in Costa Mesa as well as into upgrading Stub Hub Center. If they did move back, the Bolts would still have no new stadium to call their own in San Diego. With plans of finding a permanent site to for practices and office space in the future, the team will remain in the City of Angels for a long time.

Plans remain for marketing the new Inglewood stadium for the price of two teams and 16 games a year to be played, along with the extensive entertainment complex surrounding the venue. Remember the naming rights will also be negotiated for the new stadium. The NFL's vision of a two-team plan in the second largest media market remains intact.



Photo Credit: Dean Spanos]]>
<![CDATA[Chargers' Melvin Ingram On the Best Start of His Career]]>Fri, 22 Sep 2017 16:58:05 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/chargers-melvin-ingram-image-2017-09-22+%281%29.jpg

The gritty Los Angeles Chargers defense has played with passion this season, with one man alongside Joey Bosa possibly on his way to making a Pro Bowl appearance.

Linebacker Melvin Ingram has 2.5 sacks heading into week 3, and he has shown how much he's mastered the new defense. Defensive coordinator Gus Bradley has raved about Ingram's intellect and passion for the game. While Ingram and the defense see Bradley as an Obi-Wan Kenobi, soaking up his every word.

"He's a players coach, he knows how to communicate with us," Ingram said of Bradley. "He's a great coach, he's know how to break it down for us in simple terms for us to make plays."

Ingram enjoys playing at StubHub Center, and has the second highest productivity of any edge rusher in the NFL.

"I feel like everyone (on this team) is motivated. It doesn't take one person to motivate the group," Ingram said on Friday.

Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn has been thoroughly impressed with Ingram thus far.

"He's a heck of a player. He gives you everything he's got every play," Lynn said. "He's stepping up and becoming a leader."

Ingram studies the game intensely every week, and understand the importance of a win for the Bolts and how to obtain it.

The Chargers have not started their season they way they envisioned, but they have an opportunity to pick up a victory Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs.

"We just have to come out and cancel every aspect of their offense, whether it's the run or the pass," Ingram said.

Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith has been known to beat teams with his arm, but lately he's tried to beat teams with his legs. The Chargers defense will have their work cut out for them, and Ingram doesn't seem phased by Smith.

"We just have to rush the quarterback consistently. That's it," Ingram said.

Beside being a top notch linebacker, Ingram introduced us to his other passion, which is music. Many athletes turned artists have come and gone. Los Angeles Lakers legend Shaquille O'Neal made his mark in the rap world, and many years later other athletes such as Pittsburgh Steelers RB Le'Von Belle and Portland Trail Blazers guard Damien Lillard (aka Dame Dolla) released projects.

Unlike those athletes, Ingram is also a producer. The Roc Nation represented artist has co-production credit on his latest EP "Reap What You Sow.”

The preparation Ingram puts in on the football field is matched is his studio sessions. He's all about representing his “Lifestyle,” which happens to be the lead single off of his EP.

"All of the prep, passion and intensity is all of that when you're putting your heart into something. It's all the same. My music speaks for itself," he said. "I feel like I'm the most talented athlete in music, period."

Ingram's favorite quarterback to sack is everyone who's on the Bolts’ schedule this season. He is off to the best start of his career, and the balance that he displays on and off the field, is a sure sign of great things to come for Ingram’s lifestyle.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Rams Hold On to Defeat 49ers in Shootout ]]>Fri, 22 Sep 2017 02:04:53 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/208*120/Goff+and+Rams+hold+on+to+beat+Niners+.png

This isn't last year's Rams.

Todd Gurley scored three first half touchdowns, and Sammy Watkins scored two in the second half, as the Los Angeles Rams held on to defeat the rival San Francisco 49ers, 41-39, on Thursday Night Football at Levis Stadium in Santa Clara.

The revamped Rams offense was on full display on primetime as Jared Goff threw three touchdowns for 292 yards in his return to his hometown.

"I was Really pleased with Jared tonight," said Rams head coach Sean McVay, who also calls the plays on offense. "I thought he made great decisions with the football. I thought Jared managed the game extremely well, distributed to his playmakers, gave guys a chance down the field — you look at Sammy and Robert coming away with over 100 apiece. And, really, those are the kinds of things we expect from him."

Both Robert Woods and Watkins both had over 100 receiving yards as Woods had six catches for 108 yards, and Watkins had six catches for 106 yards and two touchdowns.

"I felt like we were just out there playing — like I didn’t know numbers or whatever," Woods said of his and Watkins’ performances. "We were just going out there and making plays, just doing our assignment and the ball was finding us. Jared put up some nice balls for us to catch and I think we’re doing that."

Gurley had five catches for 36 yards and a score and had over 100 yards rushing with two touchdowns on the ground.

"We just got in a rhythm," said Gurley. "Everybody was getting going. We were able to have a little success running the ball and then we opened up the passing game. So it just felt good to be out there and execute as an offense."

Los Angeles became the fastest team to score this season when starting on defense after Neckell Robey-Coleman intercepted Brian Hoyer's first pass of the game, returning the ball to the San Francisco three-yard-line.

"Oh the first play? Yeah that was lit," Robey-Coleman said with a laugh. "The first play was great — broke on the ball, got a good read on the quarterback, the D-line got a good rush, and I came away with an interception. I feel like that set the tempo for the night."

One play later, Gurley rushed up the middle for the first touchdown of the game, as the Rams took the lead just 12 seconds in.

Last season, the Rams were shutout in San Francisco at Levis Stadium, but they quickly turned the tables on Thursday night.

On the ensuing San Francisco drive, the Rams had appeared to stop the Niners, forcing a punt, but defensive back Blake Countess jumped offsides on the punt, handing the 49ers a new set of downs.

Brian Hoyer made the most of his second chance as he scored on a nine-yard run to tie the game at 7-7.

The scramble by Hoyer was the first touchdown of the season for the 49ers after they failed to find the endzone in their first two games of the season against the Carolina Panthers and Seattle Seahawks, respectively.

Gurley scored his second touchdown of the quarter and of the game when he caught a pass from Jared Goff and scurried seven yards to the endzone to put the Rams up 14-7.

Gurley got the hat trick right before the half when he took the toss from Goff and beat the San Francisco defense to the left pylon for the score.

If at first you don't succeed, try, try, and try again as the 49ers found out when they handed the ball off to Carlos Hyde on three straight possessions at the goaline. After a third down and goal stop by the Rams defense, San Francisco went for it on fourth down and Hyde finally broke through the Mob Squad for the score.

Sammy Watkins scored his first touchdown in a Los Angeles Rams uniform when he caught a slant from Goff to put L.A. back up by 14 points.

San Francisco would respond right away as the game suddenly became a shootout in the second half.

After a deep 50-yard completion to Marquis Goodwin just before the end of the quarter, Brian Hoyer found tight-end Garrett Celek in the endzone for the touchdown.

Watkins scored his second touchdown of the game when he caught a pass from Goff over the middle, carrying defenders on his back as he wrestled and reached for the goaline.

San Francisco would not go quietly into the Bay Area night as they quickly responded with a touchdown from Hoyer to Trent Taylor that once again put the 49ers within a single score.

On the ensuing kickoff, Pharaoh Cooper fumbled the ball on the Rams 25-yard-line, and the 49ers recovered, putting them in business for the game-tying score.

San Francisco did indeed score on another goaline run by Hyde, but were unable to tie the game as the two-point conversion was intercepted by defensive lineman Michael Brokers.

Hyde finished with 25 carries for 84 yards and two touchdowns and Hoyer threw for 332 yards with two touchdowns and an interception.

After an onside kick was recovered by San Francisco, it appeared that the 49ers were primed and ready for the game-winning score.

However, the comeback was not meant to be as lineman Aaron Donald sacked Hoyer on 4th and 20 to secure the victory for the Rams.

"We just knew we needed to make a big stop,” said Donald after the game. “We had given up a lot on defense and their offense was putting up points. So, it felt good to get those three and outs, and come off the field, and close the game out."

Up Next:

Los Angeles will have the next 10 days off to prepare for the Cowboys as the Rams head to the "House that Jerry Built" at AT&T Stadium on Sunday, October 1, at 10:00AM PST.



Photo Credit: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Rams Take on 49ers]]>Thu, 21 Sep 2017 16:03:44 -0700

Fans geared up for the Rams game against the San Francisco 49ers. Mario Solis reports.]]>
<![CDATA[Rams Take on 49ers: What to Watch]]>Thu, 21 Sep 2017 16:09:35 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/212*120/Jared-Goff-Rams-vs-Colts.jpg

Two first-time head coaches square off Thursday night when the Los Angeles Rams faces the San Francisco 49ers in Santa Clara.

Programming Note: Tonight's game will be broadcast on NBC4

Here's what to look for as the teams take the field in Week 3 of the NFL season.

FAVORITE FOE: Ever since beating Chicago on Dec. 6, 2015, the 49ers have been unable to beat any other team -- except for the Rams. San Francisco won the season finale that year against the Rams and then swept Los Angeles last season. Over a 22-game span, the Niners are 3-0 against the Rams and 0-19 against everyone else.

"We're done with that. We're on to this year," Rams quarterback Jared Goff said. "Last year was a whole different deal and this year is exciting."

FAMILY AFFAIR: Rams coach Sean McVay has a family connection to the 49ers through his grandfather. John McVay spent more than two decades in the front office in San Francisco and was a key part of the dynasty that brought five Super Bowl titles to the franchise. Sean McVay hopes to get a chance to see his grandfather before the game.

"I want to ask him who he'll be rooting for," he said. "I'd like to think that family runs a little thicker, but you have to ask him that."

SEARCH FOR SIX: The 49ers have had 21 drives this season and are still waiting for their first touchdown. San Francisco has 11 punts, four field goals, three turnovers and three failed fourth-down attempts so far. The biggest culprit has been quarterback Brian Hoyer, who is averaging just 4.7 yards per attempt thanks in part to just two completions on throws that traveled more than 10 yards downfield.

"You've just got to get completions and move the chains," he said. "`I think that's the one thing we've got to do as an entire offense is stay on the field longer. Our defense is doing a great job. Keep them off the field. Keep them fresh. For us it would be great to just go out and sustain a drive."

GOFF GROWS: Goff looks like a completely different quarterback than the one who struggled as a rookie late last season against the 49ers. Goff went 11 for 24 for 90 yards in a 22-21 loss on Christmas Eve as part of a 0-7 rookie season. Goff got his first win in the opener against Indianapolis and has thrown for 265 yards per game, up from 155.6 as a rookie.

SAFETY DANCE: The 49ers have been hit with the injury bug at safety. Strong safety Eric Reid will miss at least a couple of games with an injured left knee, free safety Jimmie Ward is still working his way back from a training camp hamstring injury and hasn't played a complete game and backup Jaquiski Tartt has been slowed this week by a neck injury. The only fully healthy safeties on the roster are a pair of rookies in seventh-rounder Adrian Colbert and undrafted Lorenzo Jerome.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Former Coaching Colleagues Face Off When 49ers Host Rams]]>Thu, 21 Sep 2017 08:51:15 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/194*120/McVay+Rams+5+things.png

Sean McVay and Kyle Shanahan took similar paths on their journey to becoming NFL coaches.

Both rose from famous football families to their first NFL jobs as quality control assistants on Jon Gruden's staffs in Tampa Bay and then spent four years together on Kyle's father Mike's staff in Washington.

Now McVay and Shanahan are both first-time head coaches ready to face off as opponents on Thursday night when McVay's Los Angeles Rams (1-1) face Shanahan's San Francisco 49ers (0-2).

"Once I got around Kyle, it takes you about two minutes to realize what a bright offensive mind he is," McVay said.

"The next couple of years we just really continued to grow in our friendship and I learned a lot from him. ... He's one of the guys I respect as much as anyone in this business and he's been a huge influence on my coaching career."

McVay, the grandson of former 49ers executive John McVay, capitalized on the four years as an assistant for Washington when Kyle Shanahan was offensive coordinator to take over that job when Jay Gruden replaced Mike Shanahan as head coach and Kyle left for Cleveland.

A successful tenure there helped the 31-year-old McVay become the youngest head coach in modern NFL history when the Rams hired him this offseason. None of that came as a surprise to Shanahan.

"You never know until you get put in that spot, but usually when you get hired, you're capable of doing it," Shanahan said. "You don't know until you get on the job. And regardless of what your age is, you know, Sean's been a coordinator, he's been through it, he's been around football a lot.

"Whether he got this opportunity now, which he did, or eight years from now, Sean is going to adjust to the situation and rise to the challenge and I think he'll do a great job there."

Niners receiver Pierre Garcon knows both coaches well, having played for them in Washington and now with Shanahan in San Francisco. He said they are both passionate about football and run similar offenses, but there are some differences off the field.

"Sean might be a little bit smoother and funnier," Garcon said. "Kyle is on top of all the details. That's a little bit of difference."


Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Los Angeles Chargers Fan Photos]]>Mon, 18 Sep 2017 07:57:02 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/166*120/GettyImages-831186316.jpgChargers fans show their support for the Bolts.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Rams Fans in Their Sunday Best]]>Mon, 18 Sep 2017 08:50:33 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-845364734.jpgCheck out images of some of the Rams' died-hard fans sporting their Sunday best.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Gates and Tomlinson Both Celebrate History at StubHub]]>Sun, 17 Sep 2017 19:27:59 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/178*120/AP_17260802874433.jpg

Antonio Gates made history at StubHub Center in the third quarter Sunday, catching a seven-yard pass in the end zone from quarterback Phillip Rivers to surpass the mark for most touchdown catches by a tight end.

Gates broke the record previously held by Tony Gonzalez who retired after his 17th season in 2013.

Ironically, this happened on the same day that his former teammate LaDianian Tomlison received his Hall of Fame ring during halftime at StubHub Center. Gates, a 15-year tight end vet made history of his own during the game and ensured his place in Canton, Ohio whenever he decides to hang up his jersey, which could be at the end of this season.

"I was a basketball star, I never imagined I'd be up here talking to you all about a football record," Gates explained after the game. "It goes to show you that God's plan always trumps your plans."

He is truly a man of faith and dedication. The 2003 undrafted free agent worked extremely hard in order to be make the team. By his second season, he set a record for touchdowns in a season with 13. He's elevated his game every year since, and revolutionized the tight end position.

"It's finally coming to an end," a relieved Gates said. "Six weeks of hearing about it, when are you going to break the record? Now. the opportunity present(ed) itself, and still being able to give our team a chance to win, I can't tell you... because it was a bittersweet moment. Even though we were still able to move forward in the game, you still want to get a win."

It was the 85th scoring connection between Rivers and Gates, that ties them for second-most by a quarterback-tight end duo with Jerry Rice and Steve Young.

"It was awesome. Too bad it didn't happen in a win, but it was awesome," Rivers said. "Its a lot of touchdowns, a lot of years, a lot of tight ends that have played in this league. Certainly a special accomplishment for him. I'm just thankful that I could be a part of a lot of them -- not all of them, but a lot of them."

Gates joked in a post-game press conference that he welcomed all of his team to celebrate with him -- except Rivers. He said he told Rivers to stay away from him because he didn't want to get emotional during that time.

Now Gates and the Chargers can put that mark past them, and solely focus on getting more wins this season in a goal to make the playoffs.

Chargers former running back LaDianian Tomlison was honored at halftime, with his Pro-Football Hall of Fame Ring on the field in front of over 25,000 fans.

He's a five-time Pro-Bowler and four-time All-Pro, rushed for 13,684 career yards and 145 touchdowns in 11 seasons. He spent nine seasons with the San Diego Chargers and two seasons with the New York Jets.

Tomlinson currently works as an analyst on the NFL Network and serves as a special advisor to the Chargers with community development.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Chargers Come Up Short 19-17 Against Dolphins]]>Sun, 17 Sep 2017 16:22:22 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-848582896.jpg

The Los Angeles Chargers came up short in the fourth quarter in a 19-17 loss to the Miami Dolphins in their regular season debut at StubHub Center.

On 4th and 5, Dolphins kicker Cody Parkey nailed a 54-yard field goal that gave them the lead.

This is the first regular season home game for the Chargers in Los Angeles since 1960.

After 56 years of playing in San Diego at Qualcomm Stadium, owner Dean Spaonos decided to move his franchise to L.A. after last season. Spanos struck a deal with Los Angeles Rams owner Stan Kroenke to play in his Inglewood stadium, scheduled to be ready in 2020. For the next three years the Chargers will play at the nearly 30,000 seat Stub Hub Center in Carson.

The Chargers defense played very well throughout the game, setting the tone, however the offense continued to struggle and didn't assist themselves with several penalties that killed them on their first two drives of the opening quarter.

The Chargers returned home after a close loss to the Denver Broncos 24-21 last Monday night at Mile High Stadium. The Chargers were determined to bounce back after a good week of practice, ready to face the Miami Dolphins.

Miami had not played a regular season game due to the conditions of Hurricane Irma, and flew out to Los Angeles early to practice.

The Dolphins showed no signs of rust as head coach Adam Gase decided to keep their offense simple with QB Jay Cutler, as RB Jay Ajayi did most of the heavy lifting on the ground. The Bolts defense stood up masterfully, preventing a touchdown opportunity and allowing Miami to settle for a 30-yard field goal, and a 3-0 lead.

Later in the second quarter the Bolts offense woke up, and with solid runs by Brenden Oliver and two key catches by Keenan Allen that landed them in the red zone, Gordon bulldozed his way through to score the team's first touchdown of the day for the 10-3 lead.

Adam Gase challenged a crucial play in the third quarter, and won the decision. The Dolphins kept their drive alive, as Cutler avoided pressure and found Kenny Stills on the right side of the end zone for a 29-yard touchdown reception.

Rivers continued to pick apart the Dolphins' defense as he found Henry and Allen driving down the field.

No target was more significant than finding Gates in end zone for the touchdown and the all-time record. Gates surpasses Tony Gonzalez on the All-Time list for most touchdown receptions for a tight end. It was the 85th time that Rivers connected with Gates for a touchdown, tying Steve Young and Jerry Rice for second-most in NFL history.

The Chargers had one last opportunity for victory. With just over a minute remaining, Rivers marched the Chargers down the field. With just 19 seconds left, Koo missed the game-winning field goal. The Chargers have now lost two straight and now must get ready for their AFC West rival in the Kansas City Chiefs next Sunday.

*Gates' caught his 900th career reception pass in the second quarter. He's only the 22nd play in league history to reach 900 receptions.



Photo Credit: Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Chargers Looking for Regular Season StubHub Center Win]]>Sun, 17 Sep 2017 09:49:01 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/LA-Chargers-Philip-Rivers-Aug-13-17.jpg

The Los Angeles Chargers will play their first regular-season game at StubHub Center Sunday after losing both preseason games in the 27,000-seat stadium with crowds nearly 6,000 short of capacity.

Attendance Sunday is expected to be larger than the preseason games. The Chargers, who are sold out of season tickets, released a limited number of team holds for the game against the Miami Dolphins, which are available, along with verified resale of season ticket member seats, at the Chargers website.

The Chargers will try to avoid their first 0-2 start since 2008 after losing their opener to the Denver Broncos, 24-21, Monday night. They appeared to have tied the game on a 44-yard field goal by Younghoe Koo, on the rookie's first NFL field goal attempt, but Denver called a time out just before the kick with five seconds left. The second kick was blocked.

Chargers tight end Antonio Gates needs one touchdown catch to become the NFL's career leader among tight ends. Gates is tied with Tony Gonzalez at 111. Quarterback Philip Rivers threw to Gates three times against the Broncos, with Gates catching six- and 11-yard passes.

The game is the season opener for the Dolphins, whose planned season opener last Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Miami Gardens, Florida was postponed because of Hurricane Irma.

"It will be exciting for our guys to just finally stop practicing and play a game," said coach Adam Gase. The Dolphins practiced in Oxnard at the Dallas Cowboys training camp facility adjacent to the River Ridge Golf Club Wednesday through Friday.

The Los Angeles Rams, who practice in nearby Thousand Oaks at California Lutheran University, sent what Gase described as "a whole bunch of"' equipment, making "it easy for our guys to get things rolling before our stuff got here." "Everybody's been great and making sure we're taken care of," Gase said. "It just seems like all hands were on deck to help us out."

Jay Cutler will be making his debut as Miami's quarterback, four months after signing with Fox Sports to become an analyst on NFL broadcasts. Cutler signed with the Dolphins in August after starter Ryan Tannehill tore his left ACL in the first non-contact practice of the season, sidelining him for the season.

The Chargers added two players to their 53-man active roster since Monday's loss.

Defensive tackle Tenny Palepoi was added to the active roster after completing a four-game suspension without pay issued Dec. 12 for violating the league's policy on performance-enhancing substances. Defensive end Whitney Richardson was waived to create a spot on the roster for Palepoi.

Rookie cornerback Michael Davis was promoted from the practice squad Saturday, replacing receiver Geremy Davis, who played against the Broncos Monday, the same day he was promoted from the practice squad.

The Chargers will commemorate their return to Los Angeles after 56 seasons in San Diego by having Pro Football Hall of Fame offensive tackle Ron Mix and four of his teammates from the 1960 Los Angeles Chargers recognized on the field in the first quarter. They will present the organization with an original 1960 team-signed football.

LaDainian Tomlinson, the Chargers career rushing leader, will be presented his Pro Football Hall of Fame ring at halftime. Tomlinson's Pro Football Hall of Fame bust was flown in from Canton for the ceremony.

Tomlinson is a special assistant to owner Dean Spanos, helping to further develop fan engagement and community relations programs. The national anthem will be sung by Jordin Sparks, the 2007 "American Idol" winner.

Before Sparks sings the national anthem, 125 service members representing the U.S. Air Force, Army, Coast Guard and Navy will take the field, holding red, white and blue ribbons, paying tribute to the flag.

As the anthem concludes, two F-35 Lightning II jets from Edwards Air Force Base will conduct a flyover, traveling south to north above StubHub Center.

Army Sgt. Gus Orozco and Air Force Lt. Col. Ed Reynolds Jr. will be honored during pregame ceremonies as the Military Heroes of the Week.

Orozco has served in the Army for more than 12 years, including a 2007 deployment to Iraq. He is veteran affairs commissioner in the president's cabinet at Cal State Long Beach.

Reynolds has served more than 22 years in the Air Force, amassed 5,000 flying hours, including 640 combat hours in 147 missions. He oversees "Wings Over Wendy's," a program where veterans convene weekly at a Wendy's restaurant in West Hills.

Pregame ceremonies will also include the presentation of a donation from the Chargers to Maj. Mike LaSorda from the Los Angeles Air Force Base to support its family recreation and youth programs.

The donation is being made in connection with the Chargers recognition of Monday's the 70th anniversary of the formation of the Air Force as a separate branch of the military. The base in El Segundo is the home of the Air Force Space Command's Space and Missile Systems Center.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Rams Looking for First 2-0 Start in 16 Years]]>Sun, 17 Sep 2017 09:53:27 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Jared-Goff-LA-Rams-LA-Chargers.jpg

The Los Angeles Rams will try to get off to their first 2-0 start since 2001 when they play host to the Washington Redskins Sunday at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

The game matches Rams coach Sean McVay against the team that employed him from 2010-16, including as offensive coordinator from 2014-16. McVay also worked with Washington coach Jay Gruden on the coaching staffs of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2008 and the Florida Tuskers of the short-lived United Football League in 2009.

"Jay's a guy (that's) been so good to me," said McVay, who guided the Rams to a 46-9 victory over the Indianapolis Colts last Sunday in his debut as an NFL coach. "I'm looking forward to seeing a handful of guys. We'll have our conversations and then we'll go play a football game and then we'll shake hands and it will be like anything else."

Three-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Aaron Donald will make his 2017 debut with the Rams after missing training camp as he sought a contract extension. Donald reported to the team's training facility Sept. 9, but did not play against the Colts.

Donald will start but McVay did not say how much he would play.

"He came in in good shape, he's looked good, looks fresh, looks like the Aaron Donald that you guys are accustomed to seeing," McVay said Friday in his final meeting with reporters before the game.

"He was doing everything that he could while not being here to make sure that when this opportunity presented itself, he would be ready to go and help his teammates out and try to be a positive thing that helps us win football games."

Washington opened the season with a 30-17 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles last Sunday and is trying to avoid its second consecutive 0-2 start.

The game will include a celebration of the return of the Olympics to Los Angeles.

International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach will light the Coliseum's cauldron, joined by Mayor Eric Garcetti, Casey Wasserman, chair of LA 2028, the Games' bid committee, Olympic gold medalist Rafer Johnson, and IOC board members Larry Probst, Anita De Frantz and Angela Ruggiero.

Johnson lit the Coliseum cauldron during the opening ceremony of the 1984 Olympics.

Olympic gold medalists Lisa Fernandez (softball), Paul Gonzales (boxing) and Paralympian Alma Rodriguez (basketball) will participate in the coin toss.

Ron Brown, a member of the gold medal-winning U.S. men's 400 meter relay team who was a Rams receiver from 1984-89 and in 1991, will be honored during the game.

The game is the Rams Hispanic Heritage Game.

The national anthem will be sung by Jackie Cruz, who plays Marisol "Flaca" Gonzales on the Netflix women's prison drama "Orange Is the New Black."

The drumline, marching band and drill team from the Santee Educational Complex in South Los Angeles will perform at midfield during halftime. The band will perform the "Marcha De Zacatecas," a Mexican patriotic song. A ballet foklorico dance group in its traditional costumes will perform to accompany the band.

Fidel Vargas, president and CEO of the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, will receive the Hispanic Heritage Leadership Award prior to kickoff. The fund will receive a $2,000 donation in connection with the award.

Five thousand towels and 4,000 temporary tattoos embodying the artwork of graffiti and tattoo artist Mister Cartoon will be given to fans visiting the Corona Beach House.

Kristy Sandoval will begin painting a mural in the Corona Beach House at 10 a.m.

Retired Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Octavio Sanchez, an Iraq War veteran, will be honored during the game. Sanchez is now an ambassador for UCLA's Operation Mend, which provides charitable medical services to wounded service members and their families.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Antonio Gates Sets Trends, Not Just Records]]>Thu, 14 Sep 2017 16:06:26 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-500222866.jpg

Antonio Gates is on the brink of not only breaking a record but setting a trend for the future of the tight end position. The Chargers veteran is one touchdown away from setting the all-time record for most touchdowns by a tight end, surpassing former Chiefs and Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez. He currently has 111 touchdown catches.

"I mean obviously that milestone is an unbelievable accomplishment, I would definitely embrace it," Gates said of the possibility of setting the record. "I would celebrate with my teammates and my family. Every week is something different, once Monday hits whether I get it (the record) or not, I wouldn't allow that to live on past that week. If I get it, I would enjoy it and be appreciative of it. It's an incredible task to conquer, but it's week to week in the league. So my focus is on doing whatever I can and getting better."

Gates was an undrafted rookie in 2003 from Kent State, and the basketball star-turned-football pro approached the position with an uncanny method in order to force defenses to change and reconstruct their coverage on him in games.

Over the past 14 seasons, Philip Rivers and Gates have connected on 84 touchdowns, the most ever for a quarterback-tight end duo. These two will go down in history as one of the most effective dynamic duos in the NFL.

Ironically, Gates went from fighting for a position on the team in his first two seasons, to now mentoring younger players like Hunter Henry and others on his team. He continues to have fun while continually perfecting his craft after 15 seasons in the NFL.

"Doing the little details things, obviously everyone here can run, jump, catch, etc.," Gates explained. "It about doing the extra things that you can't see. I've always been about that in my career, and implement that in my play. I tried to lead by example, and hopefully the younger guys will follow that."

Of course he isn't focused on setting the record. When he does, however, the 27,000 fans in attendance on Sunday against the Dolphins will be witnessing history at the Stub Hub Center. When Gates is able to put on that gold jacket in Canton, Ohio and have his jersey retired, he will be missed tremendously in football.

He'll be missed not just because he has the all-time record, but because of what he meant to the game, the position, his preparation, and how he electrified the sidelines like no other.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[He's Back: Rams' Aaron Donald to Start Sunday]]>Thu, 14 Sep 2017 05:36:56 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-488073046.jpg

Three-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Aaron Donald practiced with the Los Angeles Rams today for the first time after missing training camp and will start Sunday's game against the Washington Redskins, coach Sean McVay coach.

In the practice at California Lutheran University, Donald "looked fast, looked fresh, looked like the player that you've seen," McVay said.

"It didn't look like he missed a beat and it was good to have him back out there," McVay said. "Great demeanor, guys were excited to have him back, he's all smiles because he loves football, so nothing but positive things there. I was happy too."

Donald reported to team's training facility Saturday after missing all of training camp as he sought a contract extension. He did not play in Sunday's 46-9 victory over the Indianapolis Colts. Safety Maurice Alexander and cornerback Kayvon Webster missed the practice because of shoulder injuries sustained Sunday.

Alexander is expected to practice Thursday, McVay said.

Two other starters, offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth and outside linebacker Connor Barwin were given the day off, McVay said.

The Rams announced the signing of offensive tackle Cornelius Lucas on Wednesday. The 6-foot-9-inch, 330-pound Lucas played 35 games with the Detroit Lions over the past three seasons. He was among two player waived Sept. 3 to make room for two players claimed on waivers.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Goff, LA Rams Trample Colts 46-9]]>Sun, 10 Sep 2017 17:25:13 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/212*120/Jared-Goff-Rams-vs-Colts.jpg

On Opening Day of the 2017 NFL regular season, seemingly everything went right for the Los Angeles Rams, as the LA Memorial Coliseum witnessed the home team beat the Indianapolis Colts in convincing fashion, 46-9, and second-year quarterback Jared Goff had himself the best day of his young professional career.

Goff looked comfortable under center, calm in the pocket and confident in his throws. The 22-year-old finished the day with 306 passing yards on the day with 21 completions on 29 attempts, one touchdown and no interceptions. Sunday served as the first time Goff had ever thrown for over 300 yards as a professional, and the young quarterback's touchdown pass to rookie wide receiver Cooper Kupp hinted as a blossoming partnership.

Kupp finished with 76 yards to lead all receivers.

Though Goff's play deserved the headlines on the day, the Rams' first offensive touchdown came via running back Todd Gurley II rushing up the middle from five yards out. Gurley finished the day with 40 yards on 19 rushes and a touchdown. Though Gurley's yards per carry was less than stunning, the half back also caught five passes for 56 yards on the day.

Both Goff and Gurley struggled in 2016, so new LA Rams head coach Sean McVay had to feel encouraged by how his two star offensive players looked to start the season.

Of course, one should point out that the Colts were without Andrew Luck and contributed to their own demise. Backup quarterback Scott Tolzien looked awful and drew predictable responses wondering if Colin Kaepernick couldn't do better than 9/18 for 128 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions.

Both those interceptions resulted in touchdowns, as Trumaine Johnson scored the Rams' first touchdown of the season on a 39-yard interception return. Lamarcus Joyner made an acrobatic interception of his own in the second half and raced to the endzone for the defense's second score of the day.

Before the end of the game, the Rams put the exclamation point on the defensive dominance with a safety.

The Colts did eventually score a touchdown, but that score arrived after McVay had already opted to rest his defensive starters.

From beginning to end, Sunday at the LA Coliseum looked like a highlight reel for the Los Angeles Rams, who started the season 1-0.

Next: The Rams host the Washington Redskins in Week 2.

Quote: "I thought it was okay," - McVay when asked about the offense after the game. The Rams scored the most points in a game since 2014.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Rams Look to Change Fortunes in Home Opener]]>Sun, 10 Sep 2017 11:23:57 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Jared-Goff-LA-Rams-vs-Cowboys.jpg

The Los Angeles Rams will open their second season of their second stay in Southern California on Sunday with changes to their coaching staff, roster and helmet after going 4-12 in 2016.

Sean McVay will be making his NFL head coaching debut in the game against the Indianapolis Colts at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, part of a 23-man coaching staff that includes 20 newcomers. The 31-year-old McVay is the youngest head coach in modern NFL history.

McVay has eight years of NFL coaching experience, including serving as the Washington Redskins offensive coordinator from 2014-16.

The Rams' 53-man roster includes 23 newcomers -- seven players signed as veteran free agents, two acquired in trades, five claimed on waivers and nine rookies, seven draft choices and two undrafted free agents, former USC running back Justin Davis and cornerback Dominique Hatfield, a Utah alumnus.

The Los Angeles Rams have returned to wearing blue helmets with white horns, similar to what they wore from 1964-72. They wore blue helmets with white horns from 2000-16. The first 50,000 fans in attendance will receive a T- shirt featuring the helmet.

Both teams will be without standout performers.

Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald reported to team's training facility at California Lutheran University Saturday after missing all of training camp as he sought a contract extension, but will not play against the Colts. Tanzel Smart, chosen in the sixth round of the 2017 NFL draft out of Tulane, is expected to start in place of Donald, a Pro Bowl selection in each of his first three seasons.

Colts quarterback Andrew Luck will miss the game as he continues to recover from surgery on his right shoulder performed in January. Scott Tolzien will start in his place, making the fourth start of his seven-season NFL career. Tolzien started for Wisconsin in its 21-19 loss to Texas Christian in the 2011 Rose Bowl Game, completing 12 of 21 passes for 159 yards.

The Rams have lost two of their last three openers, including a 28-0 loss to the San Francisco 49ers last season.

The game is the Colts' first in Los Angeles since Sept. 15, 1991 when they lost to the Raiders, 16-0, at the Coliseum.

For the second consecutive year, the Rams will honor Pro Football Hall of Famers at their season opener. Eric Dickerson, Marshall Faulk, Tom Mack, Orlando Pace, Jackie Slater, Aenas Williams and Jack Youngblood will participate in the coin toss. Kurt Warner, a member of the hall's Class of 2017, will help light the torch in the Peristyle end of the Coliseum.

All eight Hall of Famers will take to the field at halftime through a tunnel of season ticket holder and will be honored on the 50-yard line.

The Rams announced on Aug. 31 that fans purchasing tickets for the game at therams.com/harvey and entering the code BROCKERS could have the Rams' full proceeds from the sale donated to the American Red Cross and United Way of Greater Houston.

The Rams also auctioned two opportunities to attend the game with proceeds going to the American Red Cross.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Kicker Younghoe Koo Blazes Path From South Korea to Chargers]]>Thu, 07 Sep 2017 17:08:45 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/chargers-kicking-koo.jpg

Younghoe Koo didn't know much about football when he saw his new seventh-grade classmates in New Jersey playing two-hand touch during lunch recess.

Koo got invited to kick off, and the South Korean-born, soccer-loving middle schooler booted the pigskin with authority. So he signed up for tackle football — and he discovered he really liked hitting people, too.

"I just fell in love with the whole thing," Koo said.

Koo recounts the story in the Los Angeles Chargers' locker room, where he has earned a seat. The undrafted rookie from Georgia Southern has beaten out veteran Josh Lambo to become the Chargers' kicker, and he makes his debut Monday night in Denver.

"I knew I was going to have to earn everything, but mentally, I just (wanted to take) small steps to just prove I belong here and I can compete with these guys," Koo said. "It was huge to find comfort inside to compete at a higher level."

Koo is the fourth South Korean-born NFL player, joining Hines Ward, Kyle Love and former UCLA kicker John Lee. Although he only missed one field goal during his outstanding senior year at Georgia Southern, he was best known for the viral videos of his incredible backflip trick kicks before getting his shot with the Chargers.

"I felt good because I thought I did everything I could out there during the preseason," Koo said. "But at the same time, you don't know what's going to happen. They're going to make the decision based on whatever they're looking at."

Whatever it was, Koo had it. After Lambo missed a handful of important kicks last season, the Chargers are entrusting the job to their third kicker in four years — a rookie with a burning desire to succeed in his adopted country's favorite sport.

Koo loved youth football in Ridgewood, New Jersey, but he still pursued soccer until high school, when he had to choose one sport because their seasons were simultaneous. Koo credits his middle school football coach with persuading his father that kicking could lead to a college scholarship and more.

Koo played kicker and defensive back in high school before heading to Georgia Southern, where the 5-foot-9 ex-cornerback reluctantly gave up defense.

"Going into college, I kind of had to calm down," Koo said. "I had to accept the fact that I was just kicking a football. I wanted to (keep playing defense), but they were kind of bigger in college."

Koo's father, Hyungseo Koo, is now a business professor at Induk University in Seoul. His mother, Seungmae Choi, is a nurse in Georgia. Neither can be in Denver to watch his debut next week, but Koo hopes to get them to a home game soon.

"Football isn't really big back there, but now my dad is getting attention from his colleagues and he's letting me know," Koo said.

Koo realizes that if he is successful, he should attract enormous interest to the Chargers from the Los Angeles area's estimated 200,000 Korean immigrants — the largest such community in the U.S.

Koo would welcome the chance to build his less-familiar pastime among the same sports fans who embrace Dodgers pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu with fervor.

"It's exciting for me," Koo said. "Obviously there aren't that many (Korean players in football). Hopefully it will start the trend a little bit, and have people out there playing and see if we can get that going. But I love to represent."

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File]]>
<![CDATA[Chargers Season Preview: Facing the 'Fight for LA']]>Thu, 07 Sep 2017 11:15:37 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/LA-Chargers-Philip-Rivers-Aug-13-17.jpg

The Chargers' advertising campaign in their relocation season is built around what they call the "Fight for LA."

Realizing that the Los Angeles Rams have a head start in the nation's second-largest market, the Chargers humbly characterize their move north from San Diego as a battle for the heart and attention of a city that did just fine without the NFL for 21 years.

That hypothetical tussle with the Rams will be much easier to win if the Bolts can make a quick surge into playoff contention this fall.

Quarterback Philip Rivers thinks he has the team to do it.

"We've got a lot of work to do, but at the same time, we're confident about a lot of things," said Rivers, who hasn't missed a game in 11 consecutive seasons as the Chargers' starter. "There's a lot of talent on this roster, and it's up to us to get the most out of it. Relocation, you can't use that as an excuse. It's up to us as players and coaches."

Although the roster remained remarkably stable after two straight dismal seasons, much else is new for the Chargers as they start their serious work in Orange County.

First-time head coach Anthony Lynn was hired on the same day as the Chargers' relocation announcement, and the longtime assistant has an experienced staff around him led by offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt and defensive coordinator Gus Bradley, two former NFL head coaches.

Lynn has a steely leadership style shaped by mentors Bill Walsh, Bill Parcells and Rex Ryan, among others. He is confident in the Chargers' ability to handle the uncertainties of relocation by relying on their veteran leaders.

"We're never going to use the move as an excuse," Lynn said. "This is about these guys during the games. All the rest of the time doesn't matter."

The Chargers have won only nine games in the past two years, but injuries played a major role in their flops under former coach Mike McCoy.

Injuries have already hit Lynn's Chargers in training camp with the absences of their top two draft picks -- receiver Mike Williams and offensive lineman Forrest Lamp -- and starting middle linebacker Denzel Perryman.

But Rivers sees the ingredients for a winner in this relocated franchise, starting with a long list of offensive playmakers and a revamped line to protect him.

Here are more things to watch when the relocation season begins in a Monday night trip to Denver:

NEW DIGS: After finally fleeing dilapidated Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, the Chargers are getting used to their unusual new home: StubHub Center, the 27,000-seat soccer stadium south of downtown Los Angeles, where they'll play for the next three years. Their preseason games showed off an earnest effort by the Chargers to create an intimate entertainment experience for the fans lucky enough to get tickets. If the Chargers are good, they could build a remarkable home-field advantage -- and if they're not, an opponent's fans could take over the stands without much trouble.

BLIND SIDE: The Chargers' offensive line struggled last season, and Rivers threw a career-high 21 interceptions. So Los Angeles signed left tackle Russell Okung to protect the star while reconfiguring much of the line around him. The result should be markedly improved, and it could even boost the running game for Melvin Gordon after his strong sophomore season.

WAITING GAME: The Chargers chose Williams with the seventh overall pick, but the Clemson product hurt his back in rookie camp and hasn't practiced since. He is making enough progress to allow him to stay on LA's active roster, but he won't practice for at least the opening week of the regular season. The Chargers are hoping he'll get healthy enough to make an impact early.

DEFENSE DECISIONS: Bradley earned a head coaching job by coordinating Seattle's dominant defense, and he built another powerhouse in Jacksonville before getting fired largely due to the offense's ineptitude.

Bradley can create his unit in LA around Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram, two of the best pass-rushers in the league. He also has Jason Verrett and Casey Hayward, two of the best man-to-man cover cornerbacks. When Perryman returns midway through the season, the Chargers' spine should be strong.

ON THE ROAD: Rivers and his wife decided to stay in their family home in San Diego with their eight children, which means the quarterback is a commuter this season.

He'll make the 90-mile drive on the I-5 three times per week in a luxurious $200,000 RV custom-fitted with equipment for film study. Not many of his teammates will need to hitch a ride -- almost everybody else is starting a new adventure up north.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Rams Season Preview: No 'Easy Fix' in Rebuilding Process]]>Thu, 07 Sep 2017 11:08:39 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/goff-jared_1.jpg

Sean McVay realizes the magnitude of the rebuilding job he's facing with the Los Angeles Rams, who haven't finished a season with a winning record since he was a high school senior.

McVay realized the scope of his task from the time he talked his way into the job last winter as the youngest head coach in modern NFL history. At 31 years old, he has time on his side.

"We're trying to take every step you should take to complete this process, and it isn't an easy fix," McVay said earlier in training camp. "But it's a lot of fun to work with guys who want to compete, and who want to get better. If we do things the right way, we'll get there."

McVay also knows he shouldn't wait too long to mold a contending team around quarterback Jared Goff. The coaching staff is mostly new, but the losing is not -- and this year, the Rams aren't the only team in LA.

The Rams have missed the playoffs in 12 consecutive seasons, and they haven't finished with a winning record in 13 straight seasons.

The Chargers, their future roommates in Rams owner Stan Kroenke's lavish Inglewood stadium, joined them in the Los Angeles market this season with a roster that appears to be much closer to playoff contention.

The Rams' defense was solid last season, and new coordinator Wade Phillips appears to have another competent unit. The onus is on the offense to improve from the NFL's worst in each of the past two seasons, and McVay knows it.

So the Rams acquired receiver Sammy Watkins from Buffalo to pair alongside Robert Woods. They signed left tackle Andrew Whitworth from Cincinnati, bolstering the most important position on the offensive line with a Pro Bowler who is four years older than his head coach.

And now McVay and new offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur are building a scheme to get more out of the NFL's worst offense.

"What you try to do is have an identity," McVay said. "We're continuing to figure and find that out. Like you guys have heard me say before, we're trying to figure out what our players do best and then fit our scheme to them."

Here are more things to watch when the Rams begin their second season back home this Sunday against Indianapolis:

ABSENT STAR: All-Pro defensive lineman Aaron Donald skipped the Rams' entire training camp while demanding a new contract after just three outstanding NFL seasons. Los Angeles GM Les Snead has kept the negotiations civil and private, but Donald has missed many weeks of work with the new coaching staff.

Donald didn't show up Monday when the Rams began preparations for the first week of the regular season, and his teammates are preparing to play without the run-stopping, pass-rushing dynamo at the heart of their defense. "We definitely wish he was here and preparing with us," linebacker Alec Ogletree said. "But there's a business side to this."

GOFF'S GROWTH: The No. 1 overall pick is winless as an NFL starter heading into the season opener, but his teammates and coaches believe he is much better equipped to handle the league's pressures and challenges this fall.

Goff worked strenuously in the offseason on his throwing motion and his physique. He also has the luxury of time: The Rams gave up an extraordinary amount to get Goff, and he's almost certain to get at least two more years to prove he can do the job. McVay is publicly confident that Los Angeles has a winner.

NEW TARGET: Watkins knows how to prepare for a new offense: "Over-study. Just study until you can't study anymore." The former No. 4 overall pick will have ample playmaking opportunities with his new team once he connects with Goff, who is already enjoying the upgrade in targets after the Rams' offseason moves.

BIG CORNER: Trumaine Johnson has been the Rams' top cover cornerback for three years, but he is playing his second year on the franchise tag after the Rams decided not to sign him to a multiyear deal. Johnson has said he thinks he'll be gone next year, so he should be amply motivated to impress other teams with a big season. Los Angeles lost backup corner E.J. Gaines in the trade for Watkins, so Johnson and Lamarcus Joyner will have heavy responsibilities in pass defense.

HOME SWEET HOME: The Rams are sharing the Coliseum with USC for the second of four consecutive years, but they've only got seven home games for the second straight season, thanks to yet another "home" game in England. The sharing arrangement worked out surprisingly well last year, and the Coliseum received offseason improvements including two large video boards. The Trojans host Stanford on Saturday, kicking off about 20 hours before the Rams host the Colts.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Matt Maiocco]]>
<![CDATA[Are You Ready for Some More Football Statistics?]]>Thu, 07 Sep 2017 10:49:37 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-72571455.jpg

The NFL will be able to know the speed, location and even the rotation of the league's footballs this season under new technology being used with the ball itself.

For fans, that will mean even more statistics.

Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags will be in footballs used in every NFL game this season after being tested last season during the preseason and in Thursday night games.

Vishal Shah, the NFL's senior vice president of digital media, says the league is excited to learn new information tracking the footballs in partnership with Zebra Technologies in a move announced Thursday.

The tags, similar to the technology used to make credit cards more secure, wirelessly communicate location data and speed. Each player wore a chip in his shoulder pads during games in 2015.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[LA Rams Finalize Roster]]>Sun, 03 Sep 2017 12:12:28 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Rams-vs-LA-Raiders-8-19-17.jpg

The Los Angeles Rams terminated the contracts of third-string quarterback Dan Orlovsky and reserve tight end Cory Harkey, waived 31 players, placed tight end Temarrick Hemingway on the reserve/injured list and running back Lance Dunbar on the reserve/physically unable to perform list to reach the NFL's 53-player regular-season limit.

The Rams also acquired tight end Derek Carrier from the Washington Redskins in exchange for a seventh-round choice in the 2018 NFL draft.

Linebacker Josh Forrest and wide receiver Nelson Spruce were among four players waived with an injury designation, allowing them to be placed on the team's injured reserve list should they clear waivers.

Forrest played 10 games with the Rams as a rookie in 2016, with four starts after being chosen in the sixth round of the NFL draft. as a rookie in 2016. Spruce made the 53-player roster in 2016 as an undrafted rookie free agent, but never played in a regular-season game because of a calf injury sustained in the preseason opener.

Four other players who played with the Rams last season were also cut -- Cody Wichmann, who started 11 games at right guard in 2016 and seven as a rookie in 2015, cornerback Michael Jordan, who played five games and started two, safety Isaiah Johnson, who played three games in 2016, and offensive tackle Pace Murphy, who played the final two games.

Fullback Sam Rogers was the only player chosen by the Rams in the 2017 NFL draft to be waived. The Rams selected Rogers with the second of their sixth- round picks out of Virginia Tech.

Three players who played NFL regular-season games with other teams were waived -- kicker Travis Coons, linebacker Andy Mulumba and nose tackle Mike Purcell.

Seven players who participated in past NFL training camps were waived -- running back Aaron Green, outside linebackers Cassanova McKinzy, Carlos Thompson and Davis Tull, receivers Paul McRoberts and Brandon Shippen and tight end Travis Wilson, a former San Clemente High and Utah quarterback.

Green also participated in the Rams 2016 training camp. His uncle Gary Green played cornerback for the Rams in 1984 and 1985.

Fifteen undrafted rookies were among the 31 players waived -- defensive tackles Omarius Bryant and Casey Sayles, wide receivers K.D. Cannon and Shakeir Ryan, offensive linemen Parker Collins, Michael Dunn and Alex Kozan, cornerback Carlos Davis, linebacker Kevin Davis and Folarin Orimolade, center Jake

Eldrenkamp, cornerbacks Tyquwan Glass and Aarion Penton, outside linebacker Willie Mays III and running back Lenard Tillery.

Mays is not related to the Baseball Hall of Fame center fielder.

Kevin Davis and Tillery were waived with injury designations. The cutting of Orlovsky leaves the Rams with two quarterbacks on their roster -- starter Jared Goff and backup Sean Mannion.

The 34-year-old Orlovsky has spent 12 seasons in the NFL, including the past three with the Detroit Lions. Orlovsky did not see any regular seasonaction in 2016.

Orlovsky signed with the Rams July 20 and played in three of their four preseason games, including starting Thursday's 24-10 preseason loss to the Green Bay Packers, completing 16 of 300 passes for 149 yards and one touchdown and had two passes intercepted.

Rams coach Sean McVay called Orlovsky "definitely a guy that could be a possibility for us to bring back in Week 2."

"I think very highly of Dan," McVay said. "I've heard a lot of great things about Dan from other people in the coaching world that have been with him and he certainly lived up to that reputation."

McVay coached Carrier in 2015 and 2016 as Washington's offensive coordinator.

"Derek is a great guy," McVay said. "He brings some versatility to the position. (Carrier) was a guy that we had potentially targeted knowing the depth that the Redskins had at that position. We feel fortunate to be able to acquire Derek. He is going to be a big help to us."

The acquisition of Carrier prompted the Rams to waive Harkey, McVay said. Harkey is an alumnus of Chino Hills High and UCLA who played five seasons with the Rams and was their starting tight end in 2013 and 2014 when they played in St. Louis.

"(I) can't say enough things about what he represents in terms of the toughness, the leadership, the character, all those good things that you want your players to embody," McVay said.

All NFL teams were required to reduce their rosters to the 53-player  limit before 1 p.m. Saturday. Teams often make changes to their rosters between the time they are required to get to the 53-player limit and the start of the regular season as they sign players cut by other teams and cut others to make room for them on their rosters.

Teams may begin signing players to the 10-player practice squads Sunday.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Chargers Cut Roster to 53 Players]]>Sat, 02 Sep 2017 15:51:53 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/176*120/Austin+Ekeler+Preseason.JPG

The Chargers trimmed 37 players from their roster to get down to the NFL-mandated 53-man limit on Saturday. There are a few interesting, if not surprising, names that did not make the cut.

Backup quarterback Kellen Clemens was released after a dismal exhibition season. 4th stringer Mike Bercovici was waived so the Chargers will only have two quarterbacks on the roster in starter Philip Rivers and recently acquired backup Cardale Jones.

Also not making the team are Dwight Lowery, last year’s starting free safety, and kicker Josh Lambo, who lost his roster spot to undrafted rookie Younghoe Koo. Another undrafted rookie who became a fan favorite earned a spot in the running backs room. Austin Ekeler, the 5-foot-9, 195-pounder from Division II Western St. University, is one of four backs the Chargers retained.

This is not necessarily the squad the Bolts will take to Denver for their season opener, though. With teams across the league making moves it is possible the Chargers will try to sign other free players that have recently become free agents. Some of the players who were waived could also end up on the 10-man practice squad. Here is the (as of this writing) 2017 Chargers roster:

Quarterback (2): Philip Rivers, Cardale Jones

Running Back (3): Melvin Gordon, Branden Oliver, Austin Ekeler

Fullback (1): Derek Watt

Wide Receiver (6): Keenan Allen, Tyrell Williams, Travis Benjamin, Dontrelle Inman, Geremy Davis, Mike Williams

Tight End (4): Antonio Gates, Hunter Henry, Sean McGrath, Sean Culkin

Offensive Line (8): Russell Okung, Joe Barksdale, Spencer Pulley, Matt Slauson, Kenny Wiggins, Dan Feeney, Chris Hairston, Sam Tevi

Defensive Line (9): Joey Bosa, Melvin Ingram, Corey Liuget, Brandon Mebane, Damion Square, Darius Philon, Chris McCain, Jerry Attaochu, Isaac Rochell

Linebacker (7): Denzel Perryman, Jatavis Brown, Kyle Emanuel, Korey Toomer, Nick Dzubnar, James Onwualu, Nigel Harris

Cornerback (5): Jason Verrett, Casey Hayward, Craig Mager, Trevor Williams, Desmond King

Safety (5): Jahleel Addae, Tre Boston, Adrian Phillips, Dexter McCoil, Rayshawn Jenkins

Long Snapper (1): Mike Windt

Kicker (1): Younghoe Koo

Punter (1): Drew Kaser

]]>
<![CDATA[Chargers to Release Limited Number of Single-Game Tickets]]>Thu, 31 Aug 2017 08:36:13 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/LA-Chargers-Philip-Rivers-Aug-13-17.jpg

The Los Angeles Chargers will release a limited number of team-held, single-game tickets for all eight of their regular-season home games at StubHub Center for public purchase.

The tickets can be purchased Thursday, beginning at 10 a.m., at TicketMaster.com. The number of tickets available varies by game.

The Chargers are sold out of season tickets at the 27,000-seat StubHub Center and have a waiting list.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Eric Dickerson to Sign a One-Day Contract, Retire as a Ram]]>Tue, 29 Aug 2017 07:41:32 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/182*120/walter+payton+19.jpg

Hall of Fame running back Eric Dickerson will sign a one-day contract with the Los Angeles Rams and retire as a member of the team with which he spent his first four NFL seasons. 

Dickerson will sign the contract Tuesday, nearly 35 years after he was drafted second by the Rams in the 1983 NFL draft. 

"It feels amazing to sign this contract and officially be a Los Angeles Ram for life," Dickerson said. "My passion for this organization during my playing days and for the players wearing Rams jerseys now, is undeniable. This is where my career started and this is where my heart is, so closing this chapter with the Rams back in Los Angeles feels right. I would like to thank Stan Kroenke and the Rams for this opportunity and all of the fans for their outpouring support over the years." 

Expectations were high for Dickerson, who was one half of Southern Methodist University's famed Pony Express backfield with tailback Craig James. His first season didn't disappoint.

Dickerson still has NFL rookie records for most yards gained in a season (1,808 yard) and attempts (390 rushes). He claimed NFC and NFL Rookie of the Year honors. He went on to set the league's single-season rushing record of 2,105 yards in his second season.

Minnesota's Adrian Peterson ended up 8 yards shy of Dickerson's rushing record at the end of the 2012 NFL season.

Dickerson sits at seventh on the NFL's all-time rushing yards list.

The bespectacled workhorse played three games for the Rams during the strike-shortened 1987 season before he was traded to the Colts. He led the league with 1,659 rushing yards in 1988, becoming the first Colt to lead the league in rushing since 1955.

He became the NFL's first player to gain more than 1,000 rushing yards in seven straight seasons in 1989. 

He closed out his historic NFL career with the Raiders (1992) and Falcons (1993).



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Rams, Chargers Sponsor Venice Pride Event, an NFL First]]>Sat, 03 Jun 2017 04:20:57 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-459501574.jpg

The Los Angeles Chargers have joined the Rams in making history by being the first NFL teams to officially sponsor an LGBTQ pride event.

Both teams will sponsor a letter of the VENICE sign that will illuminate in rainbow-colored lights as a symbol of inclusion at this weekend's west Los Angeles pride event.

The Rams signed on as a sponsor in May, becoming the first-ever NFL team to sponsor a pride event.

"We are proud to work with Venice Pride and to stand in alignment with the LGBT community that is such an important part of the fabric of Los Angeles," Rams vice president of affairs Molly Higgins said in a news release. "Inclusion has always been a valued part of our organization and we see this as a unique way to publicly celebrate the diversity that makes this community so special."

The team has adopted 14 blue lights in the letter "C" of the sign, which was officially lit at Friday's ceremony and block party.

The Rams have made history of making steps toward diversity. The Los Angeles Times reports in 1946, they signed on Kenny Washington, who became the first African American NFL player in the modern era. Most recently, in 2014, they signed on Michael Sam, the first openly gay player to be drafted.

The Chargers joined the Rams as the second NFL team to sponsor Venice Pride. They are sponsoring the letter yellow "N" of the sign.

Venice Pride will conclude its two-day celebration Saturday with a festival at Muscle beach. 



Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[LA's Super Bowl Pushed Back to 2022]]>Tue, 23 May 2017 18:47:19 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/207*120/01-12-2016-nfl-generic-field-football.jpg

Less than a week after it was announced that the opening of the football stadium in Inglewood would be delayed by a year, NFL owners voted Tuesday to relocate the 2021 Super Bowl from Los Angeles to Tampa, according to multiple reports.

Record rainfall has been cited for construction delays, and the league is relunctant to play a Super Bowl in the first year of a new stadium, NBC Sports reports.

NFL owners at the Spring League Meeting in Chicago unanimously voted to shift Super Bowl 55 to Tampa and Super Bowl 56 to Los Angeles, according to NFL.com.

The NFL would have needed to waive a rule that prohibits a Super Bowl being played at a stadium before it has hosted two full regular seasons. Instead, it chose to move the game to Tampa, runner-up to Los Angeles in the bidding.

Los Angeles has not hosted a Super Bowl in the area since 1993 in the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. Five Super Bowls have been played at the Rose Bowl and two at the Los Angeles Coliseum, where the Rams will play until the new $2.6 billion stadium opens.

Next year's Super Bowl will be played in Minneapolis, followed by Atlanta in 2019 and Miami in 2020.

The NFL has been eager to return to Southern California since the Rams and Raiders moved out of the area after the 1994 season. League owners approved the Rams' return from St. Louis, with owner Stan Kroenke's promise of a stunning new stadium — one that will be the most expensive in the league.

The 70,000-seat Inglewood stadium is expected to be the centerpiece of an entertainment and commercial center spanning roughly 300 acres at the site of the former Hollywood Park racetrack. The district is envisioned to include a roughly 6,000-seat arena, more than 1.5 million square feet of retail and office space, 2,500 residential units and possibly a 300-room hotel, along with 25 acres of parks and open space.

The Associated Press and City News Service contributed to this report.



Photo Credit: Getty]]>
<![CDATA[Los Angeles Rams Unveil New Uniforms for 2017 Season]]>Fri, 03 Mar 2017 14:35:03 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/160*144/RamsNewUniforms.jpg

The Rams are turning over a new leaf.

After a tumultuous first season back in Los Angeles, the NFL franchise is ready for a fresh start.  The team cleaned house in the offseason, firing head coach Jeff Fisher and most of his assistants before hiring Sean McVay, the youngest head coach in NFL history.

On Wednesday, the team continued the reinvention of the Rams by unveiling their new uniforms for the 2017 season. 

The team will wear white and navy blue, a nod to the team's long history in Los Angeles and playing at the L.A. Coliseum. The Rams wore similar uniforms in week 16 on a Thursday night game against the Seattle Seahawks.

The new uniforms consist of a white-horned navy helmet with a white face mask. As seen in the image above, the pants are white with just one navy stripe down the side, a detail that was voted on by fans on social media this week.

The team announced that over 90,000 fans voted for a single stripe over a double stripe on the pants in an online poll that was up for just 48 hours on Facebook and Twitter.

For fans of the Rams history in Los Angeles, the new uniforms are similar to the one's worn by the team between 1964 and 1972 when greats like Rosey Grier, Deacon Jones, Lamar Lundy and Merlin Olsen wore them. This quarter, otherwise known as the "Fearsome Foursome," struck fear in the hearts and minds of opponents.

"This just goes to show all the hard work my teammates and I put in while wearing those uniforms isn't forgotten," said quarterback of the Rams from 1962 to 1972 Roman Gabriel. "We loved those uniforms and wore them with pride. I know the current players will wear their uniforms, especially the white horns with just as much pride."

The Rams are not done with just new jerseys, the team is undergoing a full rebrand and will introduce new uniforms in 2019 when the new LA Stadium and Entertainment District at Hollywood Park opens.



Photo Credit: LA Rams]]>
<![CDATA[Rams Turn to Fans for Advice on New Fall Look]]>Thu, 02 Mar 2017 11:29:44 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/200*120/04-29-2016-rams-helmet-generic-1.jpg

The Los Angeles Rams are turning to fans for some style advice.

The team will unveil its full uniform for the 2017 season Thursday after online voting concludes on the color of their facemasks. The team is asking fans whether their facemasks should be blue or white.

Voting, which is being conducted on Twitter and Facebook, will end at 4 p.m.

The Rams announced Wednesday they will wear blue helmets with white horns, similar to what they wore from 1964-72.

They also asked fans this week to vote on the pants they'll wear. The team will remove the gold from their pants and conducted a poll Tuesday and Wednesday on whether their pants should have a single blue stripe or a double blue stripe.

The Rams will continue to wear the white jersey they wore for most of their home games in 2016; it contains navy and hints of gold.

The team is continuing to explore a full rebrand, including new uniforms, that will be unveiled in 2019, their first season in the stadium under construction in Inglewood.

NBC4's Jonathan Lloyd contributed to this report.



Photo Credit: Getty
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<![CDATA[Rams Announce 2017 Full Coaching Staff]]>Wed, 08 Feb 2017 19:01:50 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/LARamsCoachingStaff.jpg

The Rams are starting fresh.

After a tumultuous 4-12 record in their first season in Los Angeles, the Rams fired head coach Jeff Fisher and have now completed their offseason house cleaning as they have announced an entirely new coaching staff for the 2017 season.

The 18-member coaching team will be led by 31-year-old Sean McVay, the youngest head coach in NFL history.

"We have a great group of talented coaches that I'm very excited to work with this year," McVay said in a statement released by the team on Wednesday. "They have a vast array of experiences and the qualities we are looking for as we build this staff. Their unique insight to the game will collectively make this team better as we prepare for the 2017 season."

One of the only coaches retained by the Rams was interim head coach John Fassel who returns in his previous role as Special Teams Coordinator. A decision that three-time Pro Bowl punter, Johnny Hekker, hailed on social media.

After the departures of defensive coordinator Greg Williams to the Cleveland Browns and offensive coordinator Rob Boras to the Buffalo Bills, McVay quickly replaced each position with some well-respected names in the NFL.

Former head coach and renowned defensive coordinator Wade Phillips joins the Rams this season after winning a Super Bowl as DC with the Denver Broncos in 2016.

Speaking of Super Bowl, McVay nabbed Matt LaFleur as his new offensive coordinator. LaFleur was the quarterbacks coach for the NFC Champion Atlanta Falcons who collapsed in epic fashion on Sunday in a 34-28 loss to the New England Patriots.

LaFleur is a mentor of 2016 NFL MVP Matt Ryan and has spent the last two seasons in Atlanta molding Ryan into one of the elite quarterbacks in the NFL. Previously, he worked with McVay in Washington from 2010 to 2013 as quarterbacks coach of the Redskins.

Here is the complete list of coaches for the 2017 Los Angeles Rams:

Sean McVay (Head Coach) – McVay has been the offensive coordinator for the Washington Redskins under head coach Jay Gruden for the past three seasons. Prior to that he was the tight ends coach for the Redskins. He began his coaching career in 2008 as an assistant to Jon Gruden in Tampa Bay.

John Fassel (Special Teams Coordinator) – Served as the Rams’ special teams coordinator for the past five seasons where his units have consistently finished in the top tier of league rankings. Was Los Angeles’ interim head coach for the final three games of 2016. Led the Oakland Raiders’ special teams (2008-11) and served as an assistant in Baltimore (2005-07) prior to joining the Rams in 2012. Is the son of former Giants Head Coach Jim Fassel.

Matt LaFleur (Offensive Coordinator) – Entering his first NFL season as an offensive coordinator following a two-year stint with the Atlanta Falcons (2015-16) coaching quarterbacks, where he concluded the 2016 season with an NFC Championship title. Held the same position with the Washington Redskins (2010-13) where he coached alongside McVay. First NFL coaching position came in 2008 where he served as an offensive assistant with the Houston Texans (2008-09). Made five collegiate coaching stops over the course of his career which began in 2003 at his alma mater, Saginaw Valley State.

Wade Phillips (Defensive Coordinator) – Brings 39 seasons of coaching experience to Los Angeles, which includes 25 as a coordinator (seven teams) and nine as a full-time head coach (three teams). Previously held the same position with the Denver Broncos the past two seasons where he helped led the club to a victory in Super Bowl 50. Named Assistant Coach of the Year twice by the Pro Football Writers of America (2011 & 2015). Started his NFL career with the Houston Oilers under his father, Head Coach Bum Phillips.

Joe Barry (Assistant Head Coach/Linebackers) – Now in his 16th NFL season, including four as a defensive coordinator with the Washington Redskins (2015-16) and the Detroit Lions (2007-08). In his first stint coaching linebackers for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, he helped lead the team to their first championship with a 48-21 win over the Raiders in Super Bowl XXXVII.

Thad Bogardus (Defensive Quality Control) – Joins the Rams for his fourth season as an NFL assistant. Started his NFL career in 2014 with the Buffalo Bills as a defensive quality control coach and went to the Denver Broncos for the 2015 and 2016 seasons. Began his career as a graduate assistant at Ball State (2012-13).

Andy Dickerson (Assistant Offensive Line) – Enters his 11th NFL season and sixth with the Rams after serving as an assistant for the Cleveland Browns and New York Jets. Also worked in operations for the New England Patriots and played offensive line at Tufts University in Boston.

Ejiro Evero (Safeties) – Begins his first season with Los Angeles after spending 2016 as the defensive quality control coach for the Green Bay Packers. Spent five seasons with the San Francisco 49ers (2011-2015) as a defensive assistant, offensive assistant and quality control coach. Name is pronounced e-JEE-row EV-uh-row.

Bill Johnson (Defensive Line) – Coached defensive line for nearly four decades and boasts 16 years of NFL experience. Comes to Los Angeles from New Orleans where he developed the Saints defensive line for eight years. Served in the same role with the Denver Broncos (2007-08) and the Atlanta Falcons (2001-06). Son, Billy, is entering his fifth year with the Rams as an area scout.

Aaron Kromer (Offensive Line) – Was the Buffalo Bills’ offensive line coach the last two seasons and prior to that, served as the offensive coordinator/offensive line coach of the Chicago Bears (2013-14). Other NFL stops include the New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Oakland Raiders. Coached nine years on the collegiate level prior to entering the NFL ranks.

Zak Kromer (Offensive Quality Control) – Comes to Los Angeles after coaching in the same capacity for the Buffalo Bills during the 2016 season. Prior to joining the Bills, he was a student assistant for the University of Oklahoma’s football team.

Greg Olson (Quarterbacks) – Joins the Rams for his second coaching stint with the club where he previously served as an offensive coordinator from 2006-07. Resume includes nine seasons as an offensive coordinator in the NFL with four franchises and 30 years total of coaching experience.

Skip Peete (Running Backs) – Veteran of 18 seasons as an NFL assistant returns to Los Angeles for his second season. His previous coaching stops include coaching running backs for the Chicago Bears, Dallas Cowboys, and Oakland Raiders. His father, Willie, was a longtime college and NFL coach, and his brother, Rodney, played 16 seasons as an NFL quarterback.

Aubrey Pleasant (Cornerbacks) – Coached with McVay at the Washington Redskins for four seasons beginning in 2013. Started his NFL career as an offensive assistant in Washington before transitioning to a defensive quality control a year later. Became the Redskins’ assistant defensive backs coach in 2016.

Ted Rath (Strength and Conditioning) – Enters his ninth NFL season and first with Los Angeles after spending 2016 with the Miami Dolphins as the club’s strength and conditioning coach and the previous seven seasons with the Detroit Lions in the same capacity (2009-15).

Chris Shula (Assistant Linebackers) – Hired as a defensive quality control by the San Diego Chargers in 2015 and previously served as defensive coordinator at John Carroll University. Played college football with McVay at Miami (Ohio) and is the son of former Bengals Head Coach David Shula and grandson of Don Shula, Hall of Fame head coach of the Colts and Dolphins.

Zac Taylor (Assistant Wide Receivers) – Comes to Los Angeles after spending 2016 as the offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach for the Cincinnati Bearcats. Began his NFL coaching career coaching quarterbacks for the Miami Dolphins staff in 2012 and was named offensive coordinator in 2015. His brother, Press, is an assistant coach with the Philadelphia Eagles.

Shane Waldron (Tight Ends) – Was a member of the Washington Redskins’ staff last season and served as the team’s offensive quality control coach. His other professional football coaching experience includes the wide receivers for the Hartford Colonials (UFL), and tight ends and offensive quality control for the New England Patriots. 

Eric Yarber (Wide Receivers) – Most recently coached wide receivers at UCLA dating back to 2012 after two seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and five seasons in the NFL overall. Other coaching stops include the Seattle Seahawks, Oregon State, San Francisco 49ers, University of Washington and Arizona State. Was drafted by the Washington Redskins in 1986 and was part of the team that won Super Bowl XXII.



Photo Credit: Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[PHOTOS: Relive Super Bowl LI]]>Sun, 05 Feb 2017 23:34:03 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-633935718.jpgWe look back at Super Bowl LI through photos as the Patriots complete the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history.

Photo Credit: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Rams Stellar Defense in Hands of Wade Phillips]]>Thu, 19 Jan 2017 12:20:56 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/215*120/Wade+Phillips.png

Wade Phillips is the Los Angeles Rams' new defensive coordinator, the team confirmed Thursday.

A week after 30-year-old head coach Sean McVay said the 69-year-old Phillips would be joining him on the West Coast, their partnership finally was made official by the Rams, who are rebuilding after finishing 4-12 in their 13th consecutive non-winning season.

Phillips begins his 40th NFL season as a coach with the Rams, the 10th franchise to employ him. He was a head coach at Dallas, Buffalo and Denver, and he served as an interim head coach for New Orleans, Atlanta and the Houston Texans.

The son of famed coach Bum Phillips has been one of the NFL's top defensive minds for decades. He spent the past two years with the Broncos, coordinating the dominant defense that won the Super Bowl last season.

"Wade has seen it all in our league, and I believe that his wealth of knowledge and experience will be a tremendous asset to our entire coaching staff and players," McVay said in a statement. "Our defense has been one of our core strengths, and I expect it to continue to grow and thrive under Wade's leadership."

Phillips, who will turn 70 before the upcoming season begins, might seem to be an unlikely partner for McVay, who will be the youngest head coach in modern NFL history even after he turns 31 next week.

But they have a strong family connection: Phillips' son, Wes, was McVay's tight ends coach for the past three seasons in Washington.

Phillips and his wife also have personal reasons to be excited about a move to Southern California: His daughter, Tracy, works in Los Angeles as a dancer and choreographer.

Gregg Williams was Jeff Fisher's defensive coordinator last season with the Rams, who haven't made the playoffs since the 2004 season in St. Louis. Williams left for the Cleveland Browns shortly after the regular season ended with the Rams losing the final seven games in their homecoming season.

Phillips traditionally runs a 3-4 defense, but Rams defensive linemen Aaron Donald, Robert Quinn and Michael Brockers all excelled in Williams' 4-3 scheme. McVay said last week that he expects Phillips to have no problem coming up with ways to maximize the success of Los Angeles' talented defensive line.

McVay's coaching staff is quietly taking shape one week after the Rams hired the former Washington offensive coordinator. The Rams are retaining special teams coordinator John Fassel, who served as their interim coach for the final three games after Fisher was fired last month.

The Rams are soon expected to announce the hiring of veteran offensive coordinator Greg Olson as their quarterbacks coach. Olson worked on Jon Gruden's staff at Tampa Bay with McVay, who says he will call the Rams' plays next season.

Veteran NFL assistant Joe Barry is in line to become the Rams' assistant head coach and linebackers coach, and Bill Johnson is expected to be their defensive line coach. The team hasn't announced their hiring yet, either.



Photo Credit: Scott Halleran/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[5 Things You Should Know About LA Rams Coach Sean McVay]]>Sat, 14 Jan 2017 23:33:07 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/194*120/McVay+Rams+5+things.png

Wolfgang Puck, Bill Walsh and Fergie. Three famed figures that could not be more different from each other, and yet, they all have one thing in common: Los Angeles Rams new head coach Sean McVay.

L.A.'s first team to relocate back to the City of Angels sent shockwaves through the NFL on Thursday when they announced their new head coach would be a 30-year-old millennial with no experience.

McVay made history when he was announced to the media for a nearly hour-long press conference on Friday. Despite his youthful inexperience, the former Washington Redskins Offensive Coordinator showed poise, passion, and intensity along with maturity beyond his years.

If you're like most of us in Southern California, you've never heard of McVay before Friday. Don't feel bad, neither did Wolfgang Puck, which leads us to a story that starts at Spago in Beverly Hills as we tell you five things you should know about the Rams new head coach.

1. He Gets Starstruck Just Like Us

Rams Owner Stan Kroenke took McVay and several team officials out to dinner at Spago in Beverly Hills on Tuesday night. The informal interview was the second for McVay and the Rams' front office, but first at a hot spot such as Spago.

During the dinner meeting, celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck, (who owns the restaurant), continually approached the table to talk to Kroenke.

"Wolfgang kept asking, 'Mr. Kroenke, have we found a coach?' McVay told a select group of reporters after the press conference. "I wanted to say to him, 'Hey man, I'm right here!"

Turns out, Mr. Puck was not the only celebrity to approach the table that night, McVay, who was visiting Los Angeles for the first time in his life this week, said he nearly lost his cool when celebrity couple Josh Duhamel and Fergie approached the table.

"Only in L.A.," McVay said about meeting the Transformers actor and the Black Eyed Peas singer. "I'm sitting there and Josh Duhamel and Fergie walk up and wish Mr. Kroenke good luck."

"Did they recognize you?" I asked him.

"Absolutely not," McVay said smiling. "They were probably thinking, 'Who is this guy?'"

He's the new head coach of the Rams, that's who he is.

2. Youngest Head Coach in NFL History

As mentioned, McVay became the youngest coach in NFL history when the Rams made the announcement on Thursday. At 30-years-old, McVay surpasses the previous record held by former Raiders head coach Lane Kiffin who was 31 when he was hired by Al Davis in 2007.  

McVay's age was on display during the press conference when his parents and younger brother took their seats in the second row. His mother and father looked younger than the previous Rams coach, Jeff Fisher, and looked just as shocked as we did when they found out McVay was getting the job.

"It's an incredible moment," said his father Tim. "It came fast."

"Your son is going to do a great job," added Rams vice president Kevin Demoff.

While there are a few players on the Rams roster that are older than their head coach, most notably defensive end William Hayes, L.A. has the youngest roster in the NFL and the youngest starting quarterback in 22-year-old Jared Goff.

"I'm very excited," said Goff who spent a few hours with McVay this week before the decision was announced. "I said to myself, 'If they pick him, I'm going to be really excited.' And they did. I liked it."

3. He's a Jon Gruden and Mike Shanahan Protégé

McVay was groomed by the Grudens to become an NFL head coach. His grandfather, John, was close friends with Jim Gruden Sr. as the two coached and worked together at the collegiate level. So it should come as no surprise that Jon Gruden hired McVay fresh out of college at the age of 24 to be a coaches assistant in Tampa Bay.

"The Gruden Family and the McVay gamily go way back," McVay said during the press conference. "Jim Gruden St. actually recruited my dad (Tim) to the University of Indiana, so our family connections go way back. That opportunity to be a coaching assistant was one that I was fortunate enough to take advantage of. Coach Gruden gave me an opportunity to get on the staff and get right into this thing."

After Gruden left Tampa Bay in 2008, McVay moved on to Jon's brother, Jay Gruden. The younger Gruden was coaching the Florida Tuskers in the United Football League, and he hired McVay as the wide receivers coach.

After that, McVay got a job with Mike Shanahan as the tight ends coach with the Washington Redskins. Under the tutelage of Shanahan and his son, Kyle, McVay fine-tuned his offensive skills, eventually getting promoted to offensive coordinator when he was reunited with Jay Gruden in 2013.

"Sean has been a part of Mike and Kyle's system," said Rams' general manager Les Snead. "In Washington, what he did was a blend of Jon and Jay Gruden with Mike and Kyle. So it's an interesting evolution there."

4. He Comes From a Football Family

McVay's leatherhead legacy started with his grandfather John McVay who was the head coach of the New York Giants from 1976-1978.

After that, he spent 21 years with the San Francisco 49ers where he was the architect of the Niners dynasty in the 80s and 90s. Part of McVay's first executive move after being named the Niner's vice president was to hire Bill Walsh who led San Francisco to three Super Bowl Championships before they won two more under his successor, George Seifert.

The youngest McVay was born in 1986 and grew up around the 49ers organization.

"I can remember being around those guys," he told Sports Illustrated about San Francisco legends Joe Montana, Jerry Rice and Steve Young. "I was around Jeff Garcia and Terrell Owens. They were always so great to me. At the time I was so young, you don't realize what a unique and neat experience it was."

5. He Comes From the 'Cradle of Coaches'

McVay played his college ball at the University of Miami (Ohio), the same as his grandfather. The RedHawks football program is known as the "Cradle of Coaches" as they are responsible for developing some of the greatest leaders to ever grace the sidelines.

In addition to his grandfather, Miami (Ohio) is responsible for Bo Schembechler, Woody Hayes, John Pont, Sean Payton, Jim Tressel, Ara Parseghian and John Harbaugh.

"As soon as I got into coaching out of college, I knew I wanted to be a head coach," McVay said of his career arc.

"When you listen to Sean quote Bill Walsh and John Wooden, you get the sense this someone who understands how to have success," added Demoff during the press conference.

The Rams are hoping that they have the right man for the job both now and in the future, and referenced other young coaching hires in the NFL who went on to win the Super Bowl. One of those was Walsh himself who famously said:

"Champions behave like champions before they are champions."

If that rings true, the Rams may be champions of the NFL one day under McVay. 



Photo Credit: Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Top Images From the 2017 NFL Playoffs]]>Mon, 30 Jan 2017 09:28:48 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/PatSteelers3.jpgCheck out some of the best images from the playoffs of the 2016-2017 NFL season.

Photo Credit: Matt Slocum/AP Photo]]>
<![CDATA[Rams End Season on 7 Game Losing Skid]]>Sun, 01 Jan 2017 20:06:55 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/206*120/Rams+Finale+against+Arizona.png

It was not a Happy New Year for the Los Angeles Rams.

Jared Goff ended his rookie campaign without a victory as the Los Angeles Rams welcomed in the New Year with a loss, 44-6, to the Arizona Cardinals on New Year's Day at the Coliseum. 

Goff threw for just 120 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions, but was sacked seven times as the Rams stagnant offense was unable to reach the end zone.

"They had nothing to lose so they brought a lot of pressure," Goff said of the seven sacks. "I appreciate the effort from our group up front. Unfortunately, it didn't work out."

The loss was the team's seventh consecutive of the season, all with Goff under center as the team has lost 11 of their final 12 games, finishing 4-12, their worst finish since the 2011 season, the year before they hired Jeff Fisher.

"We just lost our mojo," said linebacker Alec Ogletree of the team's 1-11 finish to the season. "I felt like we kept trying to play each week, but we didn't learn how to finish games."

Todd Gurley entered the game just 155 yards shy of 1,000 on the season, but had his worst performance on the ground in the finale, carrying the ball 14 times for just 40 yards.

"It didn't come," Gurley said of missing out on 1,000 yards this season. "Coming off a season like this, I don't ever want to feel this way again. I'm gonna work a little bit harder this offseason."

The Rams best offensive play of the game, and the season for that matter, came on a trick play at the end of the first quarter when rookie wide receiver Pharoh Cooper caught a screen pass and then threw to a wide-open Gurley at the ten-yard line.

However, the play personified the Rams season as the pass sailed in the air for too long, and was intercepted by Cardinals safety Harlan Miller at the last second.

Former USC Trojan, Carson Palmer, made his return to the Coliseum, and threw for 255 yards with three touchdowns and an interception.

"I never dreamt I would get an opportunity to play in this facility again and it was everything I could have asked for and more," Palmer said of his return. "It was a beautiful day. We had tons of fans here. Just a great day and a great way to finish off this season."

J.J. Nelson caught four passes for 75 yards to led the Cardinals and Pro-Bowler Larry Fitzgerald had 5 catches for 43 yards and a touchdown in the game. After his fourth quarter score, the remaining Cardinals fans at the Coliseum started chanting, "Larry, Larry, Larry!" for the veteran wideout.

"I heard it, it was nice to see that many Cardinal fans come out and support," said Fitzgerald. "It's always good when we can put a show on for them on the road."

All-Pro running back David Johnson was carted off the field with a horrific knee injury in the first quarter. Johnson's left leg was caught under a Rams' defensive end Eugene Sims and bent awkwardly on the play.

Johnson set an NFL record with 100 yards from scrimmage in each of his first 15 games last week, and was looking to extend that record to 16 games on Sunday. He was also seeking to become the first player since Marshall Faulk and Roger Craig to record 1,000 yards rushing and receiving in a single season. Johnson finished the year with 841 yards receiving, 159 short of the mark.

"Nothing seriuos it looks like right now," Arians said after the game. "We'll get an MRI tomorrow, but he's walking fine and he's in good spirits. Knock on wood there's no ligament damage.."

Rams punter Johnny Hekker extended his NFL-record for most punts inside the 20 with one more in the game. Hekker will finish the season with the record at 51 punts.

Plenty of questions surround the Rams as they head into the offseason. The most glaring will be if the team retains general manager Les Snead, and if not, who will replace him. After finding a new GM, who that person will hire as the next head coach and assistant coaches, thereafter.

"I'm going to go home tonight and spend some time with my wife and kids," said interim head coach John Fassel. "I am a Ram and I'm proud to be a Ram, but my fate is up to other people."

The team will be built on offense around Jared Goff and running back Todd Gurley. The offensive line and wide receiver positions are glaring weaknesses for the team.

"This isn't the end, it's the beginning," said Goff after the game. "Whenever we get that new playbook while start learning it. Our guys are hungrier than ever."

On defense, the front line consisting of former Defensive Rookie of the Year and three-time Pro Bowler Aaron Donald is a strength, as is Alec Ogletree at linebacker. The secondary, especially at the cornerback position could be a place the team could upgrade.

"Something has to change, a lot has to change," said safety T.J. McDonald. "In this business, you want to move on, flush it and get this organization to where it needs to be."



Photo Credit: Stephen Dunn/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Rams' Punter Johnny Hekker Sets NFL Record]]>Sat, 24 Dec 2016 18:48:16 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/206*120/Johnny+Hekker+NFL+record.png

LOS ANGELES – It's been a season of misery for the Los Angeles Rams this year, but on Saturday, they found a silver lining.

Punter Johnny Hekker put an exclamation point on the most successful special teams season in NFL history when he set the all-time record for most punts inside the 20-yard-line when he pinned the San Francisco 49ers on the 13-yard marker in the second quarter. 

The former Oregon State punter surpassed Dave Zastudil's record when he placed 46 punts inside the 20 with the Arizona Cardinals in 2012. Hekker's record was even more impressive as he broke the mark on just 85 tries compared to Zastudil who set the mark on 112 kicks. 

Hekker was named to the Pro Bowl earlier this week for the third time in his career.

Hekker spoke with NBC LA on Tuesday at the team's practice facility in Thousand Oaks to talk about his Pro Bowl selection and the record.

"The number really snuck up on us," Hekker said about his 47th punt. "We didn't even really think about it until probably the last weeks, when we were like, 'Hey, damn, we're at 40.' We're just trying to do what we can to help this team. If records come with that, that's a positive."

Hekker is also the league leading in punting average with over 46.2 net yards per punt, and has already kicked the ball further than 75 yards twice this season.

"I'm so grateful to be playing under Coach Fassel and with the rest of the special teams group that takes so much pride in what we do," continued Hekker. "I really owe it to the other guys that go out there and make me look good on a consistent basis." 

Interim head coach John Fassel has been the Rams special teams coach since Hekker joined the Rams in 2012 and credits a lot of his success to the high-energy coach that has developed arguably the best punter in the league.

He extended his record to 50 punts inside the 20 by the time the game was over as the Rams lost a heartbreaker, blowing a 14-point fourth quarter lead, 22-21, to the 49ers at the LA Coliseum.



Photo Credit: Michael Thomas/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Rams Pro Bowl Stars Want to Celebrate With Win]]>Thu, 22 Dec 2016 03:02:07 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/203*120/Aaron+Donald+Pro+Bowl.png

The Rams have had a tough season.

At 4-10, the move to LaLa Land in the offseason for the former St. Louis franchise has not yielded the Hollywood ending one would have hoped for. However, there is a silver lining in the script that is the L.A. Rams 2016 season.

Two stars have emerged from the fire, defensive tackle Aaron Donald and punter Johnny Hekker, both of whom were selected to the Pro Bowl on Tuesday. 

"It's been tough," Donald said of the Rams struggles this season. "It's definitely been tough this year. I had high expectations for this year, thinking we were going to do some big things, and a lot of things just didn't go the way we expected." 

Some of those surprises were the team switching quarterbacks halfway through the season, and to see their coach get fired just four weeks later. 

After the season ends, the leader of the Rams' defense will head to Orlando for his third straight Pro Bowl. He knows that shortly thereafter, the team will have a new head coach, and likely, a new general manager.

With an entirely different coaching staff and front office, the 2017 Rams will look drastically different, but without building around Donald, they could look the same on the field. 

"We need to finish these last two games strong and try to build on what we have," Donald said of the team's final two games of the season that starts Saturday at home against the San Francisco 49ers. "Next year it's going to be a totally different team." 

One player whose role is solidified is Hekker, a special teams standout who is one-punt inside the 20 away from setting the all-time NFL record this season.

"I'm so grateful to be playing under Coach Fassel and with the rest of the special teams group that takes so much pride in what we do," Hekker said. "I really owe it to the other guys that go out there and me look good on a consistent basis." 

Hekker leads the league in punt average at 46.2 yards per kick and has surpassed 70 net yards twice already this season. Despite his historic season, he's still had some time to stop and admire his fellow Pro Bowl teammate. 

"It's quite the sight to behold, just watching Aaron dismantle a double and triple team out there," Hekker said via conference call on Tuesday. "You can tell that the other teams' offensive coordinators have to game plan for Aaron Donald, and he's still a game wrecker."

Donald has seven sacks this season, four less than last season, and two less than he had in 2014 when he was named the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year. The reason for the drop off is the amount of attention that Donald receives on every snap, as coordinators often send two and three linemen at him at all times.

Pro Bowl voters saw past the statistics to see the game-changing player that Donald is, not to mention the fact that remarkably, he's been able to stay injury free this season. In doing so, Donald joins Torry Holt as the first Rams player to earn three consecutive Pro Bowl selections since 2000. 

"It's definitely a big accomplishment," he said on a conference call of his own. "Anytime you get rewarded for all the work you put into this game, you're going to be happy about it. So definitely a big deal." 

It's noteworthy, that no players on the Rams offense were selected to the Pro Bowl this season which should not come as a surprise considering that unit ranks last in the NFL. 

That could all change on Christmas Eve when the Rams look to put up some points on the hapless 49ers defense that is also last in the league, and allowing an NFL-worst 31 points per game. 

Running back Todd Gurley, who has had a disappointing sophomore campaign, has the opportunity to rush for over 100 yards for the first time this season as San Francisco allows 176.3 rushing yards per game, dead last in the league. 

"We've got to make out blocks. We can't jump offside, and we can't hold on the big runs," Rams' Offensive Coordinator Rob Boras said on what it will take for Gurley to break out in Week 15. "I thought Todd was running really strong in the first half [against Seattle]. We need to find that rhythm and more consistency. Hopefully we can keep handing him the ball where he can find one of those explosive runs."

For the Rams to win on Saturday, Gurley will need to have a big game, and that will likely mean that the team is in the contest for it's entirety, unlike their lopsided 28-0 loss in their opener. If they can do that, there's a strong chance that the team can celebrate Christmas on a high note this year, with two Pro Bowlers and a victory over their rivals.



Photo Credit: Christian Petersen/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Jeff Fisher Wants Revenge on Rams]]>Tue, 20 Dec 2016 21:47:28 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/207*120/Jeff+Fisher+Wants+to+play+Rams.png

"The best revenge is massive success." – Frank Sinatra

Jeff Fisher spoke candidly of his desire to get revenge on the Los Angeles Rams after they fired him last Monday, following a 42-14 loss to the Atlanta Falcons in Week 13. 

Fisher sat down with Charissa Thompson of Fox Sports in his first interview since the firing, and vented his frustration with the organization and how the season unfolded.

"Bottom line is I didn't win enough games," began Fisher when asked what happened. 

Fisher admitted that he was taken by surprise by the timing of his termination, but knew he was on the hot seat after the team had lost eight of their last nine games before the final decision to part ways was made.

"I knew things were getting tough, but I didn't anticipate this," he said. "I always thought that depending on what happened the last three weeks, there might be that potential, but on a short week it caught me off guard."

Fans in Los Angeles became increasingly frustrated with the team's performance and Fisher's public feud with Hall of Fame running back Eric Dickerson.

As the team continued to lose, news of Fisher signing a two-year contract extension leaked, as did reports that his relationship with General Manager had turned "toxic."

"Somehow it got out and that became an issue," he said of the extension. "None of it was handled appropriately. In my opion, the successful NFL teams stay quiet, they don't leak things and that was a frustration of mine." 

Fisher confirmed that the decision to draft Jared Goff with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft was largely his, but said that it was a "unanimous decision."

Both in his interview with NFL Gameday and Sirius XM NFL Radio on Tuesday, Fisher bestowed praise on Goff.

"He's going to be the face of this franchise and he's going to be great," Fisher said. 

"He's still learning as you saw on Thursday night when he took that hit," he told Sirius XM NFL radio. "Don't take those hits. It hasn't translated into wins yet, but he's going to be special."

For Fisher, his pathway to "massive success" starts with an opportunity to coach another NFL team, something that he said he wants very much.

When asked where that next opportunity might be or when it will come, Fisher just had one requirement for the next head coaching job he gets. 

"I want a chance to play the Rams," he said with a huge grin on his face.

That's going to be fun to watch.

The Rams next take the field on Saturday, December 24, at the L.A. Memorial Coliseum against the San Francisco 49ers.



Photo Credit: Harry How/Getty Image]]>
<![CDATA[Poopfest: Rams Fall to Seahawks in Seattle]]>Thu, 15 Dec 2016 21:53:12 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/208*120/Rams+Fall+to+Seattle.png

The lamp may be different, but the lights are the same.

The Los Angeles Rams offense struggled again as they fell to the Seattle Seahawks, 24-3, in their first game without head coach Jeff Fisher on NBC's Thursday Night Football. 

Russell Wilson threw three touchdown passes to three different receivers as the Seahawks clinched the NFC West Division with the victory.

Meanwhile, in a tale of two teams headed in opposite directions, the Rams continued their downward spiral as they dropped their fifth consecutive game and ninth in their last ten matchups. 

Both teams were playing on just three days rest in an NFC West matchup deemed the "Poopfest," by Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman throughout the week.

Despite most of the team not playing at 100 percent, the Rams started the game with an unexpected energy and excitement under new interim head coach John Fassel. 

Fassel proved to be every bit the risk taker he was as Special Teams coordinator for the Rams when he went for it on 4th and 1 from the Seattle 7-yardline on just L.A.'s second drive of the game.

Two drives later, with the Rams trailing 7-0, Fassel called for a fake punt on 4th and 9 from their own 30, but Johnny Hekker's pass fell short to a wide-open Michael Thomas that would have been enough for the first down.

With nothing to lose, the Rams played loose and free throughout the contest, but unfortunately a tiger doesn't change it's stripes, and the offensive inefficiency problems that plagued the team all season continued to rear its ugly head on Thursday night.

Entering the fourth quarter, the Rams had less than 100 yards on total offense, and just three points on the board.

Jared Goff finished 13 for 25 for 135 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions. Todd Gurley had 38 yards on 14 carries and Kenny Britt led the Rams receiving corps with four catches for 50 yards.

The game may have been decided on a controversial call at the end of the third quarter. On first and goal, Russell Wilson threw a pass to Jimmy Graham in the corner of the end zone that appeared to have been intercepted by linebacker Bryce Hager.

The play was ruled incomplete on the field and Fassel challenged the call, but after review, the ruling was upheld. IT was a game-changing decision as Wilson threw a touchdown pass to Doug Baldwin two plays later to give the Seahawks a two-touchdown lead.

On Seattle's next drive, Wilson connected with wide receiver Tyler Lockett on a 57-yard touchdown bomb that gave the Seahawks a 24-3 lead. Locket finished the game with seven receptions for 130 yards and a touchdown.

Goff left the game early in the fourth quarter and was taken to the locker room for concussion testing after he took a shot from Sherman inside the five-yardline. In total, four different players had to leave the game for concussion testing.

The Rams three points scored was the second lowest total of the season since their were shutout 28-0 by the 49ers on Monday Night Football in the opening game of the season.

Players of the Game:

Russell Wilson: 221 yards, three touchdowns.
Tyler Locket: 6 catches for 122 yards and a touchdown.
Seattle Defense: 3 points allowed.

Three Takeaways:

1. Poopfest: The Thursday night matchup between the two NFC West Division opponents was officially titled the "Poopfest," by Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman who blasted the NFL for scheduling games on Thursday night during the week.

2. Ankle Breaker: Seattle Seahwaks wide receiver, Doug Baldwin, broke the ankles of Rams' cornerback Troy Hill during a third quarter touchdown catch. Hill was promoted from the practice squad to the active roster on Wednesday.

3. Law and Order: Leave it to NBC to find a use for the theme song of one of their most successful TV shows, Law and Order, during a replay review in the third quarter.

Up Next:

Rams (4-10): Los Angeles will get eight days off to rest before they host the San Francisco 49ers at the L.A. Memorial Coliseum on Christmas Eve.

Seahawks (9-4-1): Seattle will also have eight days off before they host the Arizona Cardinals on Christmas Eve.

Please refresh this page for more stats, updates, and player reactions…



Photo Credit: Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Who is Rams New Coach John Fassel?]]>Tue, 13 Dec 2016 09:59:35 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/172*120/AP_16348067277672.jpg

Boy, that escalated quickly.

Los Angeles Rams' special teams coach John Fassel hadn't even gone to sleep after the team lost to the Atlanta Falcons, 42-14, on Sunday at the L.A. Memorial Coliseum, and was preparing for a Monday morning meeting, when he was called into Jeff Fisher's office.

"It happened so fast," Fassel recalled. "I found out just about an hour before my special teams meeting. I talked to Mr. Demoff, and Coach Fisher, and they let me know that this was going to happen."

The "This," he was referring to, was the decision that shook up, but did not necessarily surprise, the sports world on Monday afternoon as the Rams announced that they had fired Fisher as head coach of the team after five losing seasons, promoting Fassel as the interim head coach. 

"The first thing I did was talk to Coach Fisher and basically asked what he thought and asked for his blessing," a doe-eyed Fassel said when faced in front of hundreds of media members and cameras. "I said to him, 'Coach me up, Coach Fish! And he told me everything that I needed to know."

Fassel's run with the Rams over the final three games will be his first taste as an NFL head coach, but he comes from a long line of coaches, and has the pedigree to be successful in the role, both now and in the future.

As Fassel spends the next 48 hours learning "everything he needs to know" to do the job, NBC LA fills you in on everything you need to know about the Rams new interim head coach.

Fassel, 42, joined the Rams staff as the special teams coach at the same time Fisher took over in 2012. Over the past five seasons, his players have quickly become one of the best units in the NFL, and currently lead the league in punts and punt average this season.

Through the use of All-Pro punter Johnny Hekker, Fassel has become an aggressive special teams coordinator, creatively manufacturing fake punt, fake field goal, and nifty trick plays on kick off returns.

As we mentioned, Fassel has never had any previous head coaching experience, but is the son of former New York Giants head coach Jim Fassel, who led the G-Men from 1997 to 2003, including a Super Bowl appearance in 2000.

Father Fassel gave John his first coaching gig in the NFL when he was the offensive coordinator with the Baltimore Ravens in 2005, as he helped his son get hired as an assistant to the Special Teams coordinator with the Ravens.

Afterwards, Fassel spent three seasons as the special teams coordinator with the Oakland Raiders before joining Fisher and the Rams.

Admittedly, Fassel was surprised that he was chosen by the organization as the interim head coach, especially with other candidates out there like defensive coordinator Greg Williams, assistant head coach Dave McGinnis, and linebacker coach Mike Singletary all considered more qualified candidates.

"I was surprised," he said softly. "I'm grateful for it—although the situation isn't something that you want to be in, but they asked me to do it. Coach Fisher gave me his blessing, and I'll do it."

Fassel said he had no previous aspirations of being a head coach in the NFL, but believes he's ready for the opportunity to show the league what he can do.

He was obviously chosen by Rams owner Stan Kroenke and Chief Operating Officer Kevin Demoff for a reason, one that comes down to Fassel's attitude, energy, and relationship with the players.

"The players love him," Demoff told the media in a 45-minute press conference. "Our special teams is one of the best performing and his energy is great."

All-pro defensive lineman Aaron Donald was emotional after the announcement that Fisher was fired, but excited that Fassel had been promoted in his place.

"He's a player's coach. He's a great coach," Donald said from his locker. "He's going to push you and you're going to have fun doing it."

In any other circumstance, an interim head coach could have between a week to two weeks to get familiar with the job and prepare his team for battle. However, in the case of Fassel, he had 72 hours from being informed of his new title, to Thursday night when the Rams take the field against the Seattle Seahawks.

"I said to him, 'take these three games as, not only an audition for us, but for everybody else in the league and coach this team to the best of your ability,'" added Demoff. "And I think he'll take that challenge to heart and he'll get the best out of our players."

Fassel has received plenty of advice from friends and former coaches in the aftermath of the announcement, and although he hadn't spoken to him as of Monday evening, he plans to grab the ear of his father and his vital knowledge of the game over the next few days.

"I actually haven't talked to him," Fassel admitted. "I know it's horrible--I'll call you in a bit, Dad. I promise. It happened so fast, that I've neglected to call the people most important to me. But that will happen tonight."

Perhaps Fassel's biggest challenge other than to get the Rams out of their current four-game losing streak, is to change the energy and emotion around the facility, one that starting quarterback Jared Goff admitted on Monday was "awkward," and "weird," throughout the day.

"It was quiet today," acknowledged Fassel. "I don't think I can manufacture energy for the team. It's going to be something that will probably have to be built here over the next couple days. The best advice so far, from Coach 'Mac' [Dave McGinnis] was 'just be yourself,' if that helps create some energy, that's great—but I can't fake it."

Indeed, "be yourself," a memorable line from the Robin Williams voiced Genie character in the Disney animated film Aladdin, could turn out to be the best advice of all as things will become overwhelming for Fassel in the next 48 hours.

For fans that watched HBO's Hard Knocks this year, they might remember Fassel as the high-energy, enthusiastic, and encouraging leader of the special teams who was mic'd up at various times on the show.

The video above is a great example of just what kind of coach Fassel could be, as he tries to salvage the final three games of the season. In order to do that, he's going to try and inspire his team, build off Fisher's foundation, and hold everyone accountable for the season so far.

"This team doesn't need to be saved," Fassel said. "They need to rise up and take responsibility. If you love football and you love Coach Fisher, that has got to get us through the next three weeks."

Fassel knows he'll make mistakes and that he has to learn as he goes, but if the same guy that once saved a man's life who was caught in a portentous Pacific Ocean riptide off the coast of Manhattan Beach last year appears on the sidelines, then the Rams will be fine.

In the meantime, Fassel has already issued a new rallying cry for the team over the final three games.

"Go Kick Some A**!" he said on multiple occasions during his introductory press conference. "I don't know if I'm allowed to say that. I say it in the meetings, but I don't curse."

Go get em' Coach Fassel. 



Photo Credit: AP/Jayne Kamin-Oncea]]>
<![CDATA[Jared Goff Doesn't Impress Fran Tarkenton]]>Tue, 13 Dec 2016 03:34:20 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/204*120/Fran+Tarkenton.png

You've got a long way to go, kid.

At least that's what former Minnesota Vikings quarterback and Hall of Famer, Fran Tarekenton, thinks about No. 1 overall draft pick Jared Goff.

Tarkenton was at the L.A. Memorial Coliseum on Sunday afternoon and watched the Los Angeles Rams lose in a lopsided affair, 42-14, to the Atlanta Falcons.

After the game, Tarkenton tweeted that he watched Goff play, but said, "He isn't a very good at quarterback," and then expressed surprise that he was taken No. 1 overall in the 2016 NFL Draft.

Goff is 0-4 as the Rams starter and was just 24 of 41 for 235 yards and two interceptions against the Falcons. He did rush for a touchdown in the fourth quarter, but by that time, Atlanta already had their reserves on the field and the outcome was no longer in doubt.

Despite the harsh criticism, Tarkenton definitely is a great evaluator of the quarterback position.

The nine-time Pro Bowler was the NFL MVP in 1975 and at the time of his retirement in 1978, owned every major quarterback record.

Part of Goff's lackluster play over the past four weeks could be the anemic Rams offense which seems to lack creativity and excitement.

That could all change next season when the Rams will hire a new head coach that is expected to come from an offensive background. Current offensive coordinator, Rob Boras, an inexperienced OC is also expected to be gone at the end of the season, so it could be that Goff just needs a better leader to learn under.

In the meantime, it's still early in Goff's career but with fellow No. 1 overall picks, Cam Newton, Matthew Stafford, Andrew Luck, Carson Palmer, Eli Manning, and Jameis Winston all having success, he will need to produce sooner, rather than later. 



Photo Credit: Joe Robbins/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dickerson Says He'll Return to Rams Sideline]]>Tue, 13 Dec 2016 03:28:13 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/179*120/Dickerson1.JPG

One of the benefits of Monday's announcement that Jeff Fisher had been fired as head coach of the Los Angeles Rams is that Hall of Fame running back Eric Dickerson can now return to the sidelines.

Dickerson put a self-imposed ban on his attendance at Rams games this season after Fisher had called and told him he was no longer welcome on the sidelines as long as he was head coach. 

After the feud between the two went public, Dickerson vowed to never return to the L.A. Memorial Coliseum until Fisher was no longer on the field. That all changed on Monday.

"Of course I will go to the games now," Dickerson said on Fox Sports Radio's The Herd. "I have said this before, it's all about winning. The Los Angeles Rams fans deserve more, better than that. I just want us to win."

Dickerson said that he did not necessarily want Fisher to get fired, but his Twitter timeline suggested otherwise. Despite his words to the contrary, the Rams legend was not surprised by the news on Monday.

"I am not shocked," he told the show's host, Colin Cowherd about the firing. "I think it's something that had to happen. You have the players giving up on you; you have to make a change."

Dickerson was referring to the postgame comments by Rams' star running back Todd Gurley who said the team's offense played "like a middle school team," and believed that some of the players gave up.

The Rams lost their eighth game in nine contests, with Sunday's lopsided defeat the worst of the season so far. The Falcons led 42-0 entering the fourth quarter, and the game finished in a 42-14 blowout. 

"I am not hating on Jeff. I am not mad at him," Dickerson said. "But I can't be sorry for a guy who's made $35 million coaching. He'll be okay. It is what it is. They cut players, they went in another direction; we are just going another direction here also." 

Dickerson also weighed in on who he thought would make a good head coach for the Rams, naming Michigan's Jim Harbaugh and ESPN analyst Jon Gruden as potential successors to Fisher.

"They have to have someone who is a real football guy, who is going to make a difference, a splash," he said. "Not a yes man; they need someone who knows football and wants to win. That's what it's all about in L.A. You can't put a mediocre product on the field out here, as you saw yesterday."

Dickerson's next chance to be on the sideline will be on Christmas Eve, Saturday, December 24th, when new interim head coach John Fassel looks to beat the lowly San Francisco 49ers. 



Photo Credit: Michael Duarte/ NBC LA]]>
<![CDATA[Rams' Players React to Fisher's Firing]]>Tue, 13 Dec 2016 03:13:22 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/204*120/Players+React+to+Fisher+Firing.png

They said he was a "players coach," but even the players couldn't save Coach Jeff Fisher.

Fisher was fired on Monday morning by the Los Angeles Rams, less than 24 hours after his players defended him in an embarrassing 42-14 loss to the Atlanta Falcons at the L.A. Memorial Coliseum. 

Rams veteran offensive lineman Rodger Saffold talked about Fisher after the game on Sunday, and as a player who was with the Rams pre-Fisher, he said that the players have to take responsibility. 

"I've seen the 2-14 team, I've seen the 7-8-1 team that had a chance to go the playoffs—I've seen it all," Saffold said at his locker. "Eventually, something's going to have to change. I'll tell you right now, the coaches are coaching their ass off. And if we can't execute, then they get blamed. I'm sick of hearing that. It's up to us."

Unfortunately, it wasn't up to them. It was up to Rams' Owner Stan Kroenke and Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer Kevin Demoff, and after seeing a half-empty stadium with their team down 42-0 to start the fourth quarter, they decided enough was enough.

"He's a players coach, he gave us every opportunity and we didn't get it done," said safety T.J. McDonald on Monday after hearing the news. "We carry a big responsibility for what happened."

The former USC All-American was especially emotional at his locker as he discussed his fellow Trojan alum and now former head coach.

"Coach Fish gave me my chance and drafted me," added McDonald. "I love Coach Fish. I think I speak for everyone in the locker room when I say I have nothing but love for him."

Others in the Rams locker room at the team's practice facility ushered the same sentiments about Fisher, including the 2014 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, Aaron Donald. 

"We feel like we let him down," said Donald at his locker. "When things aren't going right you look at the leader, but we're out there playing the game. We're making the mistakes and we need to fix it. No matter who's coaching, we have to be the best football players we can." 

When asked if he thought it was Fisher's fault that the team had fallen to 4-9 this season and struggled in their last few games—all lopsided losses—Donald was defiant in his answer.

"No!" he exclaimed. "Coaches coach and players play. That's on us, we have to be more consistent."

On the practice field, the players were eerily quiet as the voice of their leader was glaringly absent in the afternoon.

"Today was hard," said starting quarterback Jared Goff. "It wasn't easy. It was weird. Coach Fisher always treated us the right way, and we let him down."

"Get away from my locker," running back Todd Gurley told reporters who gathered around him. "I'm not talking today and you can tweet that."

Fisher addressed his players shortly after he was informed of the owner's decision that the team would move on without him, and according to those in the room, it was a very emotional meeting.

"He stood up in front of the room like a man, told us he cared about us, said it was tough we couldn't get it done, but wants us to finish the season strong," McDonald said of the moment.

"He talked to us from the heart," added Donald. "He stood strong and talked to us like a man. Anytime you lose a leader like that, you're going to be down about it, but we got to keep on playing for him." 

It was a whirlwind 24 hours for the players and will be a roller coaster of emotions in the next 48 as they have to gather their thoughts and get on a plane to Seattle to face the NFC West-leading Seahawks in a primetime matchup on NBC's Thursday Night Football.

The last word of the afternoon came from Goff who was asked if there was a lesson he learned from all of this. The 22-year-old play caller paused, and then gave a poignant retort. 

"The number one lesson I learned, is that in this league things can go away quickly," he said. "One day you're here and one day you're not. Unfortunately, we learned that the hard way and some guys got a chance to see that." 



Photo Credit: Harry How/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Why the Rams Fired Fisher and Who Will Be The Next Coach]]>Tue, 13 Dec 2016 03:06:02 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/196*120/Fisher+Fired.png

We all knew it was coming.

As the vice president of football operations and Chief Operating Officer of the Los Angeles Rams, Kevin Demoff stepped to the podium for the second time in as many weeks to address the media, he started his discourse with a few simple words:

"This is a difficult day." 

But was it?

After a nearly 45-minute press conference at the Rams practice facility in Thousand Oaks, everyone in the room knew that the writing was on the wall, well before the final decision came down.

It's always difficult when you have to fire someone, as it not only affects the individual themselves, but their co-workers, family, and friends. Nonetheless, the decision for Jeff fisher was a long time coming.

The beginning of the end for Fisher likely began when he, with the help of general manager Les Snead, traded six draft picks on the eve of the NFL draft in order to select Cal quarterback Jared Goff with the No. 1 overall draft pick.

Three months later, it was journeyman Case Keenum who was announced as the team's starting quarterback and as the team struggled from their initial 3-1 start to the season, the calls for Goff got louder and louder, voices that Fisher defiantly ignored until week nine of the season.

Then, it was the highly publicized feud with Rams legend and Hall of Fame running back Eric Dickerson who was critical of the team on the L.A. airwaves. After asking for sideline passes for his friends, Fisher called Dickerson and told him not only would he be denied the passes, but that he was not welcome on the sideline as long as he was the head coach of the team.

Dickerson drew a line in the sand after that phone call and vowed to never attend another Rams game as long as Fisher was the head coach. He retweeted fans praises, as well as their shouts for the Rams to fire Fisher immediately.

Finally, as the Rams season began to fall faster than a ship filling with water in the open sea, a report came out claiming that Fisher and Snead's relationship had become "toxic," and that the organization had become a "Junior High-like atmosphere."

The team's downright pathetic and embarrassing, 42-14, loss to the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday at the L.A. Memorial Coliseum sealed the deal, and sent the Rams to a 4-9 record on the season. Just to add insult to injury, the loss tied Fisher with Dan Reeves for the most losses in NFL history with 165.

"Making a decision such as this, especially during the season, is one of the most difficult in sports. I have great respect for Jeff as a coach, person, father, and friend," Rams Owner Stan Kroenke said in a statement on Monday. 

"He has worked tirelessly despite some challenging circumstances. He played an integral role in helping this team make history in returning the NFL to Los Angeles, and we always will be grateful for his commitment and dedication to our organization. 

"However, this is the right time to make a change as our performance has not lived up to my or our fans' expectations. We all are focused on improving as an organization and building a team that makes Los Angeles proud. Our mission is to celebrate a Super Bowl title with our fans in L.A. Today is the first step to bring us closer to that goal."

Demoff and Kroenke watched the game on Sunday together from a suite and discussed Fisher's fate into the wee hours of the evening. Kroenke decided to sleep on it, and in the morning made the call to bring the axe down on his head coach.

If Fisher's firing is the first step to a Super Bowl, then the Rams will have a lot of stairs to climb over the next few seasons. Demoff admitted that the team's dismal season was not entirely Fisher's responsibility, but an "organizational failure," an announcement that could lead to the team cleaning house this offseason. 

"Coach Fisher was the only decision made today, but collectively, we all need to make changes," Demoff said. "We need to take an entire look at this organization. It would be a mistake to assure you that Les [Snead] would be back." 

The timing of his termination came as a surprise to Fisher as the Rams have just three games left in the season, including a game against the Seattle Seahawks in less than 72 hours. 

"I don't think he was expecting it." Demoff said of Fisher's reaction to the news. "Jeff was obviously disappointed. He was looking forward to coming back and getting this team in a better place."

Fans in Los Angeles were also expecting to see Fisher back on the sidelines next season, although admittedly, they were looking forward to it far less than the 58-year-old coach was.

Fisher was 31-45-1 in five seasons as the Rams head coach. He never had a winning record, with his best finish coming in his inaugural year with the Rams in 2012 when the team ended the year at 7-8-1.

Fisher was in the fifth and final year of his contract, but signed a two-year extension earlier in the year, a decision that shocked many when it was announced last Sunday before the Rams, 26-10, loss to the New England Patriots. 

"You never want anyone going into a relocation situation as a lame duck," Demoff said of why Fisher was given an extension. "We did it before the move."

It's normal when you're asking people to uproot their lives and families and move across the country that those same people would expect a certain amount of job security. Therefore, offering an extension to Fisher seemed appropriate at the time, and did not necessarily mean that the team would not part ways with their coach if they felt it necessary. In the case of Fisher, it was.

Fisher was making $7 million this season and is expected to receive that amount for next season as part of his extension. After he received the news on Monday morning, he asked to be the first person to address the team. 

Fisher told the team that he was let go as head coach, and vowed that he was there for them if they needed him. He reiterated his love for the players, and his disappointment that they were not able to get the job done. His parting words were to finish the final three games strong and that he would be rooting for them.

The Rams named special teams coordinator, John Fassel, as the interim head coach, and with three NFC West division games remaining, the organization is hopeful that a change of leadership can spark the team down the stretch.

"When you look at our team, we lost eight of nine and the last couple of losses weren't close. Those were factors in the decision," Demoff said. "There's never a good time, but with division games left, we thought we had a chance to win those games. At the end of the day, this team is not where it needs to be."

Now the search begins for the next head coach of the Los Angeles Rams, a job that lit by the backdrop of Hollywood could prove to be pretty enticing for some of the top coaches in the country. 

"We need to find the best head coach for the Los Angeles Rams and to do that, we have to look down every avenue," Demoff said about the search for the team's next head coach. "The biggest thing is, does he have a plan to maximize the potential of the offense."

The next head hauncho of the Rams will have a Pro Bowl running back in Todd Gurley and a young franchise quarterback with a big arm in Goff. They will also have the allure of a brand new $2.6 billion dollar stadium in Inglewood to move into in 2019. 

"What's most important with our fans is wins and losses and we need to find a coach moving forward to get us more wins than losses," concluded Demoff. "This is going to be a really attractive opening."

At least that's what the Rams' job posting will read.



Photo Credit: Jeff Gross/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Rams Fire Head Coach Jeff Fisher After Blowout Loss]]>Mon, 12 Dec 2016 14:04:52 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/200*120/Fisher+justified.png

The Los Angeles Rams relieved Jeff Fisher Monday morning of his head coaching duties after the franchise's disappointing first season back in Southern California, the team announced Monday morning.

The team issued a statement and planned to provided more details Monday afternoon.

"Making a decision such as this, especially during the season, is one of the most difficult in sports," said Rams Owner-Chairman Stan Kroenke. "I have great respect for Jeff as a coach, person, father and friend."

Fisher, 58, tied the NFL record for career losses by a head coach Sunday when the Rams were humiliated by the Atlanta Falcons 42-14 at the LA Memorial Coliseum. The loss dropped the Rams to 4-9 on their way to a 10th consecutive losing season.

Fisher was named head coach in 2012. He has a record of 31-45-1 during that time and 165 losses over his career -- tied with Dan Reeves for most career losses by an NFL head coach. His last winning season was in 2008 when he guided the Titans to a 13-3 record.

Fisher went 147-126 as coach of the Houston Oilers/Tennessee Titans and helped that franchise in its relocation. He led the Titans to the 1999 AFC championship.

Special teams coordinator John Fassel will serve as interim coach. Fassel, 42, joined the Rams after spending the past three years as special teams coordinator in Oakland. He's also worked for the Ravens.

Kroenke gave Fisher a contract extension before the season, though it was not made public until recently. Now, that extension appears to be more like a bonus to Fisher for his role in aiding the organization's move to California than being any part of a plan for the team's future.

Kroenke said in a statement that the team's performance in its first season back in Southern California after two decades in St. Louis has "not lived up to my or our fans' expectations."

"(Fisher) played an integral role in helping this team make history in returning the NFL to Los Angeles, and we always will be grateful for his commitment and dedication to our organization," Kroenke said.

Los Angeles travels to Seattle Thursday for a division showdown.



Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Rams Embarrassed by Falcons at Home]]>Sun, 11 Dec 2016 22:32:58 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/208*120/Rams+Hit+Rock+Bottom.png

When it rains it pours.

It rained for the last home game at the Coliseum, and it poured down boos in the team's latest debacle, as the Rams were embarrassed, 42-14, by the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday. 

The boo birds came out early as Mike Thomas muffed the opening kickoff in his own end zone and the Falcons recovered the ball on the three-yard line.

Matt Ryan wasted no time putting the Falcons on the board as he threw a touchdown to Justin Hardy on his first pass of the game to give Atlanta an early 7-0 lead.

"First play of the game, Justin Hardy makes a great catch and catches a touchdown pass in one-on-one coverage," Ryan said of the first score. "I'm proud of the way our guys competed."

On the ensuing Rams drive, Jared Goff drove L.A. down to the Falcons 16-yard-line, but his third-and-three pass bounced off the hands of receiver Kenny Britt and into the hands of safety Ricardo Allen for the drive-killing interception.

Ryan opened up the second half with a 64-yard deep touchdown strike to Taylor Gabriel. The 25-year-old speedster beat the Rams secondary and walked into the end zone as nobody was in the same area code as Gabriel on the play.

"We've been working on that play all week," Gabriel said. "Coming out of the half, we were thinking we were going to get the coverage and we did. Matt [Ryan] threw a great ball and all I had to do was catch it."

Ryan threw for 237 yards and three touchdowns as he sat the entirety of the fourth quarter, replaced by Matt Schaub with the outcome no longer in doubt.

"We made some plays, but really, we benifted from some turnovers and great field position," Ryan said after the game. "We were opportunistic and when we got our chances we capitalized."

Atlanta running back Tevin Coleman caught a touchdown and rushed for another as the Falcons scored 42 unanswered points to start the game, the largest lead an NFL team has had on the road since the Detroit Lions led 45-3 over the Broncos in Denver in 2011. 

The Falcons were without All-Pro receiver Julio Jones who was inactive for the game due to a turf toe injury. Backup receiver, Mohamed Sanu, was also out, leaving the Falcons with their third and fourth string wideouts. 

"Our guys did a great job. We have a lot of belief and confidence in everyone," added Ryan. "They played the wayl they're capable of playing."

The Rams have five turnovers in the game, including two interceptions and a fumble for Goff, two of which were returned for touchdowns, one being the first pick-six of the rookie's career. 

"That was a bad ball," Goff said of the throw. "The defender made a really good play on it and took it back."

Falcons' linebacker Deion Jones jumped a Goff pass in the second quarter and returned the interception 33 yards for the score. Later, in the third quarter, Vic Beasley got the always impressive, strip-sack fumble, recovery, and touchdown as Atlanta converted touchdowns on four of the Rams' five giveaways on the day. 

"We made mistakes that we shouldn't have made," said Rams cornerback Trumaine Johnson. "I really feel like we beat ourselves today."

The Rams definitely miss backup running back Benny Cunningham who missed the game with a neck injury. Cunningham would have been on special teams on the fumble on the opening kick and the running back during Malcolm Brown's second half fumble that led to the Falcons fifth touchdown.

"Benny [Cunningham] might be second or third in the league in kickoff returns," said Jeff Fisher on Cunningham's absence. "We miss Benny...but everybody's going through that."

Despite the lopsided score, Goff still threw for 235 yards and rushed for a touchdown. Todd Gurley rushed for 61 yards and scored L.A.'s first touchdown of the game on the opening play of the fourth quarter. 

"Obviously, we got our *** kicked, but I feel like I've grown a lot. Even in these tough games I can use every experience as something to build with," said Goff. "Hopefully, sometime in the future, and sooner, rather than later, we can look back at days like today and know that they made us better."

Goff is now 0-4 as a starter as him team falls to 4-9 overall on the season. There will be no rest for the weary as the Rams are scheduled to take the field again in four days as they travel to Seattle to take on the NFC West Division-leading Seahawks on NBC's Thursday Night Football.

"I feel responsible for this," said Fisher after the game. "I have great respect for each and every player in that locker room, and I've developed relationships with them. My job is to maximize their strengths, identify their weaknesses and help them to be as good of players as they possibly can. That's my job. I have to take it. The head coach takes it."

Players of the Game:

Matt Ryan: 237 yards, 3 TDs.
Falcons Defense: Five takeaways.
Tevin Coleman: Rushing and receiving touchdowns. 

Three Takeaways:

1. I'ts Your Duty Judy: Hall of Fame manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Tommy Lasorda, lit the Olympic torch at the LA Coliseum before kickoff. Lasorda donned a Rams hat as he brought the crowd to their feet.

Los Angeles legend Tommy Lasorda lighting the Coliseum torch #ATLvsLA #MobSquad

A video posted by Los Angeles Rams (@rams) on

2. Rock Bottom: The Rams become the first team since the Denver Broncos in 2011 to be down by 42 points at home.

3. Are they saying "Boo" or "Boo-urns?" Los Angeles Rams head coach Jeff Fisher was booed throughout the entirety of the game by the Coliseum crowd. The team has not won since the home opener of the Seahawks on Sept. 18 and with Sunday's loss, Fisher is now tied with Dan Reeves for the most losses by a head coach in NFL history.

Up Next:

Falcons (8-5): The second highest scoring offense in the NFL gets another minnow from the NFC West when they host the 1-11 San Francisco 49ers in Atlanta next Sunday.

Rams (4-9): Los Angeles travels to Seattle to face the NFC West-leading Seahwaks on Thursday at 5:25PM PST. 



Photo Credit: Harry How/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Tommy Lasorda Lights Torch at Rams Game]]>Sun, 11 Dec 2016 15:45:25 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/211*120/Lasorda+Lights+Torch.png

It's your duty, Judy.

Fans in Los Angeles are used to seeing former Dodgers' manager Tommy Lasorda behind home plate at Chavez Ravine, but Angelinos got a treat on Sunday at the LA Memorial Coliseum when the former manager surprised the crowd by lighting the ceremonial Olympic torch before the game.

The 89-year-old was on the sideline before the game and was seen speaking with Rams president and COO Kevin Demoff.

The two-time World Series manager was the skipper for the Dodgers from 1976 to 1996 and shared the city with the Rams for 18 of his 20-year tenure with the boys in blue.

Lasorda's catchphrase is "blue heaven on earth," but it was hardly angelic on the field as the Rams gave up 21 straight points to the Atlanta Falcons to start the game. In case you missed it, the video of Lasorda lighting the torch is below.

 

Los Angeles legend Tommy Lasorda lighting the Coliseum torch #ATLvsLA #MobSquad

A video posted by Los Angeles Rams (@rams) on



Photo Credit: Robin Marchant/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Fisher and Snead Respond to 'Toxic' Relationship Rumors]]>Fri, 09 Dec 2016 18:28:32 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/191*120/LA+Rams+Jeff+FIsher+and+Les+Snead.png

Sometimes the most toxic people in your life are disguised as your family.

That's logically the case with Los Angeles general manager Les Snead and head coach Jeff Fisher who have become family after an arranged marriage by Rams' owner Stan Kroenke brought them together in 2012.

Kroenke cleaned house of the then St. Louis Rams after the 2011 season, firing both head coach Steve Spagnuolo and general manager Billy Devaney on the same day.

Since then, Fisher and Snead have had their ups and downs over the last four seasons, but things exploded on Thursday when a MMQB story by Albert Breer on SI.comstated that things between Fisher and Snead were "toxic," and that the Rams practice facility in Thousand Oaks, CA was a "junior high" atmosphere.

Both Fisher and Snead disputed that report on Friday morning and vowed to find the "anonymous source," that was quoted in the Breer article. 

"I don't know where it's coming from, but I'll find out," said Fisher. "In our business, unnamed sources, they're not good. If we've got sources from within the organization that are speaking, then we'll address it. But there are no issues between Les and I."

Snead ushered the same sentiment when he met with reporters about an hour before Fisher did.

"The working relationship is good," Snead said.

Fisher and Snead each received two-year contract extensions before the season began, but an announcement didn't come until last Sunday morning before the Rams faced the New England Patriots in Foxborough.

Fisher was asked about Snead's extension after practice on Tuesday and he told reporters that he was "honestly, unaware," that his GM of the last four years had received an extension and added "we need to do a better job from a personnel standpoint," a comment that the media took as a jab at Snead.

However, Snead saw the comments and said that he did not take them personally.

"I didn't blow it out of proportion in any way," said Snead. "I realized we were in the same boat as far as getting extensions."

As for the comments about a "junior high" environment at the facility, Fisher said those came from the "writer or editor" of the story and did not believe that anyone in the organization feels that way.

"I don't know where that's coming from, but I don't pay as close attention to those things as you do because I'm more concerned about the Falcons," said Fisher. "But I'll just say this again, Les and I are fine. We work together. We talk every day. "

For now, Fisher and Snead are focused on football and snapping a three-game losing streak by beating the Atlanta Falcons at the Coliseum on Sunday, but the witch hunt for the unnamed source within the organization has officially begun amidst the dramatic Hollywood backdrop that has become the 2016 Rams season.



Photo Credit: Jason Merritt/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Chargers Move to LA Almost a Done Deal: Sources]]>Fri, 09 Dec 2016 12:18:09 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-503292588-1280-720.jpg

A plan to move the San Diego Chargers to Los Angeles is almost a done deal, multiple sources tell NBC4's Fred Roggin.

Chargers owner and chairman Dean Spanos said he would not make a final decision about moving the franchise to Los Angeles until after the season, but NBC4 has learned many of the building blocks are in place.

The Chargers would train in Orange County and there are no plans to rebrand, sources say.

The agreement with the Chargers to lease the as-yet-to-be-built Inglewood stadium has been executed and sources say, soon to be signed. The Rams signed an agreement with the NFL before moving to Los Angeles agreeing to lease space to another team.

The Chargers drive for a new stadium to replace their aging residence fell short in the Nov. 8 election, re-energizing talk of a move to Los Angeles. The ballot initiative's failure left everything in play, including a future move to join the Rams in their new Inglewood stadium, opening in 2019, and the possibility of a more aggressive timeline that would likely mean playing at the LA Memorial Coliseum with the Rams until a new stadium is built in Inglewood.

L.A. Coliseum Commission president Mark Ridley-Thomas confirmed earlier this week that the Chargers have spoken with the commission.

"In light of the vote of the people of San Diego, it's back on the table in earnest," Ridley-Thomas told USA Today. "So the appropriate amount of due diligence continues to be done, and we will see if in fact we can strike a deal."

Also this week, Spanos and San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer met to discuss the team's future in San Diego.

A move to the Coliseum would likely require a change to the stadium's lease terms, which currently allow for only one NFL team -- the Rams.

This all might sound somewhat familiar to football fans in Los Angeles, San Diego and Oakland. In January 2016, the Rams, Chargers and Raiders all appeared to be candidates for a move to LA.

NFL owners later approved the Rams' move at a meeting in Houston. A proposal to build a new stadium in Inglewood, opening in 2019, beat out a competing stadium plan in Carson, where the Chargers and Raiders planned to built a 72,000-seat stadium. The Chargers applied to relocate to LA, but that plan was rejected by league owners.

The Chargers, who have played in San Diego since 1961, were given the option of joining the Rams in the Inglewood stadium. They have until Jan. 15 to make a decision.

NFL team relocations require three-fourths approval of the member teams.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Jeff Fisher Signs 2 Year Contract Extension with Rams]]>Sun, 04 Dec 2016 12:06:41 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/222*120/Fisher+Extension.png

It looks like Eric Dickerson won't be on the sidelines any time soon.

The Los Angeles Rams signed head coach Jeff Fisher to a two-year contract extension through the year 2018 as first reported by NFL Network's  Ian Rapport on Sunday morning before the team took on the New England Patriots in Foxborough. 

As reported by Rapport, the agreement, which likely will have an opt-out clause by the team after the 2017 season, was initially agreed to in the preseason after Fisher guided the Rams through the very difficult relocation process from St. Louis to Los Angeles.

The deal was signed at some point during the season, which also helps explain why the Rams' front office has continued to praise Fisher and told everyone to judge him outside "the prism of just the record," even though the Rams are headed for another losing season. 

Fisher is in the sixth and final year of his original contract with the team and has never had a single winning season over that span. The last time Fisher had a winning season as a head coach was in 2008 with the Tennessee Titans.

Fisher has been on the hot seat in recent weeks for his decision not to start No. 1 overall draft pick Jared Goff until week 11 of the season, the team's performance on the field, and a very public spat with former Rams Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson. 

Dickerson recently told the public that Fisher denied a request for sideline passes for his friends, and asked him not to be on the sidelines for Rams home games after criticizing the team publicly. 

Dickerson called out the coach and vowed to never come to another home game as long as Fisher remained as the head coach. 

Fisher and general manger Les Snead reportedly received the same deal, and appears to be no more than a one-year consolation prize for managing the team through the moving process. 

The Rams could still fire both Fisher and Snead after the season, and only owe them one-year of salary, but it's likely they will allow the duo one more season to turn things around.

Neither Fisher nor Snead has spoken publicly about the extension, but with the release of the news on Sunday, expect the head coach to be asked about it during his postgame press conference in New England on Sunday.



Photo Credit: Jamie Squire/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Was Jeff Fisher Justified in Eric Dickerson Ban?]]>Wed, 30 Nov 2016 21:49:55 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/200*120/Fisher+justified.png

They say there are three sides to every story:

Your side, my side, and the truth.

Such is the case in the ongoing spat between Los Angeles Rams head coach Jeff Fisher and Hall of Fame former running back Eric Dickerson.

Dickerson played five seasons with the Rams from 1983-1987 where he averaged over 111 yards per game and became a local legend in the Los Angeles community.

As we reported on Monday, Dickerson revealed that Fisher had called him and told him he was not welcome on the Rams' sidelines during games.

Dickerson told Fox Sports Radio, that the call came after the former Rams running back had requested sideline passes for some friends for the team's Nov. 20 home game against the Miami Dolphins.

Dickerson had been critical of the team in the preceding weeks on Fred Roggin's radio show and Fisher told him that his comments had made the players uncomfortable and that he was denying his request for sideline passes because of it, a fact that Fisher acknowledged in his post-practice press conference on Tuesday:

"He was voicing his opinion, which he has every right to do," Fisher began. "And then immediately after, wanted things from the organization—and it doesn't work that way. You can have it one way or the other, it's just simple."

Dickerson says the call went like this:

"I see a 314 number calling in. So I get on the phone and say hello. He says, 'Hey, Eric, this is Jeff Fisher.' I said, 'How you doing, Jeff?' He said, 'I just wanted to call you. I want to tell you a few things here. I don't have time for this, but I'm going to tell you. You're not going to be talking about the football team, talking about our team, talking about my coaches, expecting to get things from this football team. We're not going to give you anything. We're not going to support you in anything. As long as I'm here as coach, we feel uncomfortable with you coming on the sideline. The players are uncomfortable with that. So as long as I'm head coach here, I'm just going to let you know it's not going to happen."

The truth of the ever-evolving feud between former player and current coach lies in between both parties' respective stories of how the conversation unfolded.

Dickerson has been vocal in the media of the Rams, Fisher, the players, and the coaching staff this season. He has repeatedly criticized the play of the offensive line, the uninspired play calls from offensive coordinator Rob Boras, and Fisher's decision not to start No. 1 overall pick Jared Goff for the first nine games of the season.

So despite those very public claims, the question remains: should Dickerson receive "favors" from the Rams organization because of his Hall of Fame standing as a player, or is he not allowed to have his cake and eat it too?

There's no doubt that Dickerson is one of the most loved and revered figures in Los Angeles sports and he has every right to voice his opinion about the team and their performance on the field, but, as head coach of the team, Fisher too, has every right to respectfully decline his request for sideline passes for his friends after he was critical of him, his coaches, and his players.

Fisher's number one priority is to make sure his players and coaches are prepared to perform at their best on the field and that distractions don't hinder them from doing their job. It's hard to tell them to stop listening to the news or the radio when members of the media including former players are talking about them, but he can control whether one of those people are standing feet away from them come game day. 

In Fisher's defense, he never "banned" Dickerson from the sideline and has said publicly this week that he is "always welcome" on the team's sideline. The issue at hand is whether the team should accommodate Dickerson's request for sideline passes from his friends and where the line gets drawn for future favors down the road.

Fisher felt that after being so critical of his players and coaches, that it was better Dickerson and his friends were not on the sidelines and instead offered them a catered luxury suite.

"I opened everything to Eric," he said. "I wanted him to know that we would provide anything for him that he needed."

Fisher also made the argument that if Dickerson wanted to be critical of the organization publicly, that he should see what's going on behind-the-scenes at practice, team meetings, and walkthroughs. He mentioned that other famous Rams alumni like Jackie Slater and Jack Youngblood have attended practices and former Titans running back Eddie George who played for Fisher, has frequently attended meetings with the team whereas Dickerson has not.

"I'd welcome him in the building. I'd love to have him come in. I'd love to have him come to practice. I'd love to have him come in the meetings," Fisher said of Dickerson. "Eddie George has been in my meetings more than Eric Dickerson has. I'd love to have him here."

The probability of that ever happening appear to be slim as Dickerson has now publicly stated that he will never again attend a Rams game at the Coliseum as long as Jeff Fisher is head coach.

"I want to go to a football game as much as I want to tie a bloody steak around my neck and jump in the Pacific Ocean butt naked," Dickerson said on Fox Sports Radio.

It's a shame that the Rams' myopia didn't factor into their decision to decline Dickerson's sideline passes. It's also a shame that Dickerson revealed the contents of a private conversation between he and Fisher for public consumption, and it's a crying shame that it happened after the Rams lost back-to-back games and got embarrassed in New Orleans, 49-21, by the Saints.

On Wednesday, Fisher said that Rams' chief operating office Kevin Demoff has reached out to Dickerson and welcome him back into the Rams family, but Fisher has not spoken with him or heard his name since Tuesday. 

"No, it's the first time I've heard his name since yesterday, not a word," Fisher said when asked if there's been any new developments or contact with Dickerson. "It's all about the Patriots now."

At this point, it appears the relationship with Dickerson and the team is beyond repair as E.D. continues to rage war on social media between the fans and Fisher.

In the meantime, Fisher himself has bigger fish to fry (pun intended), as his team travels to Foxborough to face Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots.

It appears that Fisher's future won't lie in the court of public opinion, or based on the hurt feelings of Dickerson, but rather, how the final few weeks unfold on the field.

At 4-7, the team's losing record will carry more weight on whether or not Fisher remains the coach of the Rams next season. The development of Jared Goff, how the defense performs, and how Fisher handles the pressure of the next month will all determine his future in Los Angeles. 

Despite the now public spat with Dickerson and the team's record, Fisher has done a credible job in transitioning the team through the relocation process. He led the organization as they moved halfway across the country, had OTAs in Oxnard, training camp in Irvine, practices in Thousand Oaks, and games across the globe including London this season.

Fisher has not had a winning record in his five seasons with the Rams, but he was also without a franchise quarterback, something the team believes they now have in Goff. 

Fisher has the faith of his team, but the organization's hand might be forced when it comes to the faith of the fans, especially in light of the Dickerson situation. 

Rams' owner Stan Kroenke will need to have the excitement of the city and fanbase at an all-time high when the team moves into their new stadium in Inglewood in 2019. It's possible that Fisher may get a longterm extension in the offseason with one-year out clauses for the team until that time comes, but for now, all eyes will be on Fisher as he leads the team to New England.



Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[LA Rams Feud With Eric Dickerson Reaches Fever Pitch]]>Tue, 29 Nov 2016 05:18:33 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/179*120/Dickerson1.JPG

Well is there a welcome mat, or isn't there?

An escalating feud between Los Angeles Rams Hall of Fame running back Eric Dickerson and current head coach Jeff Fisher has seemingly reached a fever pitch.

It all started a few weeks ago when Dickerson began to criticize Fisher and the team for their up-and-down season, and their reluctance not start No. 1 overall pick Jared Goff at quarterback. 

After the team's groundbreaking ceremony in Inglewood last week, Dickerson said he was told by a friend to expect a call from either Fisher or general manager Les Snead.

The call reportedly came from Fisher, and Dickerson was told he was no longer welcome on the Rams sideline. Dickerson remained mum on who the call came from, and after the Rams embarrassing loss to the New Orleans Saints, 49-21, at the Superdome on Sunday, he spoke publicly about the team's decision on his radio show with our very own Fred Roggin on AM 570 LA Sports. 

"Someone with the Rams called me and told me I'm not wanted on sidelines at games, that what I've said makes the players uncomfortable," Dickerson told L.A. listeners without revealing who called him only saying that it was someone in "upper management."

A few hours later, the Rams Executive Vice President of Football Operations & Chief Operating Office, Kevin Demoff, took to Twitter to quell the notion that Dickerson was banned from the team.

Demoff reiterated that he did not know who reached out to Dickerson, but believed it was a "miscommunication," and that he personally reached out to Dickerson to tell him he was welcome at all games and practices.

Later in the evening, at his weekly press conference, Fisher finally weighed in on the Dickerson ban when asked by a reporter.

"I don't know where that's coming from," Fisher said. "I had a really good conversation with Eric last week. We welcome the alums. We welcome the tradition and the history."

Fisher was then pressed on the topic and asked if Dickerson was still welcome on the Rams sideline.

"He's always welcomed," continued Fisher. "I'd love to have him come in. I'd love to have him come to practice. I'd love to have him come in the meetings. Eddie George has been in my meetings more than Eric Dickerson has. I'd love to have him here."

That last comment, regarding George seemed odd, and a bit of a jab at Dickerson not attending practices and voicing his opinion from afar, but regardless, Fisher seemed to also quiet any rumors that Dickerson was not welcome and openly invited him to games and practices.

Ordinarily, the CFO, COO and Head Coach of an organization publicly stating that Dickerson is welcome would be enough to end the debate, but Dickerson continued to pour fuel on the fire as he went on Fox Sports Radio with host Jason Smith to explain what happened.

"This happened about 10 days ago," began Dickerson. "The conversation was between he [Jeff Fisher] and I. He called me and said 'Look, I just want to call you and tell you that we at the Rams aren't going to have you talking about the team and asking things from the team.'"

Dickerson explained that he had previously asked the team for sideline passes for some friends of his and that Fisher told him they would not grant his request.

"'The players feel uncomfortable with you on the sideline and as long as I'm head coach here, you can come to the games, but you're not welcome on our sideline,'" Dickerson said, quoting Fisher. "I will always be Eric Dickerson of the Los Angeles Rams and I have to say what I see."

Dickerson confirmed that Fisher told him Eddie George had come to team meetings and that he was welcome to those meetings and practices as well, but Dickerson put a final exclamation point on the call.

"I told him 'you don't have to worry about me ever coming to a game again,'" sad Dickerson. "I don't want anyone to feel uncomfortable, but I told him 'As long as you're head coach, you don't have to worry about me coming to a Rams game ever again.'"

Dickerson said that Fisher tried to walk back his comments and said that Dickerson was welcome at the games and as an alum, the team wanted him a part of their organization and their future.

"I'll watch them from a distance, and I'll always support my football team 100% but I will never be at another Ram game in the Coliseum again as long as he's head coach," Dickerson said emphatically. "I want to go to a football game as much as I want to tie a bloody steak around my neck and jump in the Pacific Ocean butt naked."

It sounds like bad blood is brewing between the greatest running back in Los Angeles Rams franchise history and their current head coach. Dickerson has been retweeting messages of support from hundreds of Rams fans throughout the day and it does not appear like this beef between one of the team's most popular former players and the man at the top will end any time soon.

"I want my team to win, I'm a frustrated fan just like the other thousands out there." Dickerson said. "If you're satisfied with 8-8 you're a loser. He had the nerve to call me and tell me what he did. He doesn't have the right. He hasn't had a winning season with the Rams ever, ever, ever. "

It's safe to say that things in Tinseltown just got worse for the 4-and-7 Rams.



Photo Credit: Michael Duarte/ NBC LA]]>
<![CDATA[Goff Throws 3 TDs, Rams Lose in Rout]]>Sun, 27 Nov 2016 14:26:10 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/211*120/Jared+goff+3+tds+but+rams+lose.png

It was the good, the bad, and the ugly for the Rams on Sunday.

Jared Goff was good, throwing three touchdowns in just his second career NFL start. 

The Rams defense was bad, allowing a season-high 49 points on seven touchdowns and 555 yards of total offense.

And finally, the loss was ugly as the New Orleans Saints took it to their former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams as they routed the Rams 49-21 on Sunday afternoon at the Superdome.

Goff got the Rams off to a good start as he threw his first career NFL touchdown pass to Tavon Austin on the first possession of the game to give L.A. a 7-0 lead.

Goff connected with Kenny Britt for a six-yard strike to start the second quarter, and the Rams had a 14-7 lead. Unfortunately, that would be L.A.'s last lead of the game. 

New Orleans outscored the Rams 42-7 over the next three quarters, as they greeted their former defensive coordinator by scoring the most points against him than any other team has this season.

Williams was the Saints coordinator from 2009-2011, but was suspended from the NFL for a year in 2012 after the infamous "Bounty Scandal," in which league investigators discovered that Williams and other Saints coaches were paying players for targeting opponents and injuring them.

Williams was fired by the Saints after he was re-instated, and Sunday marked his first game back in the Big Easy since the bounty scandal unfolded.

Drew Brees carved up his former coordinator like a Thanksgiving turkey as the 16-year, all-pro quarterback threw for 310 yards and four touchdowns against the Rams highly rated defense.

Brees exposed holes in the defense's zone, allowing for multiple big plays down the field that ultimately broke the back of the elite group known as "The Mob Squad" 

Brees now has 30 touchdowns on the season, the ninth time in his career he has reached the milestone, tied for an NFL record with Peyyon Manning and Brett Favre. Brees also threw for over 300 yards for the 103rd time in his career, the most all-time.

Saints' receiver Michael Thomas had eight catches for 97 yards and two touchdowns, and Mark Ingram rushed for a season-high 142 yards and a touchdown. 

Despite the flashes of brilliance, and superb arm strength, Goff had his fair share of mistakes as well as the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL draft had a first half fumble and threw a second half interception as well.

Britt continued to build upon his best season of his career as he caught five catches for 52 yards and a score. Tight-end Lance Kendricks caught four balls for 51 yards and a touchdown. 

Former high school quarterback and all-purpose player Willie Snead had four catches for 36 yards for the Saints, but he also threw for a touchdown when he connected with Tim Hightower on a 50-yard bomb down the field on a trick play in the fourth quarter.

The Rams fall to 4-7 on the season and will now have to win their remaining five games on the schedule to give Jeff Fisher his first winning season as head coach.

Players of the Game:

Drew Brees:  310 yards, 4 TDs
Jared Goff: 214 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT
Mark Ingram: 142 yards and 1 TD

Three Takeaways:

1. You Always Remember Your First Time: Jared Goff dropped a dime into the hands of Tavon Austin for his first career NFL touchdown pass on L.A.'s first possession of the game.

2. Welcome Back, Williams: Former New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams made his return to the Big Easy for the first time since he was suspended by the NFL for a bounty scandal, and his former team embarrassed their old friend as they scored 49 points, the most any team has ever scored on a Rams defense led by Williams.

3. Fire Fisher? Los Angeles Rams head coach Jeff Fisher now seems destined for another losing season and after a strong performance from Goff, Rams fans took to social media to ask why he wasn't starting all season. Shortly thereafter, the hashtag #FireFisher was trending on Twitter.

Up Next:

Rams (4-7): Things only get worse for L.A. from here as the team travels to New England to take on the Patriots.

Saints (5-6): New Orleans is still in the hunt in the NFC South as they will host the first place Detroit Lions at the Superdome next week.

Please refresh this page for more stats, updates, and player reactions…



Photo Credit: Wesley Hitt/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[LA Rams Future Looks Eerily Similar to Past]]>Wed, 23 Nov 2016 21:59:15 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/212*120/Jared+Goff+NFL+Debut.png

They say the past is not supposed to define your future, but in the case of the Los Angeles Rams, you only need to look at the recent past in order to see what's in their immediate future.

The future was supposed to be now. One week ago, head coach Jeff Fisher announced that No. 1 overall draft pick Jared Goff would be the Rams starting quarterback for the remainder of the season. 

Fans in L.A. were excited, players were energized, dawn was approaching and the era of Goff was on the horizon…and then, reality set in.

The Rams offense remained mediocre in a 14-10 come-from-ahead loss to the Miami Dolphins on Sunday, and Goff's debut was uninspiring to say the least.

Goff finished 17-of-31 for 134 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions. He spent the entirety of the game wrapped in bubble wrap as ultra-conservative play calls required him to dink and dunk his way down the field, attempting just five passes beyond 10 yards, with his longest completion of just seven yards (before yards after catch). 

"I would like to throw some balls down field and I think that will be in the plan every week and it's up to them," Goff said about the lack of plays down the field. "I think it had a lot to do with the weather and a little bit with the play calling."

After the game, both Goff and Fisher credited no delay of game penalties and the QB's ability to get in and out of the huddle as a positive, essentially staging that all the setup and staging in the game was seamless, but the outcome and results were lackluster. 

"You could see the light, there's light there for him," Fisher said after the game. "So we'll continue to allow him to get ready and continue to progress."

The light is not coming from Goff, but rather, its shining directly in the faces of Fisher and first year offensive coordinator Rob Boras.

The Rams offense looked stale and bland, the same it has all season. Despite the change at quarterback, the team scored just 10 points all game, consistent with where they've been over the past five weeks. 

Boras' play calls are a direct correlation to that, but ultimately the responsibility lands on Fisher who is 4-6 this season and headed for another 7-9 record. 

The Rams have finished with seven wins in four of the last six seasons, and have never had a winning record under Fisher. He's 31-42-1 in four-plus seasons with the team, and is in the final year of his contract.

Fisher has not made the NFL playoffs in what will soon be seven consecutive seasons and the Rams are 64-127-1 since 2003, the last time they wont the NFC West Division.

"They saw our future here today," Fisher said after the game about the L.A. fans. "I'm just disappointed for them that we weren't able to hang on and win this game."

Unfortunately for the City of Angels and the organization as a whole, that future remains bleak and reminiscent of the past without a significant change at the coordinator or coaching position.



Photo Credit: Harry How/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dolphins Rally in Final Moments to Shock Rams]]>Sun, 20 Nov 2016 19:26:45 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/203*120/Goff+loses+debut.png

When it rains, it pours.

Ryan Tannehill threw two touchdowns in the final five minutes and the Miami Dolphins spoiled the NFL debut of Jared Goff, as they rallied to beat the Rams 14-10 on a rainy Sunday afternoon at the L.A. Coliseum.

After a touchdown to Jarvis Landry with 4:02 remaining gave the Dolphins their first points of the game, Tannehill found DeVante Parker in the right corner of the end zone for a nine-yard TD with just 36 seconds left to play. 

"That was one of the most disappointing losses I've experienced over the years," said Rams head coach Jeff Fisher after the game. "After everything that went into this...to let things slip away in the last six minutes is really disappointing."

Miami's crazed comeback shocked the soggy and soaked Coliseum crowd and ultimately spoiled the first game of Goff's NFL career. 

"The fans, the team, the coaches, everybody is at a loss for words right now," said Rams DT Michael Brockers after the shocking loss. "We had the perfect plan: Goff was doing great, the defense was playing strong, we just have to learn how to execute towards the end of the game and finish people."

The No. 1 overall pick in the NFL draft did not set the world on fire in his first NFL start, but he didn't lose the game for his team either. 

"I'm obviously very disappointed with the result and how things turned out," said Goff. "We couldn't put the game away. We need to finish better and stay out of our own way."

Goff went 17-for-31 for 134 yards and did not throw a touchdown, but he also didn't make any glaring mistakes as one would expect from a rookie quarterback in his first game action of the season.

"It took me a couple drives to settle in," explained Goff. "In your first game, it takes a little while to settle in. I think not having any delay of games was a positive, but I think I could have been a little cleaner on my reads. They have a really good defense and did a really good job on us."

Todd Gurley scored the Rams only touchdown of the game when he busted up the middle for a 24-yard scamper in the first quarter. The run was the longest of the season for the 2015 Rookie of the Year. Gurley ran the ball 20 times for 76 yards and a touchdown.

Tannehill threw for 172 yards, with two touchdowns and an interception as he capped off the comeback for the Fish. The victory, was the fifth in a row for the Dolphins who were outmatched by the Rams defense for 55 minutes of the game.

"That's why you play sixty minutes," said Dolphins head coach Adam Gase. "We were terrinle on offense before that. Nothing was going right for us. We put a drive together, executed a third-and-three, a couple of plays popped for us and we got a chance to win the game."

After Goff led the Rams down the field for a 46-yard field goal in the final seconds of the third quarter, Los Angeles led 10-0 and seemed fully in control of the game. 

The Rams defense was dominant all day and were carrying the term on their proverbial shoulders midway through the fourth quarter. 

However, after a 47-yard Greg Zuerlein field goal hit the left upright, negating a potential 13-point lead, momentum seemed to completey switch to the Miami sideline. 

"I think we lost the momentum," added Goff. "Momentum shifts back and forth in games. We had it for most of the game, but at the end of the game there, we stepped in front of ourselves, we didn't do what we're supposed to do and they started making plays."

Tannehill drove 77 yards down the field on eight plays, and Landry got into the end zone thanks to an assist from the offensive line which pushed the wily wide-receiver the final few yards past the goal line. 

"I couldn't get there alone," joked Landry after the game. "I closed my eyes and went for the ride. Numerous guys helped me get in there. I'm grateful for those players."

After the Rams were forced to punt, Tannehill led a 75-yard, seven play drive that turned into the game-winning score. 

Los Angeles got the ball back after the kickoff on their own 41-yard line with 29 seconds left in the game, but a hail mary into the end zone as the clock expired was batted down by Landry who was a safety net on the play.

Players of the Game:

Ryan Tannehill: Two touchdowns.
DeVante Parker: Game-winning touchdown.
Todd Gurley: 24-yard rushing touchdown.

Three Takeaways:

1. Gurley Gashes Dolphins: Todd Gurley scored the first touchdown of the game on a 24-yard burst up the middle. It was the Rookie of the Year's first run of 20+ yards in the 2016 season after he had 11 such runs in his inaugural campaign in 2015.

2. Defense Wins Championships: We're not insinuating the LA Rams will be lifting the Lombardi Trophy anytime soon, but their defense has been dominant all season and showed it again on Sunday.

3. Five in a row: Ryan Tannehill's thrilling two-touchdown comeback gave the Miami Dolphins their fifth win in a row, their longest winning streak since 2008.

Up Next:

Dolphins (6-4): Miami will return to South Beach where they will host the lowly San Francisco 49ers in Week 12.

Rams (4-6): Los Angeles goes back on the road to the Big Easy where they will scrap with the Saints in New Orleans nest Sunday. 



Photo Credit: Harry How/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Watch: Rams Stadium Groundbreaking]]>Thu, 17 Nov 2016 13:14:29 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/11-17-2016-shovel-groundbreaking-la-rams.JPGThe Los Angeles Rams break ground on a $2.6 billion stadium project Thursday Nov. 17, 2016 in Inglewood.

Photo Credit: KNBC-TV]]>
<![CDATA[1st and 2019 to Go: Rams Break Ground on New Stadium]]>Thu, 17 Nov 2016 13:33:23 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/11-17-2016-shovel-groundbreaking-la-rams.JPG

The Los Angeles Rams broke ground Thursday morning on the team's $2.6 billion Inglewood stadium project.

Rams owner Stan Kroenke, Chief Operating Officer Kevin Demoff, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and Inglewood Mayor James Butts were among the people who attended the 11 a.m. ceremony at the site of the former Hollywood Park Racetrack. The group formally broke ground on the stadium, which is expected to be open in time for the 2019 season. Work to clear the site officially began about two years ago.

"We spent so much time in this market, knowing how great the fans were, how successful the franchise would be, but we had to get it right," Goodell said the efforts to return an NFL franchise to Los Angeles. "And, this is right.

"It's going be a great project."

Kroenke said the project will bring the former site of Hollywood Park racetrack the "most unique and fan-friendly stadium in the world."

It is also being billed as the world's most expensive stadium.

"We're going to give you something to be proud of, that's our goal," Kroenke said. "We want to make citizens of the area, certainly the NFL and the residents of Inglewood proud of what we're doing here. We're gonna build a global destination. That's what we think we can do in the entertainment capital of the world. We think people from all over the world will seek this location out."

The stadium, with an estimated capacity of about 80,000, is expected to include 275 luxury suites, more than 16,000 premium seats and have nearly 3 million square feet of usable space. The overall project has a price tag estimated at about $2.6 billion.

According to contractors, the stadium construction will provide more than 3,500 on-site construction jobs in Inglewood and more than 10,000 jobs by the time it is completed.

The stadium is expected to be the centerpiece of an entertainment and commercial center spanning roughly 300 acres. The district is envisioned to include a roughly 6,000-seat arena, nearly 1.5 million square feet of retail and office space, 2,500 residential units and possibly a 300-room hotel, along with 25 acres of parks and open space.



Photo Credit: KNBC-TV]]>
<![CDATA[Keenum 'Not Happy' About Becoming Backup to Jared Goff]]>Wed, 16 Nov 2016 19:04:36 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/IMG_6898_1200x675_810881091542.jpg

The NFL is a tough business.

Nearly every quarterback has gone through it at some point—heck, almost every person has gone through it—but for Los Angeles Rams quarterback Case Keenum, it doesn't make the pain sting any less.

Injuries and benchings are commonplace in sports, in fact, their guaranteed. Without them, we would have never seen the likes of Tom Brady, Steve Young, or Drew Brees. These quarterbacks famously rose from the ashes of their older predecessors and become Hall of Fame caliber players.

On Tuesday, it was Keenum's turn to swallow his pride and step aside for the younger upgrade to take over the reign of the Rams. Needless to say, he wasn't happy about it.

"I was obviously surprised," Keenum told a horde of reporters in his first public comments since the benching. "Honestly, I wasn't happy. I want to play."

Keenum captained the Rams to a 9-6 victory over the New York Jets on Sunday, but failed to record a touchdown despite numerous attempts in the red zone.

The win snapped a four-game losing streak for the Rams, which was why Keenum was surprised, but in reality, he shouldn't be. The team did not trade away four draft picks before the season began for the No. 1 overall pick to watch him put up a quarterback rating of 43, let alone throw more interceptions (11) than touchdowns (9) on the season.

Keenum's fate was sealed in Week 2 when the Rams defeated the Seattle Seahawks, 9-3, in their first home game at the LA Coliseum in 37 years.

Despite the victory, the team failed to score a touchdown and by the fourth quarter the chants for "We Want Goff!" steadily rose.

After back-to-back victories on the road, they quelled, but after four consecutive losses, including a 13-10 defeat at the hands of the NFC Champion Carolina Panthers at home in Week 9, they reached a fever pitch.

"They have a right to feel however they want to feel," Keenum said about the fans at the time. "I'm glad that the fans are there and the stadium is full, but it's in one ear and out the other."

That response only made the fans more rabid so after once again failing to find the end zone in Week 10, Keenum's ticket to the bench was punched, especially with mounting pressure on head coach Jeff Fisher to make a move as he's in the final year of his contract.

"I guess it was going to happen at some point, but in my mind it was my team," Keenum said sternly. "That's the way I viewed it. It was my offense, and I took ownership of it."

Keenum is now the former owner of the Rams offense as Fisher handed the keys to the car over to the rookie. It's a situation that's similar to Tony Romo and Dak Prescott in Dallas, but when asked if Keenum sees any similarities, he was succinct with his answer.

"I saw a little bit of it, I'm sure it was pretty emotional for him," Keenum said of Romo's press conference on Tuesday. "I didn't relate to it though."

It's obvious that it's an emotional catharsis when you're told as an athlete and competitor that the team is moving on to a younger more inexperienced player. The conflicting feelings can be difficult to handle, and despite his best efforts to masquerade them on Wednesday, they seeped through the cracks in his short responses and salty comebacks to some members of the media.

Thus far, both Romo and Keenum have handled their demotions in a professional and classy way. Often, the best approach is to be honest with your emotions, and congratulatory with your reactions to the player that has been chosen to replace you.

Nobody will feel sorry for Keenum on Sunday, after all, he was given ten weeks to lead this team to a winning record, and thus far, has failed to do so. However, he must remember that he still has an opportunity to return and become a hero for this team in their new home.

Keenum is just one snap away from going from victim to savior, a fact that NBC LA reminded him of on Wednesday.

"I'll prepare the same way whether I'm one, two or three," Keenum said. "I'll be ready to go if my name is called again and I will go out and make this team the best team it can be."

If that day comes, Keenum's story can be one of redemption as a revenant.  

]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers Work Out With Rams, Britney Spears Watches]]>Wed, 16 Nov 2016 01:22:43 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/160*160/IMG_6877.JPG

Worlds collided on Tuesday at the Los Angeles Rams practice facility.

The wide world of sports merged with the entertainment world in Thousand Oaks on Tuesday afternoon at the Los Angeles Rams practice facility.

Dodgers' players Joc Pederson and Micah Johnson joined stars Todd Gurley and Jared Goff on the field for a NFL style workout and they were observed by popstar Britney Spears who brought her two sons to practice.

Pederson, the starting centerfielder for the National League West champion Los Angeles Dodgers, told Goff that he wanted a "Tim Tebow-style" workout after the former NFL quarterback recently changed sports to baseball after signing a minor league deal with the New York Mets.

Goff stayed after practice to throw balls to Pederson and Johnson who took turns covering each other on defense.

Pederson and Goff are both from the Bay Area and grew up fans of the San Francisco 49ers. Pederson was born in Palo Alto, and Goff, a mere 60 miles north in Novato. Despite their SF ties, both athletes are slowly becoming LA loyalists.

Pederson has been wearing Rams gear throughout the 2016 season and purchased Goff and Gurley jerseys for his Dodger teammates before their Fantasy Football draft in late-August. Pederson also attended the Rams game against the Carolina Panthers at the LA Coliseum last Sunday as well.

Pederson and Johnson also took turns on the jug machine catching passes, and Pederson even did his best Odell Beckham Jr. impression making a nifty one-handed grab.

Goff and Pederson posed for pictures and talked after practice with the new Rams starting quarterback asking him, "What happened to you guys in the playoffs?"

Pederson's response, "The Cubs are really good."

Spears did not pose for any photos and did not meet with any players as she left the facility before practice came to an end. Goff said he was disappointed that he was unable to meet the "Oops, I did it Again," singer.

Video of Goff, Pederson and Johnson working out together is below.



Photo Credit: Michael J. Duarte]]>
<![CDATA[Goff on Starting: 'The Anxiety is Over."]]>Tue, 15 Nov 2016 20:33:21 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/207*120/Jared+Goff+speaks+after+being+named+starter.png

The wait is over.

After cries and chants of "We Want Goff!" rang through the hallow halls of the Coliseum, the Los Angeles Rams have finally named quarterback Jared Goff the starter.

Less than 24 hours after head coach Jeff Fisher said that Goff was his No. 2 quarterback, news broke this morning thanks to ESPN's Chris Mortensen that Goff would start the game this Sunday against the Miami Dolphins.

"I sat down with both Case and Jared this morning and informed them of the move," Fisher said after practice on Tuesday. "Jared Goff is the starter. He's going to be under center this week against a really good defense in the Dolphins."

The switch at the quarterback position ignites a new era in Rams football, and the end of the Case Keenum saga as the former starting quarterback, reverts to his original position as a backup. 

"Case is a pro. He doesn't like it, but understands and appreciates his opportunity," Fisher said of how Keenum took the news. "He's going to do anything he can to make Jared successful. He's a class act. Case was voted a captain and is still a captain. His leadership, enthusiasm and commitment has been tremendous. You can't ask for anything more. But it's time to move on." 

Keenum guided the Rams to a 9-6 victory on Sunday against the New York Jets, but was unable to get his team into the end zone despite a handful of trips into the redzone. The win snapped a four-game losing streak for the Rams, but over his past five games, Keenum threw eight interceptions and just five touchdowns.

On the season,  Keenum has passed for just 2,169 yards with 11 interceptions and nine touchdowns. The team's scoring offense is dead last in the NFL and their passing game is ranked 25th in the league with 225.4 yards per game. Needless to say, a change was needed.

"The anxiety is over," a happy and cheerful Goff said after practice. "I'm good now. I'm confident and ready to go. Hopefully this will be the start of a long career."

The local fans had to wait 22 years for the team to return Los Angeles and 11 weeks to say the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL draft take the field. Fans and the media alike have been asking when is the time ripe for Goff, a question that Fisher has consistently said will be, "when he's ready."

"He was always a play away from going in. As he's gotten the reps over the past 3-4 weeks, he was making the right decisions, so it was time," Fisher said. "His progression in practice is what swayed me."

Last week, NBC LA asked Fisher if Keenum's performance or the team's win-loss record would have any influence on when or if Goff would get in the game, a decision Fisher said would have no influence whatsoever on Goff starting.

True to his word, Goff got the job despite the Rams victory in week 10 and regardless of who their defensive opponent is this Sunday. Additionally, Fisher's decision is not simply a week-to-week thing, Goff is the guy for the foreseeable future.

"In my heart, I felt like this was the best time to turn the keys over to Jared. He's really excited," Fisher said. "It was my decision. I did inform Stan [Kroenke] for obvious reasons. I told him this is the direction I wanted to go. It's an exciting time right now. We're expecting him to play well and win games for us." 

According to Goff, his teammates reacted positively to the news, and he received plenty of congratulation texts from friends and family.

One of those teammates, starting left guard Rodger Saffold, saw this decision coming for weeks, as Goff continued to progress in practice. 

"I kept seeing better throws and less mistakes in practice," said Saffold. "He's been working. He's been watching on how to be a leader and adjust to certain looks. The coaches feel comfortable putting him in now, so it's our job to make him confortable on the field."

Everything won't be all roses for Goff when he takes the field in Los Angeles on Sunday. He will line up against one of the best defensive players in the league in Ndamukong Suh, a player who will surely try and greet Goff to the NFL in the most vicious way possible.

"The biggest thing for him is to stay calm and take things one play at a time. On our end, we need to make things easier for him," added Saffold. "Give him better looks and stop the things the defense is going to try and do to get him out of his comfort zone."

Both Goff and Fisher know there will be growing pains over the next six weeks as well as mental mistakes that come naturally with a rookie. One thing fans will be watching for is if the offense improves with Goff under center. If Rams fans are expectation 300+ yard, four touchdown performances, they could be in for a rude awakening as the team still plans to hand the ball off to Todd Gurley. 

Goff is alright with that, and just wants to help the team make the postseason for the first time in 12 years.

"I expect to do whatever it takes to win," finished Goff. "If that's a lot of touchdowns and a lot of yards, or not that much, I'm going to do whatever it takes to win."



Photo Credit: Leon Halip/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Rams' Jared Goff to Get His First Start Sunday]]>Tue, 15 Nov 2016 12:31:52 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/rams-jared-goff-case-keenum.jpg

Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff, the No. 1 pick in the 2016 draft, will get his first career start Sunday, the team announced Tuesday.

Goff, who starred at California, watched the first nine games of his rookie season on the sideline for the Rams (4-5), who have one of the NFL's least successful offenses. Veteran Case Keenum has started every game, passing for 2,169 yards with 11 interceptions and nine TDs.

But the Rams decided it's time to see what they've got in Goff after the offense failed to score a touchdown in last weekend's 9-6 victory over the New York Jets.

Coach Jeff Fisher repeatedly declined to promote Goff over the past two months while his offense struggled on almost a weekly basis, saying he wanted Goff to be in an ideal position to succeed. It's increasingly clear that the Rams' offense doesn't provide an optimal opportunity for any quarterback, but at least Goff will now be learning on the job.

"He's ready, he's preparing, and doing well," Fisher said, according to the Rams' website, adding, "He's anxious and confident."

The Rams' offense is 31st in the NFL with just 308.0 yards per game. Their passing game is ranked 25th with 225.4 yards per game, increasing in recent weeks because of Los Angeles' profound struggles running the ball.

The Coliseum crowd has been eager for a change, booing the offense and chanting "We want Goff!" while the Rams struggled through a 13-10 loss to Carolina two weeks ago. Los Angeles couldn't score against the Panthers until midway through the fourth quarter.

The Rams then failed to reach the end zone against the Jets, but the defense carried them to their first win since early October.

Goff, who turned 22 last month, was a three-year starter at California in a spread offense bearing little resemblance to the Rams' more pro-style schemes. That additional learning curve persuaded the Rams to be patient with Goff while Keenum got his first chance to be an NFL team's opening-day starter.

But Keenum has struggled along with the Los Angeles offense, repeatedly failing to make big plays in important situations. The veteran has thrown eight interceptions and five TD passes over the past five games for the Rams, who endured a four-game skid before last weekend's win.

Goff is the first quarterback chosen with the top pick who didn't start his team's opener since JaMarcus Russell in 2007. Since then, Matt Stafford, Sam Bradford, Cam Newton, Andrew Luck and Jameis Winston had all started their teams' first games.

The Rams will face off against the Miami Dolphins at 1:05 p.m. Sunday at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

ESPN first reported the Rams' decision to start Goff.

NBC4's Willian Avila contributed to this report.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Rams Snap Losing Streak With Win Over Jets ]]>Mon, 14 Nov 2016 04:40:11 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/203*120/Rams+Offense+keenum.png

The streak is over.

Greg Zuerlein made three field goals and the Los Angeles Rams snapped a four-game losing streak with a 9-6, victory over the New York Jets on Sunday afternoon at Metlife Stadium.

The Rams defense once again carried the team as they held the Jets to just six points, and Alec Ogletree intercepted a Bryce Petty pass with less than two minutes remaining to seal the victory for the Rams.

The Rams anemic offense was once again on full display, as they failed to score a touchdown on the day, and won their first game by a score of 9-6 in franchise history.

The game itself was difficult to watch as both teams combined for 15 punts as neither offense gave anything for fans to get excited about.

The Rams started the game with a statement sending opening drive. Case Keenum drove his team down the field and to the one-yard line, but then the Rams digressed to the mean as they were stuffed on three straight possessions and settled for a field goal.

Keenum was a pedestrian 17-for-30 for 165 yards with no touchdowns, but more importantly, he managed the game and did not commit a turnover this week after throwing eight interceptions in his last three games.

Petty recorded his first career touchdown in impressive fashion as the Jets ran the old hook and ladder trick play inside the 10-yard line. 

Petty found Brandon Marshall on the screen and the six-time Pro Bowler pitched the ball back to Bilal Powell who was coming off the edge and ran into the end zone for the score. Nick Folk missed the extra point to make it a three-point game.

The Rams reoccurring theme this season has been their inability to finish off drives with touchdowns. Once again, Keenum drove the length of the field and got the Rams in the red zone, but L.A. settled for another field goal that tied the game at 6-6.

The Rams opened the fourth quarter with another drive in the red zone, but it yielded only three points for the third time in the game as the offensive ineptitude continued. 

The Jets were moving the ball into LA territory on the final drive of the game, but Petty threw an interception to Ogletree who jumped the route and wrestled it away from the receiver for the game winning turnover. 

Players of the Game:

Greg Zuerlein: Three field goals.
Rams Defense: 6 points allowed.
Alec Ogletree: Game-winning interception.

Three Takeaways:

1. Petty Cash: Former Baylor Bears star Bryce Petty got the start at quarterback for the Jets over the injured Ryan Fitzpatrick. The game marked the first NFL start of Petty's career.

2. I Would Do Anything For Love: After scoring just a field goal in the first half, the Los Angeles Rams continued to struggle on the offensive end as the chants for Jared Goff grew louder. However, the Rams stuck with Keenum in the second half, citing the Meatloaf song, "I would do anything for love, but I won't do THAT."

3. Play of the Game: Arguably the play of the game came on a 78-yard punt by Rams kicker Johnny Hekker who absolutely crushed a ball into the New Jersey sky. According to stats, Hekker's punt was the fourth longest in franchise history.

Up Next:

L.A. Rams (4-5): The Rams return to the LA Coliseum next week where they will host the Miami Dolphins at 1:05PM PST.

New York Jets (3-7): The Jets will head to the BYE week before hosting Tom Brady and the New England Patriots at 10:00AM PST on Sunday, November 27.



Photo Credit: Al Bello/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Case Keenum Vows to 'Make Offense Great Again']]>Fri, 11 Nov 2016 01:34:13 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/200*120/Case+Keenum+Make+Offense+great+Again.png

The nation is still reeling from Tuesday night's shocking election results but that didn't stop LA Rams quarterback Case Keenum from making a political statement of his own after practice on Wednesday.

In his first appearance in front of the media since he was booed repeatedly on the field in a 13-10 loss last Sunday against the Carolina Panthers, Keenum kept the focus on the New York Jets and how the team can play better on the offensive side of the field. 

But when asked for his thoughts on the election, Keenum paused, then smiled, and said, "All I'm going to say is our goal is to make this offense great again."

Keenum laughed at the nod to President Elect Donald Trump's campaign slogan of "Make America Great Again," but the Rams offense and current quarterback situation is hardly a laughing matter.

Keenum hasn't played well in three of the team's last four games, and in the one game he did play well—a four TD performance against the Detroit Lions—he threw an interception late in the game as LA was looking to either win or tie in their final drive. 

Since that interception, Keenum has just two touchdowns with five interceptions as the offense has sputtered with back-to-back 10-point performances.

The most recent performance at the LA Coliseum, led to chants of "We want Goff!" as the nearly 90,000 in attendance were frustrated with their team's four-game losing streak and wanted to see the NFL's No. 1 overall draft pick take the field.

After the game, Rams head coach Jeff Fisher said the team would look at the tape and "circle the wagons," before naming a starting QB, but less than 24 hours later he announced that Keenum was still his guy.

"Case Keenum is starting," Fisher told the media on Monday. "Jared is improving, but Case right now, especially against this [The Jets] defense, gives us our best chance."

The Rams are currently 3-5 and a loss to the NY Jets on Sunday will likely bury their chances at making the playoffs this season. That will only increase the cries to see Goff and put even more pressure on Fisher who is currently in the last year of his contract.

NBC LA pressed Fisher more on Tuesday about the likelihood of seeing Goff on the field.

"When he's ready, he's going to start, and he's going to play," replied Fisher when asked if there was any situation in which Keenum would remain the starter if Goff were ready to play.

Fisher's answer begs the question for fans that want to see Goff on the field of when exactly he will be ready to play and why is he not ready already?

It's possible that Goff is simply behind the learning curve right now when it comes to playing under center and reading NFL defenses.

The entirety of Goff's playing career at the University of Cal Berkeley was out of the shotgun formation and it's no secret that he struggled under center in the preseason.

First, it was multiple fumbles on the snap in training camp and in the preseason.

Second, it was multiple rookie mistakes in the little action he saw in the early exhibition games.

That likely means that Goff still needs some seasoning before he gets thrown into the fire and despite the four-game losing streak, the Rams are still in a position where they can win the NL West Division and/or make the playoffs as a wild card.

As long as that's the case, Keenum will continue to start. Fan's who chanted for Goff against the Panthers, instead may want to start chanting, "We want Mannion!" if they want to see a change at quarterback.

Current third string QB Sean Mannion impressed in the preseason and the Oregon State standout could be in a better position to start for the Rams sooner then Goff.

Mannion threw for 325 yards and four touchdowns in the preseason and was the Rams highest ranked quarterback before the season began.

Before a change at quarterback can be made, the Rams offense, at every position, needs to play better. Receivers in the team's 17-10 loss in London were responsible for two of Keenum's four interceptions and tight end Lance Kendricks dropped an easy touchdown catch in the fourth quarter of the game against the Panthers that would have given LA seven points instead of three, ultimately a deciding factor in the outcome of the game.

The running back position is another glaring weakness on this team as Todd Gurley's frustrations in the backfield continue to grow.

After rushing for 1,106 yards and 10 touchdowns in his rookie season last year, Gurley has yet to rush for over 100 yards and his touches have dropped significantly.

However, for Gurley to get going this season, he needs some help up front as the offensive line, tight ends and fullbacks need to find ways to open up holes for the running back.

"For any runner, especially a guy like Todd…the more carries they're going to get, the more they're going to settle in," said Rams offensive coordinator Rob Boras on Wednesday.

In the meantime, Keenum continues to work with the offense in order to break out of their current slump and we'll find out on Sunday at the Meadowlands if Keenum's vow comes true, or is just another broken campaign promise.



Photo Credit: Stephen Dunn/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Rams Players Touched by Families of Fallen ]]>Sun, 06 Nov 2016 20:26:20 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/IMG_3373_1200x675_802456643643.jpg

"It really puts life in perspective."

That's what the Los Angeles Rams quarterback and No. 1 overall draft pick Jared Goff said after meeting with family members who have lost a loved one while in service for their country.

Exactly 63 different families — one for each player on the Rams roster — were invited to a team workout on Saturday at the team's practice facility in Thousand Oaks, California where they met with players, and shared stories of their fallen loved ones who were killed in action while serving the United States of America.

The event, which carried over into the LA Coliseum on Sunday when the Rams hosted the reigning NFC Champion Carolina Panthers, was all part of an NFL program entitled, "Salute to Service." The league honors and salutes veterans and their families throughout the season and exclusively chooses 32 different games in which to honor America's heroes. 

The Rams took it a step further, by being the first organization to invite the family members to the team's facility for a meet and greet and behind the scenes tour. 

"This is a first for you guys and a first for our organization," head coach Jeff Fisher said as he addressed the families. "It's a special moment."

The team partnered with an organization called the Tragedy Assistance Program, or "TAPS," for short. The program's sole purpose is to help grieving families get back on their feet after the loss of their loved ones and hopefully, shed a little sunshine and happiness on a dark period in their lives.

The Rams assigned each player on the roster with a family and required them to read each individual's story prior to their light workout and walkthrough on Saturday.

The players received a photo of the family member they were assigned to and were able to listen to personal heartfelt stories about these fallen heroes. As a token of their appreciation, the families received autographed helmets and footballs from the players and on Sunday, each player was able to wear various camouflage equipment like towels, gloves, hats and lapel pins and each had a decal on their helmet with the initials of the fallen service member they were assigned 

"We'll have the initials on the back of our helmets and it gives us something to play for," said Rams safety Cody Davis on Saturday. 

One of those players who was touched the most by the meeting was the 22-year-old Goff who had to take an introspective look into his own life when he was assigned the family of Israel Garcia, a service member who died in Afghanistan in 2008 at the age of 24, just two years older than Goff.

"It was really eye opening and special to meet the family," Goff said. "Most of the people here that lost family members were around my age. The situation I'm in, I'm thankful to be in it."

Garcia's family along with the 62 other families were honored underneath the famed archway of the Coliseum before the game, where they stood and waved to over 86,000 fans in attendance as they lit the Olympic torch overhead.

"We have a tradition where we light the torch before kickoff," Fisher told the families on Saturday. "You all are going to be lighting the torch tomorrow."

On hand, was the oldest living member of the original Los Angeles Rams team, Jim Hardy, who sat down for an exclusive interview with NBC LA before the season, is a USC alumnus and played quarterback for the Rams from 1946 to 1948. He also served in the military during World War II onboard the USS Maryland battleship.

The game ended in a 13-10 loss for the Rams, as Cam Newton and the Panthers were victorious in their first ever game at the LA Coliseum. By virtue of the score, the NFL donated $23,000 to their Salute to Service program as they donate $1,000 for every point scored for each of the 32 games selected this season.

Despite the Rams loss, the weekend was something that these family members will never forget. Nothing can ever take away from the death of their loved ones, but for a brief moment on a sunny SoCal day at the LA Coliseum, they got to remember their fallen heroes in a very special way.

]]>
<![CDATA[Panthers Beat Rams 13-10, Fans Want Goff]]>Sun, 06 Nov 2016 17:33:09 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Rams-vs-Panthers-11-6-16.jpg

The Los Angeles Rams lost their fourth game in a row and fell to 3-5 on the 2016 NFL season in morbid excuse for a sunny Sunday afternoon in Los Angeles.

Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers did not entirely convince with their play, but the visitors managed to score 13 points, which was more than Case Keenum and the Rams' offense could manage in 60 minutes, i.e. the Rams lost the game 13-10.

The official count of tickets distributed was 86,109, and the segment of those fans supporting the Rams at the LA Coliseum did so by extending the Halloween greetings a week into November—booing at every opportunity.

Describing the Rams' offense as anemic would be paying it a compliment. On Sunday, the Rams' offense was awful. Even kicker Greg Zuerlein, who is usually the reliable insurance policy when the team runs out of gas in the red zone, missed two field goal in the first half.

And fans at the Los Angeles Coliseum vocalized their anger by not only jeering their team but also chanting "We Want Goff," a call for the Rams' rookie quarterback, Jared Goff. Goff has yet to play in an NFL game, but the team's decision to trade up and draft the quarterback out of the University of California at Berkeley with the no. 1 overall pick made the yellow and gold crowd wonder why Goff had not come into the game.

When Keenum threw an interception late in the third quarter, the groans grew louder. Through three quarters, the Rams had not scored a single point, and the Panthers took that Keenum interception and and scored a field goal to extend their lead to 10 points.

A restless Rams' crowd finally saw some hope when Keenum put together a 10-play, 68-yard drive that stalled on Carolina's 7-yard line. Keenum threw a bullet pass that hit wide receiver Lance Kendricks in the chest, but the receiver could not hold on. The drop cost the Rams a touchdown.

With 8:06 showing on the game clock, Zuerlein converted a field goal to finally give the Rams their first points of the day. Thanks to a stingy defense led by All-Pro Aaron Donald, who had two sacks on the day, the Rams only trailed by one score at that stage.

However, the Panthers went down the field and put up three more points to reestablish a 10-point lead with 3:44 remaining in the game. By that point, the crowd at the Coliseum had begun to shuffle out.

With the defeat all but guaranteed, Keenum led the Rams down the field and scored a touchdown with 34 second remaining. The ensuing onside kick was recovered by Carolina, and the Panthers took a knee to claim victory.

Next, the Rams travel to New York to face the New York Jets on Nov. 13.

Check back for updates



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[LA Rams' Aaron Donald Despises Losing]]>Fri, 28 Oct 2016 12:41:51 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/LA-Rams-Aaron-Donald-10-28-16.jpg

Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald is a superstar in the NFL and considered, arguably, the best defensive player in the league.

After entering the NFL in 2014, Donald won the Defensive Rookie of the Year award and made the Pro-Bowl in 2014. In 2015, he returned to the Pro Bowl and made First-Team All-Pro. On the NFL field, Donald is an absolute superstar.

In Los Angeles, Donald is a newcomer yet to even hit the Southern California beaches. His family, apparently, went without him while he was at work.

"The weather," Donald still smiles when asked why he loves most about LA. "You can't get mad at this weather."

As it happened, LA offered a rather gloomy day on Thursday, when Donald carved out time to meet with NBCLA.com. On his off day in a bye week, the 25-year-old appeared at the Microsoft Store in Century City to take park in the Xbox NFL Player Charity Challenge, which is a Madden NFL 17 tournament where the winner gets $51,000 for his charity. Donald, who was playing for the Make-a-Wish Foundation, found a moment to talk about life on the field, off the field and his video gaming experience.

Starting with his family, Donald explains that the move to LA was initially tough.

"Living somewhere for two years and then up and moving your family and getting everything situated in a whole different city, a different state," Donald trails off as he thinks about the headaches the move caused. "But it's smooth once you get out here and get yourself situated. Everything is like everything else, at the end of the day, you're still playing football."

Seemingly, football is Donald's reference point. In speaking with the 6-foot, 284-pound tackle, one cannot help but appreciate his soft, smiling demeanor. Donald is a friendly man but keeps a low profile off the field. When asked what he does in his free time, Donald talks about his family because he misses spending time with them when he's working.

"The off days, I usually just sit back and relax with the family," Donald says he spends so much time working that he just wants to smother his family when he gets his off days. To call Donald a workaholic would not be a stretch. The level at which he excels is no accident, as the Pittsburgh native is notorious for studying film and staying late after practices.

"I just put the body of work in," Donald humbly responds when asked to explain the secret to his success. "I'm always doing something to try and improve my game, whether it's watching film or doing some extra work, doing something to keep me playing at a high level. It's a long season."

Donald adds, "When you're playing a game, it's is like taking a test. You got to watch film and study just like you go to study you book work. Just studying and knowing what to expect come game time."

With a depleted defensive line earlier in the season, Donald consistently saw double teams that possibly even bordered on triple-teams because of his ability to disrupt opposing offenses like few other NFL players.

"It's expected," Donald says about the extra attention on the field. "I guess when you get respected in this league, they try find ways to eliminate you out of the game. My job is just to find a way to keep playing at a high level and make a play no matter what. Also, it gives other guys on the [defensive line] opportunities to get one-on-ones and wins, so that's all that matter."

Always quick to build up his teammates, Donald adds, "The type of defense we got, we got a lot of playmakers that can make a lot of big time plays, and that's what we expect from them."

Along with his undeniable work ethic, Donald makes it clear that his desire to win plays a major role in his success. Occasionally, that competitive fire has pushed Donald and hurt his pocket book. Donald got ejected from the first game of the season, when his team was losing 21-0, and drew a $21,269 fine. A few weeks later, he rushed the Detroit Lions' kneel down at the end of a painful 31-28 defeat in Detroit. Donald earned a $18,231 fine on that occasion.

"Nobody likes to lose," Donald attempts to explain the incidents, one of which saw him take his helmet off and emphatically smash it on the ground on Monday Night Football in front of a national audience.

"And sometimes, it gets a little out of hand," Donald adds with a slightly embarrassed yet unapologetic smile. "That's just the competitor in me."

He tells a story about one time his older brother whooped him at the Madden video game and mixed in some healthy trash talk. The younger Donald, who obviously does not always take losing gracefully, tried to fight his older brother. As the vast majority of younger siblings can relate, fighting an older brother is a generally not a good idea.

"I tried to fight him and got my butt beat," Donald laughs. "Nobody likes to lose."

No fights were necessary on this Thursday, though, as Donald beat up on Tannehill with a convincing 44-19 victory and moved into the next round of the charity tournament.

"I'm always competitive," Donald says softly. "Anytime you got an opportunity to win, I'm going to be super competitive."

Donald and the LA Rams' next opportunity to win arrives on Nov. 6 at home against the Carolina Panthers.



Photo Credit: Microsoft/John Metcalf]]>
<![CDATA[Keenum, Rams Lose to Giants 17-10]]>Sun, 23 Oct 2016 10:05:53 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Rams-lose-to-Giants-in-London.jpg

At Twickenham Stadium in London, the New York Giants came from behind to beat the Los Angeles Rams 17-10 on Sunday.

LA started the game strong and took an early 7-0 lead, when Tavon Austin caught a 10-yard pass from quarterback Case Keenum. By the end of the first quarter, LA led 10-0 and looked on its way to a much-needed bounce back victory after losing two close games in a row.

Instead, Keenum's pass hit off Austin's hands and found the comfortable mitts of Giants safety Landon Collins. Collins put together a special run that deceived the Rams' offense with a couple change of direction moves and claimed a 44-yard return for a touchdown. With Robbie Gould converting a field goal earlier, Collins leveled the score at 10-10, which is where it would stay at halftime.

Gould had only recently joined the Giants following a domestic violence controversy with kicker Josh Brown, who had been put on paid leave by the NFL.

After a back and forth third quarter, the fourth quarter featured fireworks and, more accurately, the Rams going down in flames. Keenum started the quarter with another pass that was tipped up into the air by Austin and found Collins' hands. This time, the quarterback was at fault but Austin managed to tackle the Giants' defender.

Six plays later, the Giants were celebrating in the end zone, when Rashad Jennings ran in for a one-yard touchdown.

On the next possession, Keenum threw another interception. This time, the Rams had put together an 11-play drive that concluded with an interception in the Giants' end zone.

After a tough defensive stand by LA, the Rams' offense got the ball back again. Another 11 plays brought LA to New York's 15-yard line with 50 seconds showing on the game clock. Keenum appeared to call an audible at the line to pick up a blitz, but due to miscommunication, Keenum's floated ball to the end zone was easily picked off by Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.

One kneel-down later, the Rams had lost three in a row and finished the day with a 3-4 record. The Giants, meanwhile, improved to 4-3.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Lions Roar Past Rams 31-28]]>Sun, 16 Oct 2016 13:56:46 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Rams-lose-to-Lions-10-16-16.jpg

DETROIT (AP) — Matt Prater made a tiebreaking, 34-yard field goal with 1:29 left and Rafael Bush followed with a victory-sealing interception two plays later, giving the Detroit Lions a 31-28 win over the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday.

The Lions (3-3) have won two straight games with Prater making the winning kick and a defensive back following up with an interception on the ensuing possession. Last week, Prater's kick and Darius Slay's interception gave Detroit a win over previously unbeaten Philadelphia.

The Rams (3-3) have lost two straight.

Case Keenum completed a Rams-record 20 straight passes, but couldn't connect with Lance Kendricks on the long throw that Bush stepped in front of near midfield. Keenum finished 27 of 32 for 321 yards with three touchdowns — two to Kenny Britt, one to Kendricks — and an interception.

Britt had season highs with seven receptions and 136 yards, 47 of which came on a highlight-reel catch.

Todd Gurley gained 15 yards on his first carry, but finished with just 58 yards on 14 rushes. He did have four receptions for 49 yards.

Detroit's Matthew Stafford was 23 of 31 for 270 yards, with a season-high four interceptions.

Golden Tate had eight receptions for a career-high 165 yards and a touchdown. Marvin Jones, Anquan Boldin and Andre Roberts also caught TDs for the Lions.

 

CATCH OF THE DAY

Britt's best game of the season included quite a catch. Keenum lofted a 47-yard pass over Britt's left shoulder which the receiver corralled with his right arm. The ball was jarred loose when Britt hit the turf, he squeezed it between his legs, lost it again and pinned the ball against his shoulder pads on a play that stood after review.

 

TAKING ADVANTAGE

Zach Zenner made the most of an opportunity to play with Theo Riddick and Dwayne Washington out with injuries. The second-year pro had career highs with 14 carries and 58 yards rushing, and caught two passes for 19 yards.

 

INJURY REPORT

Rams defensive tackle Michael Brockers aggravated his hip injury and defensive back Lamarcus Joyner left with a forearm injury. Detroit defensive end Ezekiel Ansah returned after missing three-plus games with an ankle injury, but he was replaced on the inactive list by defensive tackle Haloti Ngata (shoulder). Detroit linebacker DeAndre Levy (quadriceps, knee) and tight end Eric Ebron (ankle, knee) were also inactive.

 

UP NEXT

The Rams planned to fly to London after the game for the second leg of their road trip with a game against the Giants. The Lions will host Washington in their third straight home game.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Injury Riddled Rams Allow First 100-Yard Rusher of Season]]>Sun, 09 Oct 2016 18:57:01 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/199*120/Rams+Allow+100-yard+rusher.png

Will the real Slim Shady please stand up. 

LeSean "Shady" McCoy rushed for 150 yards (111 of which came in the first half), as the Los Angeles Rams allowed an opposing running back to gain over 100 yards on the ground for the first time this season. 

McCoy was unstoppable in the first half, breaking out a 53-yard run following a Todd Gurley fumble that set up the Bills second touchdown. Shady would continue to run rampant on the injury-riddled Rams defensive front as Buffalo went on to win the game, 30-19.

"Three of our four starting defensive linemen were watching the game today," Rams head coach Jeff Fisher said of the team's struggles to stop the run. "It was an unacceptable run defense. He's an outstanding back."

Defensive ends Robert Quinn and William Hayes were unable to suit up for the Mob Squad on Sunday and defensive tackle Michael Brockers also missed the game, leaving Aaron Donald the lone starter of arguably the best defensive front in the NFL this season.

"Aaron Donald is a heck of a player," McCoy said of the Rams sole starter up front. "He's always on the ball, always in the mix. He's extremely disruptive and gives offensive teams issues." 

Donald did the best he could, recording two tackles and half a sack, but he was sandwiched between two offensive linemen virtually all game and could have used the help of his best soldiers in the trenches.

"It's gonna hurt you, but I think we just played sloppy today," Donald said of having to play without his three starters up front on defense. "We just need to watch the film and fix it."

Sure, there's things any defense can fix, but McCoy is not your usual running back, and Shady can make any team look sloppy. The hard-nosed, up-the-gut, ball carrier recorded his 28th 100-yard game of his career and second of the season. 

"They really blocked well for me today," McCoy said. "There were some plays that I missed, but overall, our front blocked for sure. A win is a win. We got a W against a good team."

In total, the Bills stampeded over the Rams to the tune of 194 total yards on the ground and buried the NFC West leaders with a 24-yard run by McCoy with 2:55 left in the game and the Rams trailing by four.

Two plays later, Tyrod Taylor found Marquise Goodwin sitting down in the end zone for a six-yard score. 

"LeSean played well," Taylor said of his star running back. "The guys in the front have been blocking and creating holes for LeSean to go out there and do the things that he's been doing. He's definitely played with an extra 'gear' to his game." 

Meanwhile, Gurley failed to reach 100 yards for the fifth consecutive game, finishing with 72 yards on 23 carries. He also caught three passes for 36 yards as the Rams try and use their best player in the passing game more frequently.

Gurley scored the first touchdown by the Rams at the L.A. Coliseum since 1979 when he scampered up the middle for a one-yard score with 6:35 remaining in the second quarter. It was the Rams lone touchdown and the only silver lining in the game. 

The Rams will travel to Detroit to square off with the Lions next Sunday before heading on an international flight to London where they will host the New York Giants at Twickenham Stadium.



Photo Credit: Harry How/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[LA Rams Run Over By Bills 30-19]]>Sun, 09 Oct 2016 23:10:57 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Rams-vs-Bills.jpg

The Los Angeles Rams lost at the LA Coliseum for the first time in 22 years, as the Buffalo Bills claimed a 30-19 victory on a sunny Sunday in LA.

In the first quarter, the Rams received the ball first and got off to a positive drive that appeared headed for the team's first touchdown at the LA Coliseum since 1994. However, that honor would need to wait, as the home team settled for an all too familiar sight—Greg Zuerlein converting a field goal.

Buffalo responded with a running attack riding running back LeSean McCoy and focused on the athleticism of quarterback Tyrod Taylor. Facing 3rd and 19 on the Bills' opening drive, Taylor ran for 22 yards for the first down and put the Rams on notice.

Later in the same drive, Taylor used his scrambling skills to find enough space and time to find Justin Hunter open at the back of the end zone. Thus, the Bills took the early 7-3 lead and did not take long to double their output.

Rams running back Todd Gurley fumbled as time expired in the first quarter, and the Bills made the Rams pay for the error. Assisted by a 53-yard run by McCoy, the Bills scored their second touchdown of the day with a direct snap to Mike Gillislee. McCoy would rush for 111 yards in the first half, alone and finish with 150 rushing yards on the day.

Officially, 83,678 tickets had been distributed for the game, and thankfully for fans of the home team, LA responded by converting on a field goal on its next possessions. Trailing 13-6, the Rams' defense came up with a big stop and gave LA's offense the opportunity to keep the game competitive.

Shortly thereafter, Gurley made amends for his earlier fumble by claiming the honor of scoring the LA Rams' first touchdown at the LA Coliseum since 1994. With the running back's one-yard scoring run, the Rams' tied the score at 13-13 with about two minutes remaining in the first half.

"He's our back of the future, so I guess it's only appropriate that he got the ball into the end zone there," Rams coach Jeff Fisher said when reminded that Gurley had broken the 22-year Rams' touchdown drought in LA.

However, the Bills scored a field goal to take a 16-13 lead just shy of the halftime intermission.

In the second half, the Rams again relied of Zuerlein's strong leg, as the kicker converted a monstrous 54-yard field goal to level the score about midway through the third quarter. Unfortunately for LA, quarterback Case Keenum made an awful throw that resulted in an interception that was returned 41 yards for a touchdown.

LA trailed 23-16 entering the fourth quarter, and that score stuck until Zuerlein hit a 22-yard field goal with 5:55 remaining in the ball game, a decision fans at the LA Coliseum did not appreciate. LA was on Buffalo's 4-yard line, and the Rams wanted the team to go for a touchdown on fourth down.

The Rams' defense, though, came up with a big stop and gave the offense the ball back. After a lackluster offensive series, the Rams faked a punt deep in their own territory. Buffalo sniffed out the attempt and took over on downs. Three plays later, the Bills scored and took a convincing 30-19 lead that sent the majority of the fans heading for the exits.

The Rams dropped to 3-2 with the defeat, while the Bills improved to 3-2 with the victory.

Notes: (LA Rams) Keenum threw for 271 yard with no touchdowns and two interceptions. Gurley rushed for 72 yards on 23 carries, with an average of 3.1 yards per carry, and one touchdown. Kenny Britt led the way with 75 receiving yards on five catches, while Tavon Austin led the team with seven receptions, which yielded 59 yards. (Buffalo Bills) Taylor threw for only 124 yards but managed two touchdowns and no interceptions. McCoy rushed for 150 yards on 18 carries, an average of 8.3 yards per carry. Charles Clay led the team with five receptions and 73 receiving yards. 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[LA Rams Win in Arizona 17-13]]>Sun, 02 Oct 2016 16:54:45 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/212*120/Rams-Beat-Cardinals-10-2-16.jpg

On Sunday, the Los Angeles Rams claimed a gritty 17-13 victory in Arizona over the Cardinals to record their third straight win and move to 3-1 on the season and keep pace with the Seattle Seahawks, who the Rams beat earlier in the season.

Rams wide receiver Brian Quick played hero for the day, as the 27-year-old scored the opening touchdown of the contest only 2:11 into the game, before grabbing the game-winning touchdown with only 2:36 remaining on the clock. Quick only had two receptions on the day, but the former Appalachian State Mountaineer made the most of his completions.

The Rams continued to rely heavily on their defense for the third straight week, and LA claimed three interceptions on the day, to go along with three sacks. In addition, the defensive line, which is nicknamed the "Mob Squad," pressed Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer throughout the day until the former USC quarterback left the game due to a suspected concussion. LA's defense also forced two fumbled on the day.

In the head-to-head matchup of quarterbacks, Case Keenum threw for 266 yards and two touchdowns, with no intercepions, compared to Palmer's 288 yards with one interception and one pick. Limiting mistakes at the quarterback position is the motto for the Rams, so coach Jeff Fisher had to be pleased with Keenum's performance.

Rams' All-Pro running back Todd Gurley continued to struggle for the fourth week in a row, as the 2015 Offensive Rookie of the Year finished with only 33 yards on 19 carries. Gurley did catch five balls for 48 yards, so the Rams managed to use their halfback despite the defense putting extra men in the box.

After Palmer went down with the suspected concussion, Cardinals backup quarterback Drew Stanton stepped in to try and mount a comeback but managed to only complete four of 11 attempts with two interceptions mixed in.

Next, the Rams return to the LA Coliseum to face the Buffalo Bills on Oct. 9.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[LA Rams Beat Tampa Bay Bucs 37-32 in Shootout]]>Sun, 25 Sep 2016 17:42:59 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Todd-Gurley-Rams-vs-Bucs.jpg

When quarterback Case Keenum found wide-receiver Brian Quick for a 44-yard pass in the first quarter, the Los Angeles Rams ended a 22-year drought and scored the team's first touchdown since Dec. 24, 1994.

Yes, the LA Rams finally scored a touchdown, but more importantly, they beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and collected an important road victory to improve to 2-1 on the season.

In an exciting contest, Jameis Winston and the Buccaneers played their part in a back-and-forth game that was probably best categorized by the Rams' second possession, as much as it was defined by Keenum's 44-yard bomb on the opening drive.

Attempting to force a ball to Tavon Austin, Keenum threw an interception that was immediately returned for a touchdown.

By the time time ran out on the game clock, LA had scored four touchdowns, including one by the defense. Just as Keenum made history on his opening drive, he also made history with the interception for a touchdown, which was the first time that had happened to the LA Rams since Nov. 27, 1994.

After Gregg Zuerlain hit a field goal, Winston and the Buccaneers responded by putting together a 75-yard drive to take the lead. Then, the home team added to its points off turnovers after Rams wide-receiver Kenny Britt coughed up the football early in the second quarter. Winston led another impressive drive for a touchdown that gave the Buccaneers a 20-10 lead.

That score should have held for the half, but Tampa Bay threw an interception and set up the Rams on Tampa Bay's 22-yard line just shy of the two-minute warning. LA would hand the ball off to Todd Gurley III, and the talented running back scored his first touchdown of the season to bring LA within three points at the intermission.

The second half started with a series of punts before the game continued being anything but ordinary. Buccaneers kicker Roberto Aguayo missed a 41-yard field goal attempt, after having missed an extra point earlier in the game. Seemingly, the miss spurred the Rams forward, and the ensuing drive finished with Gurley claiming his second touchdown of the day.

As the game rounded into the fourth quarter, the Rams' defense got into the scoring act, too. Defensive-end Robert Quinn stripped Winston and defensive tackle Ethan Westbrooks picked up the football and ran it in for a touchdown and gave LA a 31-20 lead early in the fourth quarter.

However, Winston and the Buccaneers simply refused to go gently. Less than three minutes later, the Bucs had scored anothe touchdown, as Winston found tight-end Cameron Brate for the score. Tampa tried for a two-point conversion and failed, so the score stuck at 31-26.

Thankfully for the visitors, they did not close the playbook and focus on simply running the clock out. Instead, Keenum found speedy receiver Tavor Austin, who did a quick move and waltzed in for a 43-yard touchdown. LA attempted a two-point conversion and also failed, but the scoreboard read 37-26 with 4:38 remaining in the game.

While fans around LA began prematurely celebrating, Winston and Tampa Bay responded with yet another touchdown to draw the home team within five points. Again, the Buccaneers went for two-points and, again, the Buccaneers failed to commandeer any points.

If Tampa Bay had only hit the extra point after every touchdown and also hit the missed field goal, the home team would have been ahead.

Instead, the Rams got the ball back leading 37-32 with 2:23 remaining in the game, and Austin made a poor decision to return the kickoff to only the six-yard line. Backed up deep into their own end of the field and facing 3rd and long, a lightning storm forced a stoppage at the two-minute warning.

After about 70 minutes of waiting for the weather to approve, the Rams and Bucs finally got back onto the field for two vital minutes of football. Predictably, the Rams did not get the first down and had to punt.

So, Winston and the Buccaneers started in good field position at their own 45-yard line with 1:42 to play in the game. Immediately, Winston found Vincent Jackson for a 16-yard gain into Rams' territory. From there, Winston led the Bucs to the 20-yard line.

However, poor clock management and dropped balls led to Tampa Bay running out of time. As Winston was pummelled on the final play, the Rams jumped in celebration as the final score read "37-32."

LA improved to 2-1 on the season and is now tied for first place in the NFC West with the Seattle Seahawks.

Notes: (LA) Keenum threw for 190 yards with two touchdowns and one interception on 14/26 passing. Gurley rushed for 85 yards and two touchdowns on 27 carries. Austin led the team with five receptions for 82 yards and one touchdown. (TB) Winston threw for 405 yards with three touchdowns and one interception on 36/58 passing. Charles Sims rushed for 55 yards and one touchdown on 13 carries. Mike Evans led the team with 10 receptions for 132 yards and one touchdown. 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[LA Rams Wrap Up Practice Week, Take-off For Tampa]]>Fri, 23 Sep 2016 18:37:22 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Rams-vs-Buccaneers-practice-9-23-16.jpg

THOUSAND OAKS, CA – Following Friday's practice, Todd Gurley rolled his eyes and laughed, "I don't know. You tell me."

The question was about whether defenses had been setting up a little differently this season to limit the running back to 91 rushing yards in two games. In his rookie season, rushed for over 100 yards in five of the 13 games he played, so the answer is pretty apparent.

"It be crazy [sic]," Gurley said when asked about what he sees facing him when he's in the backfield. "I be like [sic], 'Man, there's 12 people on the field.' There's [sic] definitely a lot of people, but it is what it is. Sometimes, it's a good thing because if you get past that first level, then you're gone. But you go to get past that first level first."

Against Tampa Bay during the 2015 season, Gurley only averaged 2.3 yards per carry and finished with 48 yards, which is just about his season average thus far. In terms of giving up rushing yards, the Buccs rank in the top 10 in the NFL. As such, a breakout game may be a tough proposition for the 22-year-old.

Gurley added, "We know what they're going to do."

The Rams' defense is still the strong point on the team, and defensive coordination Gregg Williams did not shy away from showering Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston with praise.

"I have a lot of respect for Jameis, especially after we played him last year – we had a lot of contact on him last year," Williams said on Friday.

Williams continued, "He's a legitimate tough guy in our league. He took a lot of contact in our game (last year) and he kept on going. Even last week, (Buccaneers Head Coach) Dirk (Koetter) was answering a question about why he had him in in the end of a game–because Jameis wanted to play. The good players want to do that all the time, that's why Russell played last week. Good players want to play. I have a lot of respect for him. He's fearless on how he goes about the approach of playing that position."

The Rams managed to beat the Seattle Seahawks despite failing to score a touchdown, and seemingly, the offense appreciates the effort.

"It's always inspiring," Gurley said of his defense. "You kind of get out there, and you're just playing for them because they're always on the field, and you're just like, 'C'mon man, these guys are doing a great job for us, and we need to do a great job for them.' It's all about the team coming together."

Head Coach Jeff Fisher also appeared to be happy with the team's practices. After practicing on Tuesday and Wednesday, the team took Thursday off before wrapping up the practice week on Friday.

"We healed up," Fisher said on Friday. "It was good to see the guys on the field. Yesterday's day off was good, great. A lot of energy today. Now we're going to deal with the travel. They understand what it takes to get ready for Sunday – we're in a good place."

On Sunday, the Rams will face Jameis Winston and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at 1:05 p.m. Pacific Time.

Notes: Tampa Bay reportedly cut tight-end Austin Seferian-Jenkins following an arrest for a suspected DUI on Friday. Fisher commented on the incident and pointed out how it hurt Tampa Bay. The Buccaneers are down to two tight-ends on Sunday, so Fisher said the news did have an effect on the Rams from a defensive standpoint. Also, the Rams announced that the team had waived cornerback Steve Williams and promoted defensive back Isaiah Johnson from the practice squad.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Eric Dickerson: "I Want the Old Jerseys Back!"]]>Tue, 20 Sep 2016 13:42:47 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/Rams-fans-vs-Seahawks-9-18-16-7.JPG

How about let's meet half way?

The road games can feature the duller, darker blue, but the Los Angeles Rams should only wear their iconic bright blue and yellow throwbacks at home. How does that sound? If the Rams are at the Los Angeles Coliseum, they should be wearing their Los Angeles colors. With complete respect to the franchise's often glorious years in St. Louis, the colors and jerseys for the old Los Angeles Rams simply look better.

"Of course I want the old jerseys back," former Los Angeles Rams running back Eric Dickerson tells NBCLA.com in the dripping heat of downtown Los Angeles. "I want that color back."

Few people have been as popular with the Rams returning to LA than Dickerson, and if anyone has his finger on the pulse of the flock of Rams, it would be the first-ballot Class of 1999 Hall of Fame running back.

Dickerson adds, "That color is synonymous with LA. The one they wore in St. Louis, that's St. Louis. They took that color back for a while, but they changed the color. So come back and bring our color back that we played under in LA."

The Rams wore their retro jerseys for the first home game of the season to great fanfare, and the 53-year-old seemed to welcome that initial concession. But would he welcome throwback jerseys more often this season?

"Most definitely, every week!" Dickerson says emphatically. "I think all the fans would. When you go on social media, that's the main thing the people ask about: 'Are they going to go back to their old colors?'"

When NBC LA caught up with Dickerson, he had been signing autographs and posing for pictures at the Bud Light Fan Zone in promotion of a special edition Rams brew due out in November. Judging by his popularity ahead of Sunday's kickoff, yes, Dickerson has his ear on the heart of the "Mob Squad," which is the name adopted by the Rams' faithful.

"I love the throwbacks, I really do," Rams quarterback Case Keenum said following the team's 9-3 victory over Seattle. "Everybody in the locker rooms loves the throwbacks. Something about that blue and yellow that go together and it was cool."

Earlier in the week, Rams coach Jeff Fisher had echoed the same sentiment, so the players and coaches appear to appreciate the Los Angeles colors for the team.

If the former players and the current players seem to support the return to the bright blue and yellow, how about the fans?

In one of the most non-scientific polls of all time, I used my own eyes on Sunday and looked around a Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum that supposedly packed in 91,046 people—or pretty close to it. The vast majority of fans had already adopted the throwback uniforms—even the Red Hot Chili Peppers performed wearing the throwback uniforms. More often than not, when I thought I caught a St. Louis jersey, it turned out to be a Seahawks jersey.

LA Rams fans stand side-by-side in a jersey featuring the St. Louis colors and the Los Angeles colors

Seemingly, the fans have already decided. Visually, too, the throwback jersey versus the St. Louis jersey in a side-by-side comparison simply wasn't a contest. The LA colors put the St. Louis colors to shame. The fans had spoken.

Now, the team needs to follow suit. Work it out with the NFL or take the fine, but either way, this should be an easy fix to give the players and, most imporantly, the fans what they want. In LA, the Rams should wear their Los Angeles colors.

"Being a fan is a great thing," Dickerson says. "That's what makes this sport, any sport, is the fans."

So, Rams, how about we meet half way?



Photo Credit: Shahan Ahmed]]>
<![CDATA[LA Fans Provide Home Field Advantage For Rams]]>Tue, 20 Sep 2016 03:06:49 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/179*120/Rams-Fans-Flag.JPG

"Patience is bitter, but it's fruit is sweet." – Aristotle

It took 22 years of waiting, but football has finally returned to Los Angeles.

91,000 fans packed themselves into the rusted seats of the concrete Mecca known as the LA Coliseum on Sunday to witness the rebirth of the Rams.

For the most part, it was a rousing success: the crowded concession stands sang, the beer floweth over and the Rams were victorious, 9-3, in the first regular season NFL game held within this sports cathedral in over two decades.

"Great crowd. A lot of people. It was cool to play here," said opposing quarterback, Russell Wilson. "It's exciting for them and exciting for the NFL in general."

They all came to see the return of the NFL to the City of Angels, and although they did not witness a touchdown, they roared like lions all game, staying til the clock reached zero and the final whistle blew. 

They absorbed the excruciating heat and summoned the strength of the generation of sports fans who came before them to create a home field advantage previously known only in history books and archive footage of NFL Films. 

"They were great, it was great the whole game! They were just outstanding. It has an impact, it really does," said LA Rams head coach Jeff Fisher of the home field advantage. "But it's nice to have that on our side now so that we can take advantage of our pass rush and all those things associated with the noise."

In the final drive of the game, 22 years of football frustration burst forth like a pent-up flood as fans rose to their feet, waved their hands, and screamed til their voices went dry. They forced the Seahawks into a backbreaking false start penalty and conjured a forced fumble by Alec Ogletree to seal Seattle's fate.

"We got them to go for a couple of false starts, it was loud in there, hard for them to hear," Ogletree said of the final drive. "As long as I've been a Ram, we've never had the crowd be like that. It was amazing."

Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, who also coached the USC Trojans inside the Coliseum, had only seen the historic stadium like that during the program's national championship runs in 2003 and 2004, but on Sunday, he knew the crowd affected his team.

"The noise was a factor," he said succinctly.

The Rams returned to LA like rock stars and it all began with a show befitting of the Hollywood backdrop. The Red Hot Chili Peppers kicked things off with a pregame concert donned in Rams jerseys that brought the house down.

CeeLo Green sang the national anthem draped in what certainly seemed to be a red mumu, and late night talk show host, James Corden, dressed in drag as he performed in the endzone with the Rams cheerleaders.

Magic Johnson and rapper Ice Cube supported from the stands as they watched NBA superstar LeBron James take in the game from the sidelines.

"I thought the production and everything associated with the game was incredible," Fisher said. "The anthem, I didn't get to enjoy the concert like you guys did, but there was some good stuff going on today"

It may have seemed over the top, even hinging on cliché, but it was us, it was Los Angeles, and sorry St. Louis, but this is our team now. It's our team again.

"I haven't ever experienced anything like that before," said defensive end William Hayes when asked about the difference between St. Louis and Sunday. "I can't sit up here and lie to you and say I thought it would be like that."

Neither could we.

Honestly, we fully expected the often-spoiled Southern California sports fans to spend half their time on their smartphones, and the other half watching the game.

Sure, we expected to see celebrities, but never did we think they'd stay for the entirety of the game.

Instead, celebrities and fans alike bucked the stereotype of leaving early to beat traffic. For the most part, the phones were put in pockets and the crowd understood what unfolded. There may have not been any touchdowns, but they knew the importance of crucial 3rd downs, they knew when to get loud, and when to settle down.

"The crowd was good. It was loud. I loved it," quarterback Case Keenum said after the game. "It was really, really cool. I made sure as I ran out of the tunnel to look around and savor that moment. I'm going to write it down because I want to remember it forever."

One fan in attendance who will remember that day forever is 93-year-old Jim Hardy, who was the Los Angeles Rams quarterback in 1946, the year they first moved from Cleveland to LA. He said back then, the city was a "football town" and that they always supported the Rams.

It's 70 years later and nothing has changed. I guess good things really do come to those that wait.



Photo Credit: Michael Duarte]]>
<![CDATA[Photos: On-Field View of Rams' Return to LA]]>Mon, 19 Sep 2016 16:19:10 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/179*120/Rams-Tunnel.JPGOn the field images you didn't see of the Los Angeles Rams triumphant return to Los Angeles as they defeated the Seattle Seahawks, 9-3, at the LA Coliseum in their NFL Home Opener on September, 18, 2016.

Photo Credit: Michael Duarte]]>
<![CDATA[Rams Return to LA Coliseum, Beat Seahawks]]>Mon, 19 Sep 2016 10:07:27 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/212*120/Rams-vs-Seahawks-9-18-16.jpg

In front of a massive crowd announced as 91,046 tickets distributed, the Los Angeles Rams lit the torch at the LA Memorial Coliseum and re-lit the fire of NFL football in the City of Angels.

Most importantly, the LA Rams beat the Seattle Seahawks, 9-3, and managed to claim their first win in over two decades on Sunday.

Following a pregame concert put on by the Red Hot Chili Peppers and a series of pregame theatrics, LA pushed aside the distractions and started the game strong. The home team took less than five minutes to best its offensive output from all 60 minutes in Week 1. The LA Rams scored their first points since 1994 when Greg Zuerlein converted a 39-yard field goal following an impressive opening drive that started on LA's 25-yard line and finished on Seattle's 21-yard line.

Seattle struggled to find its offensive footing in the first half, as the Rams' defense came up with stop after stop. The Seahawks would eventually level the score with a 23-yard field goal by Steven Hauschka early in the second quarter, but even those points seemed like a victory for the Rams' defense because Seattle had been facing first and goal at LA's four-yard line before coming away with only three points.

The Rams suffered from dropped passes and failed to open up Seattle's defense in the first half, but the home team did put up another three points via Zuerlein's 28-yard field goal late in the second quarter. Similar to Seattle, the Rams had been facing 1st and goal on Seattle's four-yard line, so those three points felt like a missed opportunity to record the LA Rams' first touchdown since 1994.

At the intermission, the Rams led the Seahawks 6-3, which accurately depicted the Rams' stuttering offense and LA's stocky defense.

The third quarter featured a battle of field position, but the Rams crept into field goal range at the conclusion of the period. Early in the fourth quarter, the Rams doubled their advantage, as Zuerlein hit another field goal and gave LA a 9-3 lead.

The Rams' defense continued to frustrate the Seahawks' offense late in the game. LA led the Seahawks 9-3 at the two-minute warning but gave the ball back to Russell Wilson and the Seahawks one last time.

Wilson immediately completed a 53-yard pass and suddenly put the Rams' defense under pressure with 1:33 showing on the game clock. Trailing by six points and on the 35-yard line, Seattle needed a touchdown to take the lead, which seemed all too simple.

Moments later, howeer, Wilson completed a pass that approached the first down marker, but LA Rams linebacker Alec Ogletree stripped the ball loose, and the Rams recovered the football with less than a minute remaining. That sealed the result, and Rams quarterback Case Keenum took a knee to end the contest.

On Sunday, the LA Rams claimed their first victory since 1994 in front of more than 91,000 fans at the LA Colisuem. Undoubtedly, the NFL is back in LA.

Quotes: "We had many opportunities. We have a lot of things that we have to correct, made some mistakes, but when it's said and done, we take the win. That's an outstanding football team, and they're always in it until the end." - Rams coach Jeff Fisher after the game.

"You know, I like touchdowns, but I love winning." - Rams quarterback Case Keenum after the game.

Notes: (Rams) Kenny Britt led the Rams with 94 receiving yards and six receptions. Case Keenum threw for 239 yards on 18/30, with no interceptions and no touchdowns. Todd Gurley rushed for 51 yards on 19 carries.
(Seahawks) Russell Wilson throw for 254 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions on 22/35. Christine Michael led Seattle with 10 carries for 60 yards, while Wilson only rushed for 14 yards on five carries. Wide Receiver Tyler Lockett finished with 99 yards, though 53 of those came on one long completion during Seattle's late charge.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Rams Tickets Skyrocket Ahead of Home Opener]]>Sun, 18 Sep 2016 11:27:26 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/201*120/LA+Rams+Coliseum.png

LOS ANGELES – Hours before the first LA Rams home game at the LA Memorial Coliseum since 1979, ticket prices in the secondary market are soaring. 

According to executives for search engine SeatGeek that finds tickets to live events, the average price for Sunday's home opener against the Seattle Seahawks is $245, the most expensive Rams ticket ever on the secondary market since 2010.

For comparison, the most expensive ticket to any game ever played by the St. Louis Rams, who called Edward Jones Stadium their home, was $139 (average price) for a game against the Chicago Bears on November 24, 2013. 

If you're unable to afford tickets to the Rams highly anticipated home opener, which also highlights the return to the Coliseum of Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll who coached the USC Trojans to two National Championships during his tenure, then tickets for the remaining six home games are much lower.

At an average price of $192 for the rest of the 2016 season, the cheapest Rams tickets should be available for under $60 according to secondary sites like StubHub and TicketMaster.

The St. Louis Rams ranked last or second to last since 2010 in average ticket prices across the NFL, but now that they are in Tinseltown, Rams tickets are the 11th hottest ticket across all NFL teams and stadiums.

The New England Patriots lead the NFL with an average ticket price of $341 followed by the Seattle Seahawks ($323) and Green Bay Packers ($309).

The Rams kickoff against the Seahawks at 1:00PM PST at the LA Coliseum for the first time since 1979 when they left downtown LA for Anaheim. Fans are encouraged to arrive early before the game in order to beat traffic and catch a pregame concert by the Red Hot Chili Peppers.



Photo Credit: Stephen Dunn/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[NFL Football Back in LA: Rams Vs. Seahawks]]>Sat, 17 Sep 2016 23:51:50 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Rams-vs-Seahawks-Case-Keenum-2016.jpg

Approaching 90 degrees at kickoff, the Los Angeles Rams will play at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum against former USC football coach Pete Carroll and the Seattle Seahawks with a 1:05 p.m. Pacific Time kickoff scheduled.

The NFL returns to LA on Sunday, as the Rams play a home game in the City of Angels for the first time in 22 years. The Rams will look to get back on track following a slow start, and the Seahawks present an opponent the Rams beat twice a season ago.

Before the game, though, the LA Coliseum will be buzzing with life and activities.

Tailgating Parties

First of all, the USC Campus and its parking facilities are no-tailgating zones. Designated lots permit tailgating in designated parking spaces. A small canopy no larger than 10' by 10' can be placed in front of or beind each vehicle in the designated tailgating areas.

The Rams Fan Fest on Christmas Tree Lane in Expo Park will open five hours prior to kickoff. Also, a Bud Light Tailgate is taking place on Christmas Tree Lane on the East side of the Coliseum, where a giant 8-foot cup will be collecting signatures from Rams' legends and fans. A special "Rams Homecoming Brew" will be presented at the event, and fans of beer and LA's football team can purchase the special brew around town in early November.

Vivid Seats has a special tailgate party that opens three hours prior to kickoff, which is the same time the Corona Extra Beach House opens for tailgating at Gate 1.

Honoring Legends

Also, the Rams will honor local Olympians of past and present, including sprinter Michael Johnson and diver Greg Louganis. These Olympians are working to bring the Olympics back to Los Angeles in 2024, which would be the 40-year anniversary of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics.

The team will also honor Hall of Fame greats of the franchise--namely Eric Dickerson, Marshall Fault, Tom Mack, Orlando Pace, Jackie Slater and Jack Youngblood. The group of Hall of Famers will light the torch in the stadium following the coin toss to begin a new tradition and mark a new era of NFL football in Southern California.

Pace will also be presented with his Hall of Fame Ring of Excellence at halftime, as the seven-time Pro Bowl offensive tackle only recently joined the Hall of Fame.

Concerts and National Anthem

About 30 minutes prior to kick-off, Los Angeles rock band Red Hot Chilli Peppers will put on a special performance, and the team advises fans to grab their seats by 12:35 p.m. Pacific Time.

Grammy-award winning singer and former cast member on NBC's "The Voice" Cee Lo Green will sing the national anthem prior to kickoff.

Retro Jerseys

As a final note, the Rams will wear their throwback uniforms with the brighter blue and gold colors. Looking around the city, one has to imagine that the team sells more throwback retro jerseys and a change back to the old colors is in the works down the line.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Jared Goff Named Backup QB for LA Rams]]>Fri, 16 Sep 2016 16:19:58 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/210*120/Rams+lose+preseason+finale.png

One week after he stood on the sidelines in street clothes, Jared Goff will be in uniform for the Los Angeles Rams home opener on Sunday at the LA Memorial Coliseum.

Head Coach Jeff Fisher made the announcement after practice on Friday when he simply held up two fingers to tell reporters that Goff would be the backup quarterback behind Case Keenum when the team plays their first game at the Coliseum against the Seattle Seahawks.

"He's gonna be two," Fisher told reporters. "I talked to you guys about potentially alternating it and we're going to do it that way. Jared's really excited about it. It's exciting for me knowing that he's just a snap away from entering the game."

Goff was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, but after some early growing pains in training camp and the preseason, he was made inactive for the team's first game on Monday Night Football against the San Francisco 49ers.

Sean Mannion filled in as the backup in the Rams embarrassing, 28-0, shutout loss to Chip Kelly's Niners, and now it's likely his turn to be in street clothes come Sunday. 

"I haven't been told yet," Mannion said of the news after practice, although he admitted it was expected. "All I can do is support Case [Keenum], support Jared [Goff] and wait for my opportunity."

Goff told the media at his locker after practice that he knew earlier in the week that he would likely be named the backup and he reiterated Fisher's plan to possibly alternate backup quarters throughout the season.

"They told me earlier in the week and I've been preparing the same way I have been the last two weeks," Goff said. "They do a good job of throwing me in there every once in a while. It's been good. I'm gonna support Case, but obviously anything can happen." 

However, with the Rams looking like a lower tier team as far as the NFL's elite is concerned, Goff needs to be active and able to play in the event that the Rams find themselves at the losing end of a blowout late in the game.

Fans in Los Angeles are clamoring for Goff to see the field, especially after his starring role in HBO's "Hard Knocks," this summer. If Keenum performs poorly in Week 2, the chatter to see Goff may reach a fever pitch within the sacred confines of the Coliseum. 



Photo Credit: Hannah Foslien/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Rams Excited For Coliseum, Extend DT Brockers]]>Thu, 15 Sep 2016 17:57:19 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Michael-Brockers-practice-Rams.jpg

THOUSAND OAKS, Ca –On the campus of California Lutheran College, which is the Los Angeles Rams' headquarters until the stadium in Inglewood is complete, LA's football team went through a spirited practice to prepare for the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday.

"Man, they're a good football team, but we've had success against them and we have great respect for them," Rams coach Jeff Fisher said after practice, referencing the Rams beating the Seahawks in both meetings during the 2015 NFL season. "I'm pleased with where we are right now."

Sunday, though, is more than simply a game between two NFC West rivals. It's the return of NFL football to Los Angeles and the Rams' return to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum for the first time in over two decades.

"It's the first one that counts at the Coliseum—the first one that counts here at home, so it's special," Fisher said. "We couldn't think of a better opponent to open against. All the stuff with Pete (Carroll) and coming back to the Coliseum for the first time, and the little rivalry we've established here the last couple of years. It's special."

Carroll, who is currently coach of the Seahawks, coached at the University of Southern California and built a mini-dynasty during his tenure with the Trojans. On a conference call the previous day, Carroll shared his thoughts on returning to the site of his greatest college successes as a coach.

"It's going to be fun," Carroll said. "I've looked forward to it ever since the switch took place – we kind of all looked forward to playing those guys down there. It'll be fun to be back."

Beyond himself, Carroll also expressed his joy at the NFL's return to Los Angeles.

Carroll added, "I have looked forward to it, just because I know that it'll be so much fun for so many people. They've been waiting for the league to come back and the excitement of the NFL and all the great matchups that will happen in here during the coming years. I'm proud that we get to be the first ones that start this thing."

The Rams also made headlines on Thursday by extending defensive tackle Michael Brockers' contract by three years. The Rams drafted Brockers in 2012, and the giant plug in the middle of the defensive line is now set to stay with the team through the 2019 season.

"I'm really excited about that," Fisher said about the signing. "I appreciate (Rams owner) Stan (Kroenke) and his willingness to allow us to go and do that. We've been talking for quite some time about it, and it's important to keep our play makers and people that we drafted. And we got a good deal for both sides, and Michael is happy about it, and so are we."

Fisher added, "He's a big man inside, and you have to have that nowadays for two reasons: One, for your ability to stop the run inside; and two, to put pressure on the quarterback and collapse the pocket. So, he creates opportunities for everybody else and every so often, he makes a big play himself. He's been consistent."

In the locker room, Brockers wore a giant smile that matched his giant frame.

"It feels good to be wanted," the 25-year-old said. "I'm just glad it's done, it's finished and I can get that little thing out of my mind and actually focus on football."

Brockers added, "It feels to be good to be here where I started."

Of course, the team is intent on erasing the memory of the 28-0 thrashing to the San Francisco 49ers on opening night. With the home season opener drawing interest from far and wide, and even featuring a pregame performance from the Red Hot Chili Peppers, the players sounded determined to give LA a victory.

"This fan base, they want to see wins," Brockers said. "That's what they deserve, and that's what we're going to give them. I think last week was a fluke. It wasn't us. This week, we're more focused and we're coming out ready to play."

Notes: The Rams will wear their throwback uniforms for Sunday's opening game. Fisher commented, "The players love them. The players love the colors." Seemingly, the fans love those colors, too, so a return to the old uniforms on a permanent basis would seem like a smart move in the not-too-distant future.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Rams Return To Coliseum Features Red Hot Chili Peppers]]>Tue, 13 Sep 2016 23:49:11 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/AP_328942200445.jpg

On Sunday, the Los Angeles Rams will play their first home game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in over two decades, and an LA rock back that has dominated the airwaves for the past quarter century is fittingly due to welcome the Rams back to LA.

The Red Hot Chili Peppers will perform about 30 minutes prior to kickoff, which is set for 1 p.m. Pacific Time. Gates to the Coliseum will open at 11 a.m. local time.

The Chili Peppers are tied to the fabric of the City of Angels, as the band's biggest hit, "Under the Bridge," is a song that speaks to the loneliness associated with drug abuse and celebrates Los Angeles as an ever present comforting companion.

The band's lead singer Anthony Kiedis wrote the song, which was released in 1992 and brought the Red Hot Chili Peppers into the mainstream of music and pop culture. Since then, the band has gone on to reach worldwide fame and success.

Kiedis and bassist Flea are reputed LA Lakers' fans, who still turned up to watch the purple and gold regularly during the recent down years. Flea, who is a vocal LA sports fan on social media, even played the national anthem prior to Kobe Bryant's incredible 60-point final game at Staples Center.

"Since I was a little boy, I've taken joy in the beauty of the Rams," Flea said in a statement. "When I moved to Los Angeles in 1972, I was getting uprooted from my home and I thought, 'Well, where I'm going they've got the Rams. It's going to be all right.'"

For the Rams, who welcome all talk of their history in the Southern California city, the Red Hot Chili Peppers playing at the LA Memorial Coliseum fits perfectly. Fans and the team alike will hope that the Rams will score their first points of the season and pull out a win on Sunday, so the Chili Peppers will not be the only highlight of the momentous occasion.



Photo Credit: Rich Fury/Invision/AP]]>
<![CDATA[LA Rams Head Coach Jeff Fisher: "We Have to Move On"]]>Tue, 13 Sep 2016 23:30:19 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/206*120/Jeff+Fisher+Reacts+After+Shutout+Loss.png

Just keep swimming.

It was a rough sleepless night for Los Angeles Rams head coach Jeff Fisher. Not only did his team suffer one of the most embarrassing losses in franchise history with their 28-0 drubbing on national television at the hands of the San Francisco 49ers, but Fisher also found himself in an odious place in NFL history.

Following the shutout loss in their opening game of the 2016 season, Fisher finds himself alone in third place for the most losses by a head coach in NFL history with 157. 

Tom Landry (162) and Dan Reeves (165) are the only two play callers ahead of Fisher, but the 22-year veteran is not focused on the losing milestone, but how to get his team to rebound on a short week to play the Seahawks on Sunday in Week 2. 

"We have a 24-hour rule," Fisher told the media on Tuesday. "We basically have this philosophy that you have 24 hours to get this over with, corrected and done." 

If you're reading this, hopefully you were one of the lucky ones who fell asleep before the game ended. The uncompetitive opener was one of the worst games in Monday Night Football history and a huge disappointment for LA's newest sports franchise.

"We expected to go in there and win the football game," Fisher said. "We didn't expect to go in there and get beat 28-0." 

But they did get beat 28-0, in fact, they were the only NFL team not to score a single point in Week One and still have not scored a point as the LA Rams since December 24, 1994.

The Rams offense was the weakest link at Levi's Stadium as Case Keenum put up a paltry passer rating of 34.2. He didn't get much help from his receivers who dropped a number of passes, his offensive line couldn't win the battles up front, and his running back Todd Gurley rushed for just 47 yards.

"You don't win games going 3-of-15 on 3rd down," added Fisher. "You don’t win games with 10 penalties, not rushing the football, not scoring points and giving up too many big plays. We didn't do enough to win the game."

The ten penalties, including the seven on defense were a glaring concern for the Rams. The team lacked discipline and shot themselves in the foot on two separate occasions. 

"We had opportunities to get back into the game," mentioned Fisher. "We just never capitalized on it." 

First, a personal foul penalty for taunting on Gurley just as LA looked like they were driving deep into Niners territory and second, an ejection for All-Pro defensive lineman, Aaron Donald, for hitting an opponent and then putting his hands on an official. 

"Aaron was playing really hard. There was some chirping going on and Aaaron pushed No. 11 away, he shouldn't have done it," Fisher explained of the ejection. "The helmet comes off and now things start. One of the officials put his hands on Aaron and he slapped his hands away. That's where the ejection comes from."

At the end of the game, the Rams looked like a dejected team who had resigned themselves to the reality that they are not a Super Bowl contender this season. Their body language spoke volumes and with the 2014 Super Bowl Champion Seahawks coming to the Coliseum, things could snowball quickly.

"You have to learn from it and move on. We're resilient. Everyone is either 1-0 or 0-1 and we're looking ahead to Week 2," Fisher said. "I would like to think we're going to have a significant home field advantage there. We're disappointed with last night, but we're looking forward to our home opener."

It will be a tall task to beat Pete Carroll and the Seahawks in Week Two, but the Rams went undefeated against Seattle in two games last season and can use the confidence from those victories on the field on Sunday.

The 90,000+ expected fans in attendance should certainly help matters and if the Rams can squeak out a victory in their home opener, it's a whole new season. 



Photo Credit: AP Photo/Tony Avelar]]>
<![CDATA[Top Images From the 2016-2017 NFL Season]]>Thu, 07 Sep 2017 13:08:19 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/183*120/GettyImages-633062686-sm.jpgCheck out some of the best images from the 2016-2017 NFL season.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Original LA Rams QB, Jim Hardy, is Happy They're Home]]>Tue, 13 Sep 2016 14:43:58 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/206*120/09-13-2016-rams-jim-hardy-usc.JPG

When you picture the man who is known as the oldest living member of the original Los Angeles Rams team in 1946, one might conjure up images of a retirement home where patients are pushed around in wheelchairs to arts and crafts or movie night. 

Then you meet 93-year-old Jim Hardy, and he bounds up the stairs of the LA Memorial Coliseum like a spry stag leaping through the hills. He's healthy, active, and more fit than most 30-year-olds.

It's no coincidence that Hardy and the Coliseum were born just a week apart. They each represent strength, stability and a legacy. The historic home of the Olympics, MLB, USC, and the Rams is Hardy's church, and he's ready to preach.

He may be in his 90s, but behind the eyes of the oldest living member of the inaugural Rams team is simply an eight-year old boy who fell in love with football.

"One day in 1931, when I was eight years old, my father took me and my brother to our first Trojan football game at the LA Coliseum," Hardy says, taking us on a trip down memory lane. "It was the last game of the season and they beat Georgia 60-0. I have been a Trojan fan ever since that day. I have seen every home game and every Rose Bowl game since 1931."

It is a conceit of the modern era of football that so many talented athletes auction themselves off to the highest bidder. Gone are the days where posters of favorite players adorn the walls of the NFL's future stars whose sole motivation is loyalty to a team or city. 

In a time where college athletes coined the term "one and done," and consistently receive improper benefits by programs in exchange for a commitment letter, Hardy has remained loyal to the Trojans since 1931.

He made it his mission to play football for USC and allow other eight-year old kids to come to the Coliseum and have their eyes light up when they watched the Men of Troy take the field. So Hardy worked hard and played quarterback at USC for four years, he led the Trojans to two Rose Bowl victories in 1944 and 1945, the latter of which he was named the MVP after USC tore apart the Tennessee Vols, 25-0.

The country was at war during that time, and after the Trojans season Hardy spent the next few months in the Navy stationed on the battleship, Maryland, located in the Pacific. After the war ended, he married his college sweetheart, Henrietta, and entered the 1945 NFL Draft. 

The Washington Redskins took him eighth overall in the first round, but with the birth of their first son, he didn't want to move his young family across the country. Simultaneously, the reigning NFL Champion, Cleveland Rams, had announced they were moving to Los Angeles. So Hardy asked to be traded and signed with the Rams.

He called it, "the dumbest thing I ever did."

Hardy's biggest rival during his collegiate career was cross-town quarterback Bob Waterfield. The future Hall of Famer led the UCLA Bruins to the Pacific Coast title in 1942 and a Rose Bowl birth in 1943. After a blowout loss to Hardy and the Trojans in 1944, he was selected 42nd overall by the Cleveland Rams.

Waterfield won the Rookie of the Year and was named the NFL's Most Valuable Player as he led the Rams to the Championship in his first season. So the following year, when the Rams moved to Los Angeles and Hardy joined the team, the two heated rivals had to compete for the starting job with Waterfield having the advantage as the incumbent. 

"That was just terrible. It appalled me. I couldn't stand it and I couldn't get into a game in the first year," Hardy said of having to be the backup to a Bruin in Los Angeles. "Bob and I were rivals, we didn't like each other, and it wasn't healthy."

Hardy and Waterfield competed against each other for three seasons with the Rams as Angelenos steadily flocked to the flame of the Olympic Cauldron to watch their newest NFL franchise.

"The Trojans owned the town back then," Hardy said of when the Rams arrived. "There was no Lakers, no Kings, no Dodgers. The Trojans were the only act in town. So when the Rams came in, all the Trojans fans became pro football fans, especially, people who didn't go to USC or UCLA. I think the people of LA have been waiting all these long years to have the NFL back with us in Los Angeles."

In Hardy's three seasons with the LA Rams he played alongside NFL greats like the aforementioned Waterfield, Kenny Washington (the first African-American to play in the NFL), former Heisman Trophy winner Tom Harmon, Fred Gehrke (who designed the Rams famous logo) and Red Hickey (who invented the shotgun formation). 

"We had some all-time greats on that team," Hardy recalled. "The team had good players back then and now they have to rebuild on that. Kenny Washington was my best friend back then. Kenny was an all-time great then and he would be an all-time great now." 

As the NFL became integrated in Hardy's first season, he had a front row seat to the racial divide that plagued Los Angeles after World War II. Despite the attempts of many NFL teams and their owners to block Washington's entrance into the league, Hardy saw his friend simply as a great person and talented football player.

"When we would go out of town, Kenny and those guys would take me with them," remembered Hardy. "They took me to Harlem, the Black Bottom in Detroit, all the black neighborhoods. I became friends with black entertainers and I had a ball with them."

In addition to witnessing the desegregation of the sport, Hardy and his teammates were also part of an era that wore leather helmets. There were no mouthpieces, facemasks, or state of the art protective gear. Ironically, there were also fewer concussions. 

"In today's game, everything is an improvement with the equipment except for this huge facemask and that rock they put on their heads that weights a ton," Hardy said of the modern day helmets. "They don't have a bar, they have a fence. You could hit them with a 2x4 in the face and not hurt them."

In Hardy's day, without the protection around the head, defensive players were forced to hit with their shoulders. In today's game, many players lead with their head creating helmet-to-helmet contact that shocks the brain, leading to rampant concussions across the league.

"In my day, you might get a tooth knocked out or break your nose, but that all heals in a week or two," Hardy explained. "In today's game, they break their necks or they get concussions. In my mind, they need to take off that plastic thing on their head and put back on the leather headgear. Yeah, you're going to get a broken nose or one of your teeth knocked out, but you're not going to end up in a wheelchair."

Hardy left Los Angeles in a trade to the Chicago Cardinals in 1949 and set an NFL record that still stands today in his second season with the team when he threw eight interceptions in a single game.

"An hour before that game I was in an automobile accident and totaled my car. I didn't get to the ballpark in time to warm up, I literally ran out and just started in the ball game," explained Hardy of one of the worst days by a quarterback in NFL history. "I don't even remember playing in the game. I played so poorly they should've jerked me in the first quarter. You usually never let a quarterback stay that long in the game. I played so bad they probably should've fired me and released the coach on the same day." 

Hardy redeemed himself by throwing six touchdowns the following week (an NFL record at the time), and got revenge on the Eagles—the team that intercepted him eight times—when he led the Cardinals to a 21-10 victory in Philadelphia later that year. Despite the bevy of lifelong accomplishments under Hardy's name, his interception record is one he hopes people forget.

"I can tell you the one place that record won't be," he said with a wry smile creeping across his face. "It's not going to be on my gravestone."

Thankfully, the highlight of Hardy's career came a few years later when he helped lead the Detroit Lions to the NFL Title in 1953. An accomplishment he called "the pinnacle of everything you play for," but his championship ring pales in comparison to his achievements inside the Coliseum while wearing the Cardinal and Gold.

He retired from the game in 1953 after seven seasons in the NFL, but his passion for the game never requited. For the next 63 years, Hardy regularly attended USC practices and home games, a habit he still continues today despite his nearly 130-mile commute from La Quinta, California.

Even his love affair with the Coliseum continued long after he left the field, as Hardy became the General Manager of the Coliseum Commission from 1973 to 1986. His relationship with one of the most famous stadiums in America makes the Rams return extra special, especially when they host former Trojans coach Pete Carroll and the Seattle Seahawks in the first NFL game at the Coliseum in over two decades.

"I'm going to be at the game and I'm going to root for the Rams," said Hardy who plans to attend all the Rams home games this season. "With Pete Carroll coming, he's one of my favorite all-time coaches, but I'll still be a Ram fan."

Hardy is a walking, talking, encyclopedia of the Los Angeles Rams. He joined them when they became the first NFL franchise in the city, was teammates with the first African-American player in the league, watched Gehrke paint the horns on his helmet and saw the formation of the "Fearsome Foursome."

Hardy held court as the Dodgers, Lakers, Kings and Angels all joined the Rams as professional sports franchises housed in the City of Angels. He watched from the sidelines as the Rams went to their first Super Bowl in 1979, and then headed South down the 405 to Anaheim as former USC head coach John Robinson took over the team.

As the dark period in Rams history hovered over the franchise in the early 90s, he observed as owner, Georgia Frontiere, moved the team to St. Louis, and waved goodbye as they traveled halfway across the country under the Gateway Arch.

Twenty-two years later, Hardy has lived through it all as the Rams story comes full circle in their return to Los Angeles.

"I'm glad to see the Rams come back. They were an organization, ownership and talent-wise that has changed a lot, but I'm glad to see the Rams come back to LA because it's a good football town," he said. "People support the team and they'll be home here in the Coliseum for a few years and then go to their own stadium in Inglewood. I think they'll prove to be one of the best teams in the NFL."

Someday, Hardy will have time to look back and reflect on his football life, but for now he's having too much fun living it. There's no doubt that he will be in the stands of the Coliseum on Saturdays and Sundays this season with more energy and vigor than the other 90,000 fans in attendance.

He says his secret is he walks and jogs every morning and goes to the gym four-to-five times a week. Thankfully, the Rams have returned while he's still young and he has no plans of surrendering his love for football anytime soon.

"I have long-range plans. There are a lot of things I haven't done yet," he said in his homespun way. "The good Lord has been good to me and I'm appreciative. I have a healthy outlook. I have a happy life. I have a healthy life and barring I don't get hit by a bus, I'll still go to practice one day a week. Fight on!"



Photo Credit: KNBC-TV]]>
<![CDATA[Rams Fans Rejoice as Season Kicks Off]]>Mon, 12 Sep 2016 19:47:43 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Rams_Opening_Game_Kicks_Off_1200x675_763469379629.jpgA new era begins for the Los Angeles Rams, who make their season debut against the San Francisco 49ers. Mario Solis reports for the NBC4 News on Monday, Sept. 12, 2016.]]><![CDATA[LA Rams Start Season Against San Francisco]]>Mon, 12 Sep 2016 11:49:43 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/214*120/Rams-practice-9-8-16.PNG

On Monday night, the Los Angeles Rams play their first official regular season game in over two decades.

The LA Rams are back, and their first test is a historical Northern California and Southern California rivalry game against the San Francisco 49ers. The event will be nationally televised and draw further interest because San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick is staging a peaceful protest by sitting down during the national anthem.

Since Kaepernick started his protests, nearly everyone has an opinion on the topic. Other players have taken a knee or spoken out in support, while several analysts and media members have taken to their microphones and typewriters to condemn the quarterback.

Kaepernick is not projected to start, but his protest should dominate talk at the start of the game.

The Niners start Blaine Gabbert at quarterback, who is a 26-year-old passer entering his sixth season in the NFL. Gabbert featured in eight games a season ago, and the 49ers went 3-5 over that stretch. Torrey Smith is San Francisco's top wide-receiver threat, as the speedy wide-out played all 16 games a season ago. Smith averaged 20.1 yards per reception with four touchdowns on the year.

Carlos Hyde is the 49ers' leading rusher, and the 49ers' second-round pick in the 2014 NFL Draft averages 4.1 yards per carry for his career.

For the Rams, Case Keenum held onto his starting spot over no. 1 pick in the 2016 NFL Draft Jared Goff. Goff struggled to reach the required level of proficiency and dropped to third in the pecking order, behind Sean Mannion, who enters his third season as a professional out of Oregon State.

Keenum's top wide-out targets are speedster Tavon Austin, who is starting his fifth year in the league, and taller target Kenny Britt, who enters his ninth season. Britt led the team with 681 receiving yards and an average of 18.9 yards per reception during the 2015 NFL season.

Austin led the team with 52 receptions and five receiving touchdowns. Austin is a bit more versatile, so expect him to line up in the back field from time to time. He averaged 8.3 yards per carry a season ago, which is impressive considering Austin had the third most carries on the team in 2015. Austin scored four touchdowns as a rusher.

However, the Rams' primary rusher is still Todd Gurley. The 2015 Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2015 played 13 games, scored 10 touchdowns and crossed 1,000 rushing yards on the season. Gurley is a dynamic runner, and the 22-year-old averaged 4.8 yards per carry in his rookie season.

Gurley and the Rams kick-off against Gabbert and the 49ers in Santa Clara at 7:20 p.m. Pacific Time.



Photo Credit: Shahan Ahmed]]>
<![CDATA[Rams Rookie LB Looking Forward to Monday Night Debut]]>Mon, 12 Sep 2016 11:59:30 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/200*120/04-29-2016-rams-helmet-generic-1.jpg

Ask Los Angeles Rams defensive end Robert Quinn for his first memory of "Monday Night Football" and nothing comes to mind.

"Oh shoot. Yeah, you got me stumped on that one," Quinn said.

Coach Jeff Fisher remembers its infancy when the antics of Howard Cosell and Don Meredith captivated the nation, and it offered the only chance to see everything that happened in the NFL that week.

"Things have changed," Fisher said. "Back in the day when Howard and Don and the rest of them were doing it, that was the only way you got to see highlights from the weekend. Now you get to see highlights moments after they happen."

Playing a game on Monday night is no longer a novelty, the television broadcast accompanying it no longer a cultural phenomenon, but the Rams' season opener at the San Francisco 49ers will mean plenty to linebacker Cory Littleton.

"'Monday Night Football,' everybody in America watching it," Littleton said. "It's exciting."

Littleton seemed set for a limited role this season as an undrafted free agent from Washington before the Rams cut veteran Akeem Ayers last week. When Ayers signed with the Indianapolis Colts, it all but locked the Rams into using five defensive backs as their primary personnel package with Littleton backing up starting hybrid linebacker-safety Mark Barron.

"All you can do is just keep pushing forward," Littleton said. "Yeah, there might be changes around you, but ultimately you can't control that."

"It doesn't really change anything for us," added middle linebacker Alec Ogletree. "We feel like we played mostly nickel throughout the whole season last year, and most teams do play nickel more because it is a passing league."

Littleton thrived as an outside linebacker as the Huskies led the Pac-12 in points and yards allowed last season. He had 65 tackles, 11 tackles for loss and six sacks as a senior, showing good range and versatility that has carried over through this summer.

Littleton wasn't sure he would get the opportunity because of a rule that limits the contact rookies can have with their teams until the end of the academic year. For schools on the quarter system, including Washington, rookies like Littleton had to wait until well into June to participate in conditioning workouts or organized team activities. That forced Littleton to quickly familiarize himself with a new team and scheme.

Littleton said the coaches were understanding, but that "it was just a crappy situation."

"There was nothing I could do about it," Littleton said. "Try to learn and do everything as fast as possible, that's the only thing I could do."

Littleton's quick maturation actually seemed to strengthen his case for making the final roster. After recording three tackles in the Rams' second preseason game, Littleton believed for the first time that he could make the team.

"Cory really didn't get to do much until he got to training camp, so I think that speaks volumes for him because he had a short period of time and he showed us what he can do," coach Jeff Fisher said.

On Monday night, Littleton will go from watching the game to playing in it.

"Every time we go to a new stadium it's just like I'm a little kid in a candy store with a big old smile on my face because these are the places I have been seeing on TV for years or these are the players I have been seeing on TV for years or this is my favorite player," Littleton said. "It's just a great experience."

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Getty]]>
<![CDATA[Taxpayer Lawsuit Tackles Funding for Rams Security]]>Wed, 31 Aug 2016 13:52:28 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/knbc-rams-fight.jpg

A taxpayer lawsuit against the city of Los Angeles alleges an unlawful "gift of public funds" to the Los Angeles Rams in the form of security at home games and calls for changes to how those officers are paid.

The lawsuit filed Wednesday by former Los Angeles City Councilmember Dennis Zine, a former police officer, and Los Angeles resident James Bibeau seeks "to prevent the city from expending any additional taxpayer funds to provide over 200 LAPD officers free of charge to secure Rams home games," according to a statement from the Los Angeles Police Protective League.

"Rams owner Stan Kroenke has refused to pay in full for the police services necessary to ensure public safety at his team's home games," the statement said. "This free use of LAPD personnel constitutes an illegal gift of $2 million in public funds."

Under the current plan, the Rams pay for security provided inside the stadium, but not for the area outside the stadium.

"We're asking that the Rams pay overtime for these officers on an off-duty basis," said Jerretta Sandoz, vice president of the Los Angeles Police Protective League. "So officers need to volunteer to work these games and be paid by the Rams."

The officers who work Rams games should be paid overtime by the organization instead of taking a day off during their regular work week, according to the plaintiffs. The lawsuit said the officers' committment to Rams games has had negative impacts on law enforcement investigations and caseload management.

More than 200 officers are assigned to areas outside the stadium on game day. They're drawn from key divisions, such as gang enforcement, Major Crimes, which is assigned to investigate threats to public safety, and robbery-homicide. 

Earlier this month, members of the LA City Council wrote a letter to the franchise requesting that policing inside and outside the stadium be "fully covered" by the Rams organization. The letter also asked that the Rams use off-duty officers instead of department personnel already assigned to patrols.

The Rams issued a statement on the general topic of security saying the team is "working with the LAPD to find solutions that work for everyone -- in fact, we have a few meetings already scheduled with LAPD and USC leadership in the coming weeks.

"The safety of fans attending our games is a priority and we are appreciative of the great team at LAPD and other agencies that will be part of our game-day security operation for helping ensure a safe environment for our guests," the Rams statement said.

The Rams play their fourth and final preseason game Thursday at Minnesota. The team opens the regular season Sept. 12 at San Francisco before returning home Sept. 18 to face division power Seattle.

The Rams will play homes games at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum until their new Inglewood stadium opens in 2019. 



Photo Credit: Armen A. Yeghiayan]]>
<![CDATA[NFC West Preview: This One Might Be for the Birds]]>Tue, 30 Aug 2016 10:20:13 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/214*120/LA+Rams+Tavon+Austin.png

The kind of parity the NFL wants has been on display in the NFC West over the past half-decade.

San Francisco won two straight division titles in 2011-12, followed by Seattle winning the division in 2013 and 2014. And last year, it was Arizona's turn to snatch away the division crown from the Seahawks, the Cardinals' first division title since 2009.

It seems inevitable that either Arizona or Seattle will find itself back on top of the division in 2016, as both are considered among the elite of the NFC.

The Rams are beginning a new chapter, returning to Los Angeles with renewed excitement but the same questions around whether they can advance beyond being an average franchise.

And the 49ers are rebuilding for a second straight year, this time under new coach Chip Kelly after a failed attempt with Jim Tomsula in charge.

Here's a look at the four teams:

LIGHT YEARS: Seattle believes it has rediscovered its swagger from the 2013 Super Bowl title season. There's no Super Bowl hangover from winning or losing to deal with, just the bitterness of an NFC divisional playoff loss to Carolina.

Despite a calm offseason, Seattle still has flaws. It's shaky on the offensive line and the performance of the blockers could determine Seattle's offensive success. If given enough time, Russell Wilson appears ready to build on last year's evolution as a passer and his connection with Doug Baldwin, who tied for the NFL lead with 14 TD catches.

The Seahawks have been the top scoring defense in the NFL the past four seasons, and that remains the expectation with the likes of Richard Sherman, Michael Bennett, Earl Thomas and Bobby Wagner still in their primes.

"I am seeing the same joy, the same intensity, same passion (as 2013)," Sherman said. "Guys just playing for one another and appreciating one another."

LEARN TO FLY: The Cardinals were 13-3 last season to win the division and are 34-14 under Bruce Arians. They've proven they can win in Seattle, a prerequisite to contending in the division.

But there is urgency surrounding Arizona. Carson Palmer is coming off his best season, but threw four interceptions against the Panthers in the blowout loss in the NFC title game. Palmer turns 37 in December and Larry Fitzgerald turns 33 on Wednesday, so the opportunity for success may be shrinking.

Running back David Johnson showed last season he can be a great complement to Palmer and the passing game, while the defense should be buoyed by the acquisition of Chandler Jones, the drafting of Robert Nkemdiche, and return of Tyrann Mathieu.

BACK IN CALI: The Rams have a second honeymoon going with Los Angeles after their return home from St. Louis, with 89,140 fans setting an NFL preseason attendance record for their opener.

But the good feelings in Los Angeles will be tested if the Rams struggle early with a defense that lost a few key contributors and an offense that didn't add much beyond No. 1 overall draft pick Jared Goff, currently the backup to Case Keenum.

"It's not up to me. Again, it's something that I'd love to do, but it's not my decision," Goff said of being the starter. "That's what they pay the coaches for, and that's what they're here for."

Jeff Fisher hasn't coached a winning team since 2008, but he's banking on steady improvement across the board and another big year from running back Todd Gurley to alter the steady mediocrity of his first four Rams teams.

The Rams have one of the best defensive lines in the NFL with the likes of Aaron Donald and Robert Quinn, but it may not be enough to move beyond .500.

FREE FALLIN': The 49ers have taken a rapid fall from perennial NFC contender to also-ran in recent seasons. After a failed experiment with Jim Tomsula in place of Jim Harbaugh, the Niners are turning to Kelly in hopes that his up-tempo style that was so successful in college at Oregon and early in his tenure with the Eagles will translate to San Francisco.

Kelly has a tall task, starting with finding a quarterback. Colin Kaepernick's career has plummeted since nearly winning a Super Bowl following the 2012 season, and his insistence on not standing for the national anthem has sparked something of a furor across the nation.

Blaine Gabbert, who was elevated last season when Kaepernick struggled and was injured, could start despite a career 55.8 completion rate. At receiver, Torrey Smith is the only proven commodity.

The solid defense is led by linebacker NaVorro Bowman and recent first-round picks Eric Reid, Arik Armstead and DeForest Buckner.

"I don't ever put a ceiling on a team," 49ers GM Trent Baalke said. "In 2011, a lot of people wanted to put a ceiling on this team and we did pretty well. This is a young football team. There's a lot of competition out there."

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Stephen Dunn/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Rams Rookie Receiver Out With Shoulder Injury]]>Mon, 29 Aug 2016 11:37:46 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/201*120/08-29-2016-pharoh-cooper-rams-1.gif

Los Angeles Rams rookie receiver Pharoh Cooper probably will miss the regular-season opener after getting hurt in an exhibition game Saturday.

Rams coach Jeff Fisher said Sunday night that Cooper has an injured shoulder.

Cooper has two receptions for 30 yards and a touchdown in the Rams' first three preseason games. The fourth-round pick from South Carolina also has returned four punts for Los Angeles.

Fisher also said cornerback E.J. Gaines will miss "some time" with a strained quadriceps muscle.

Offensive tackle Greg Robinson and cornerback Troy Hill went into the NFL's concussion protocol after the Rams' loss at Denver. Fisher says both players are "way ahead of schedule and didn't have any residual effects."

Los Angeles finishes its preseason schedule at Minnesota on Thursday night.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Tavon Austin's Extension Makes LA Rams Better]]>Sun, 28 Aug 2016 13:55:13 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/214*120/LA+Rams+Tavon+Austin.png

Just hours before they took the field against the reigning Super Bowl Champion Denver Broncos, the Los Angeles Rams announced they had signed receiver Tavon Austin to a four-year contract extension.

For those Hard Knocks viewers, Austin is the 5-foot-8, mouthy receiver who developed cramps on the first day of training camp and had to be carted off the field.

The deal means that Austin will remain with the Rams organization through the 2021 season. The deal is reportedly worth 4-years, $42 million with $30 million of it guaranteed.

The 25-year-old slot receiver was the eighth pick in the 2013 NFL Draft and has been the top-rated receiver for the Rams in the 2015 season.

Austin caught a career-high 52 passes for 473 yards and five touchdowns last seasons and also rushed 52 times for 434 yards. Austin also handles the team's punt and kickoff return duties. 

"Tavon has been an integral part of our offense and special teams since we drafted him in 2013," said head coach Jeff Fisher. "It is important to our organization to retain players we've drafted and invested in, and Tavon is an example of that. We're excited for him to continue his career with the Rams."

Austin's contract extension will make the Rams better as the organization now has solidified the slot position for years to come and can focus on improving other areas of the team through the draft and free agency. It also helps No. 1 overall draft pick Jared Goff who can develop a rapport and chemistry with Austin for the next five years.

In 2015, Austin tied Rookie of the Year running back Todd Gurley for the most touchdowns on the team with 10, the first time the team had two different players score double-digit touchdowns since 2006. 

Austin has 19 total touchdowns in his three year career, tied for the third most among the 2013 draft class.



Photo Credit: Stephen Dunn/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Rams Beat Chiefs 21-20 at LA Coliseum]]>Sat, 20 Aug 2016 23:05:26 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/212*120/Jared+Goff+Growing+Pains.png

Jared Goff threw his first NFL touchdown pass and Todd Gurley ran for his first touchdown as a Los Angeles Ram as L.A.'s newest team defeated the Kansas City Chiefs, 21-20.

Gurley dominated the first drive of the game, which was aided by a 41-yard pass interference penalty on the Chiefs. Gurley capped off the drive with a 3-yard touchdown run. His first action of the 2016 season and first ever exhibition game at the NFL level.

"It felt good just being out there and getting a couple of plays," Gurley said at halftime. "I was a little sluggish. I felt like I could've done better, but being back on the field, back in LA, it felt good. It was a good drive and we scored."

Gurley did not return for the second drive and sat out the remainder of the game. He finished with four carries for 20 yards and a touchdown. 

Case Keenum started at quarterback for the Rams and was 4-for-5 for 53 yards and a touchdown as he found rookie Pharoh Cooper who scrambled into the end zone for an 11-yard touchdown catch in the first quarter.

"I love playing football. Whether it's preseason and it counts or doesn't," said Keenum about wanting to get more reps. "There's a lot of things out of my control. I can only control when I'm in there."

Speaking of rookies, No. 1 overall draft pick Jared Goff entered the game in the second quarter, but his growing pains continued as he fumbled the ball in the third offensive possession of the game.

"I was stepping up and going to run, but I tripped over my lineman and fell and the ball came out," Goff said of the fumble. "I can't do that. It's dumb. I got to hold on to the ball there, but that's what the preseason is for and that's what these reps are for: to make mistakes that hopefully I'll learn from."

Goff tripped over his own lineman's feet and fumbled the ball as he fell to the ground, allowing Kansas City defensive end, Dontari Poe, to recover the ball inside the red zone at the Rams 16-yard line.

"He lost the ball there, the three-step he took and they took it away. It's something to learn from," LA Rams head coach Jeff Fisher said.

Goff started in the second half and put the Rams in the lead early in the fourth quarter when he threw is first career NFL touchdown pass to running back Malcolm Brown for a 10-yard score.

"It felt really good. I felt a lot more comfortable," Goff said of his first TD in the NFL. "There was a couple big runs by Malcolm and he finished it off with a great catch."

Brown caught two passes for 17 yards and rushed for a team-high 68 yards on 12 carries. The Rams rode the running back in the second half repeatedly as they gave him the ball on three straight possessions to cap off the touchdown drive.

"Jared put it where nobody else could get it, and it was my job to make the catch," Brown said of the score. "It was a great play call by our coaches and it just worked for us."

Running-back Benny Cunningham continued to impress as he rushed for 38 yards on four carries, averaging a whopping 9.5 yards per attempt.

Alex Smith looked locked in as the Chiefs starter, completing 9 of 12 for 137 yards and a touchdown. Former Rams quarterback, Nick Foles, played most of the second half and was 18-for-22 for 133 yards.

"It's preseason, so it's never as good as you think it is or as bad as you think it is," said Chiefs LB Derrick Johnson after the game. "The Rams didn't do anything special or tricky, but we got to get better. It's not a panicky thing. It's just disappointing to have a couple plays scoot through."

Last week's hero, Nelson Spruce was held out with a knee sprain. Defensive end, Robert Quinn, missed his second straight game after he returned from the Olympics earlier this week to watch his sister, Jasmine, compete in the 110-meter hurdles. Second-year offensive tackle Isaiah Battle also missed the game with a knee injury.

Chiefs star running back, Jamal Charles, was back at practice earlier in the week after a torn ACL, but did not play in the game for Kansas City. 

Andy Reid—a Los Angeles native—returned to the LA Coliseum where he participated in the Punt, Pass and Kick contest in 1971 as a 13-year-old wearing a No. 34 LA Rams jersey.

Players of the Game:

Jared Goff: 8-for-12 for 82 yards and a TD.
Malcolm Brown: 12 carries for 68 yards. 2 catches for 17 yards a TD.
Jabriel Washington: Game-winning fumble recovery.

Three Takeaways:

1. The Game is On: Rapper and actor, "The Game," was on the sidelines for the game and took pictures with fans in the front row. The Game was shown on the videoboard in the second quarter and received a warm welcome from fans.

2. Ejected: It's abnormal to see starters get ejected from a game in the NFL, let alone a preseason game, but Kansas City wide receiver Jeremy Maclin and Rams cornerback LaMarcus Joyner were both tossed from the game in the second quarter for fighting.

3. Flex: Actor Terry Crews flexed his muscles in the seats as did the L.A. Rams as they moved to 2-0 in the preseason after their come-from-behind victory over the Kanas City Chiefs.

Up Next:

Chiefs (0-2): Kansas City heads to Chi-town where they will play the Bears next Saturday at 10:00 AM PST.

Rams (2-0): After the first two home games at the L.A. Coliseum in over two decades, the Rams head on the road to face the reigning Super Bowl Champion Denver Broncos on Saturday at 6:00 PM PST.



Photo Credit: AP Photo/Ryan Kang]]>
<![CDATA[Rams Fall 17-9 to Broncos]]>Sun, 28 Aug 2016 04:28:16 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/200*120/04-29-2016-rams-helmet-generic-1.jpg

On Saturday, the Los Angeles Rams failed to get into the end zone and fell 17-9 in Denver. For LA's football team, Saturday also marked the first loss of the preseason in the team's first road game of the exhibition season.

Despite failing to lead his team to a touchdown, Rams starting quarterback Case Keenum put on a solid display by completing eight of his 12 pass attempts for 77 yards on the day. Rookie quarterback Jared Goff, though, struggled to only complete four passes out of his 12 attempts, while third stringer Sean Mannion fell in the middle with six completions out of 12 passing plays.

As a silver lining, none of the Rams' quarterbacks threw an interception, though Denver's Super Bowl winning defense did record six sacks on the day. In contrast, the Rams never got through to the Broncos' quarterbacks.

Broncos starter Trevor Siemian appeared to have solidified his spot with an impressive outing on Saturday. The 24-year-old completed 10 of his 17 pass attempts for 122 yards with one touchdown and one interception.

Next, the Rams conclude their preseason with a road game against the Minnesota Vikings on Sept. 1. After that, the Rams begin their 2016 NFL regular season in Santa Clara against the San Francisco 49ers on Sept. 12, which is a Monday night game.

The Rams officially bring NFL regular season football back to Los Angeles on Sept. 18, when the Seattle Seahawks visit the LA Memorial Coliseum.

Notes: Eariler in the day, the LA Rams announced that they had signed wide receiver Tavon Austin to a four-year contract extension through the 2021 season.



Photo Credit: Getty]]>
<![CDATA[NFL Return to Coliseum Also Brings Back Grandstand Brawls]]>Tue, 23 Aug 2016 18:55:31 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/knbc-rams-fight.jpg

Something else returned to Los Angeles with the Rams: NFL stadium brawls.

"When you include alcohol, adrenaline, especially football, things like that tend to happen. It's pretty foreseeable," said attorney and NFL fan Armen Yeghiayan, whose Coliseum seating Saturday turned out be right in front of where a fight broke out during the second quarter of the Rams-Chiefs game.

On homecoming day a week earlier, Los Angeles Police reported ejecting seven from the Coliseum and arresting three.  Week two LAPD ejected "several," but made no arrests, said Officer Mike Lopez.

Yeghiayan said he had concerns for the safety of his girlfriends, and also for a significant number of children in the area.

"The security of fans attending our games is the top priority and we have a comprehensive security operation in place for game days," reads in part a statement issued by the Rams organization.  "After each game, we review any incidents and work with our security partners to improve the fan experience and deliver a safe and enjoyable gameday for guests."

The post-Saturday review has yet to finish, said Joanna Hunter with Rams Corportate Communications, noting that the Rams do not return to the Coliseum until Sept. 18.

Similar to Dodger Stadium and other sports venues in Los Angeles, the Rams use a blend of private security and law enforcement officers inside the Coliseum, the cost is paid by the Rams.  Outside in the surrounding neighborhoods, the Los Angeles Police Department assigns an even larger contingent of on-duty officers, more than 200, many on temporary loan from other assignments. City officials are pressuring the Rams to cover that cost as well.

Yeghiayan said the first responder to the brawl was a private security officer, who did not initially attempt to break up the fight. Uniformed LAPD officers responded from as far away as the Coliseum field level, and it took them some time to get through the crowd, according to Yeghiayan.

Fights in the seating area were becoming a growing concern during the waning days of the last generation of NFL football in the Coliseum, when the Raiders were making their home in Los Angeles. The Rams had left 15 years earlier for Anaheim, and later St. Louis.  They returned to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on an interim basis until 2019, when a new stadium in Inglewood is scheduled to be ready.

"Given the price of a ticket," Yeghiayan said,"there should definitely be a lot more security."



Photo Credit: Armen A. Yeghiayan]]>
<![CDATA[Rams Secondary Can Be 'a Million Times Better']]>Tue, 23 Aug 2016 09:28:09 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/200*120/04-29-2016-rams-helmet-generic-1.jpg

Cornerback E.J. Gaines said early in training camp that the Los Angeles Rams could have the best secondary in the league, even after losing starting cornerback Janoris Jenkins and safety Rodney McLeod in free agency.

That certainly has not been the case through the Rams' first two preseason games, but the addition of Gaines to the first unit could mark a turning point toward that goal.

Working extensively with the starters Monday, Gaines was able to build on his productive outing against the Kansas City Chiefs on Saturday. Gaines played most of the second quarter with the second unit and finished with four tackles.

"It felt good, man. It was exciting to get out there," Gaines said.

A pulled hamstring limited Gaines' activity during the first few weeks of practice at UC Irvine. His return to game action Saturday nearly one year after he suffered a season-ending Lisfranc fracture in his foot was nearly derailed by a sprained ankle, but Gaines felt as if he could go after participating in pregame warmups.

"E.J.'s first time back, I was really pleased with what we saw out of E.J.," coach Jeff Fisher said. "He went out and made some really big-time tackles, which was kind of reminiscent of the E.J. we had a couple years ago."

Gaines, who had 70 tackles and two interceptions as a rookie in 2014, was expected to start opposite Jenkins last season. Trumaine Johnson replaced the injured Gaines and had a team-high seven interceptions, leading the Rams to use their franchise tag on him.

Jenkins signed with the New York Giants, leaving Gaines, nickel back Lamarcus Joyner and free-agent addition Coty Sensabaugh competing for the vacancy at corner.

The resulting uncertainty has been evident so far in the preseason. Cowboys rookie quarterback Dak Prescott was 10 of 12 for 139 yards and two touchdowns starting in place of Tony Romo in the opener.

And Kansas City's Alex Smith went 9 of 12 for 137 yards and one touchdown last week. Both quarterbacks took advantage of open receivers. Joyner and Sensabaugh were unable to make plays on the scoring throws.

The defense hasn't allowed a point in the second half so far, allowing the Rams to stage second-half rallies to win both preseason games, but has yet to intercept a pass.

"Is the glass half-full or is it half-empty? Well I'd rather see no points given up in the first half than I would the second half because your starters are playing in the first half.

"Too many big plays, too many explosive plays. Not enough plays on third down, not enough turnovers by our standards," Fisher said. "We need to get better. The corner position still is up in the air, the other side, be it Lamarcus or Coty or E.J."

Gaines didn't try to deflect the criticism aimed at the secondary. When asked how much better they can be, Gaines said: "Man, a million times better than we have shown in the preseason so far."

The focus for the secondary this week will be on starting fast, Gaines said, while he is still trying to adjust to the speed of the game.

"You can't really simulate that out here on the practice field, but getting out there in the preseason will do me good," Gaines said.



Photo Credit: Getty]]>
<![CDATA[Fans Brawl in Stands at Rams' Preseason Game]]>Mon, 15 Aug 2016 21:30:32 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/222*120/160813-rams-game-fight.jpg

Fists flew when a fight broke out among fans at the Los Angeles Rams' preseason game against the Dallas Cowboys on Saturday.

NBC4 viewer Carl Hankins recorded cellphone video showing fisticuffs in the stands at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Some of the fans were wearing Rams apparel, while others wore Cowboys gear.

It's unclear what prompted the fight or if anyone was seriously injured.

More than 78,000 people attended the game, according to the Los Angeles Police Department. Three arrests were made and seven people were ejected from the stadium. It's not clear if those were connected to the fight.

There were also 11 ambulance calls, with one person taken to the hospital.



Photo Credit: NBC4 viewer Carl Hankins]]>
<![CDATA[Rams Pack Coliseum For Return to LA ]]>Sat, 13 Aug 2016 21:20:30 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Rams-vs-Cowboys-8-13-16.jpg

On Saturday, the Rams finally returned to Los Angeles, as the NFL's exhibition season got underway for LA's football team after a two-decade long wait. Unfortunately for the home team, the first play of the new Rams era was a 101-yard kick-off return by Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Lucky Whitehead.

The Cowboys offered a high profile opponent with a huge fan base, so their fans clearly contributed to the atmosphere inside and outside the stadium. However, the crowd consisting officially of 89,140 NFL football fans was decidedly in favor of the home team.

Fans from all around Southern California arrived by car, foot and train, as the LA Metro ran trains every six minutes to help transport fans choosing to pay $1.75, rather than spending upwards of $80 on parking at the arena.

"The crowd is amazing, big turnout," Rams linebacker Cameron Lynch said. "This is great. You definitely can't complain."

Usually, Saturdays at the LA Coliseum are reserved for the USC Trojans, but the Rams practiced at their new home a week earlier in front of nearly 30,000 fans and will play their final preseason home game on Saturday, Aug. 20 against the Kansas City Chiefs at the home of the 1984 Olympics.

When the regular season rolls around in September, though, the Rams will take over the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on Sundays and Mondays only.

Against the Cowboys on Saturday, the Rams' starters struggled to get going beyond the kickoff return touchdown to start the game. The offense went three and out in his first series, as quarterback Case Keenum could gave the ball to the visitors immediately.

In their first offensive possession, the Cowboys rode quarterback Dak Prescott to a touchdown. Prescott, who is a rookie, targeted star wide receiver Dez Bryant, and the physical receiver caught a 10-yard touchdown pass to put the Cowboys up 14-0. Prescott finished 10/12 for 139 yards and two touchdowns in an impressive outing.

While the Rams had not exactly gotten off to the ideal start, Keenum led his offense on an eight-play, 75-yard drive that culminated with a 14-yard Benny Cunningham rushing touchdown on his second drive.

"It was a great feeling," Cunningham said about scoring the Rams' first touchdown at the Coliseum in a generation. "The O-line did a good job."

NFL Preseason football is effectively a practice game, so coaches work hard to get in backups and try to set the depth chart. As such, the second quarter featured the debut of the no. 1 pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, Rams quarterback Jared Goff.

Just like the Rams, Goff got off to a horrendous start. The rookie quarterback's first pass was incomplete. Then, Goff took a hit as he attempted his second pass, and the former Cal quarterback's pass attempt floated in the air and found the arms of Cowboys linebacker Mark Nzeocha. Goff's first drive featured an incomplete pass and an interception in two pass attempts.

However, the rookie recovered and found a favorite target in rookie tight-end Tyler Higbee. No coincidence, Higbee is also Goff's roommate. Goff played for the bulk of the second quarter and finished 4/7 with 38 yards and one interception, meaning he improved and went 4/5 for 38 yards following that original shaky drive.

Rams coach Jeff Fisher opted to put in quarterback Sean Mannion at the start of the second half. Mannion, who is in his second season, stayed in the game for the fourth quarter and showed promise with a couple impressive drives and three touchdowns. Mannion also had one interception.

The final score hardly matters in preseason, but thanks to Mannion's efforts, the Rams made it a competitive game and took their first lead with 1:54 to play in the contest. At that point, the Rams took a 28-24 lead, which would be the final score. Mannion finished 18/25 with 147 Yards, 3 touchdowns and an interception.

Yes, the Rams celebrated a return to the LA Coliseum with a win and nearly 90,000 football fans experienced the event live.

Quote of the night

"They stayed until the fourth quarter of a preseason game and were on their feet for the whole fourth quarter, so you can tell right there what it means to them." - Goff talking about the 89,140 fans that packed the LA Coliseum on Saturday night.  



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[LA Rams Face Dallas Cowboys Saturday]]>Sat, 13 Aug 2016 01:20:28 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Rams-practice-at-Coliseum-8-6-16.JPG

The Los Angeles Rams' first day of training camp led to more 10,000 fans turning up at the University of California at Irvine. A week later, in an open practice at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, that number more than doubled. On Saturday, the Rams return to Los Angeles for real, kind of.

The Los Angeles Rams host the Dallas Cowboys in a preseason exhibition on Saturday evening at the LA Coliseum. With special expanded seating, the Rams could potentially see upwards of 90,000 people in attendance to celebrate the return of the Rams.

So, while Saturday may only be a preseason game, 90,000 fans in a stadium sounds like the NFL is back in Los Angeles.

"Only what I've been told, which is there's going to be a lot of people there and there are going to be a lot of Cowboy fans there as well," Rams coach Jeff Fisher spoke about what he expects from the crowd on Saturday.

"I think it's great, it's a great experience," Fisher continued. "It's going to be a great experience for the fans to come out there and see us for the first time and hopefully we make some plays that they can be impressed about."

The Rams are also being highlighted on HBO Sports' Hard Knocks series, which profiles NFL teams during their preseason preparations. As one would expect, NFL coaches use four-letter words, and Fisher is no exception. After being caught on camera cursing, Fisher shared a funny and relatable phone call.

"'Jeffrey,'" Fisher laughed as he impersonated his mother on the phone. "This is from mom, so I said 'sorry, mom, this is our world. I'll try to do better.'"

Along with Fisher's mother, the players had also carved out time to watch the first episode.

"I thought it was funny," quarterback Jared Goff, who was the no. 1 pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, said on Thursday. "I caught a lot of grief from my friends and stuff. But it was funny, I didn't mind it."

Goff's highlights on the episode included coaches takes jabs at the rookie for having a crush on Taylor Swift and the University of California at Berkeley kid not knowing that the sun rises in the East and sets in the West.

On Saturday, though, the Northern California kid expects to get a chance to show off his stuff for his new Southern California home crowd.

"I feel good, I feel ready," Goff said. "Obviously, my first NFL game. I'm going to try and go out there and treat it like every other game I've ever played in my life, and have fun, execute, enjoy my time, and do the best I can."

For the first preseason game, Fisher said that, typically, the starters will play about two-to-three series before the team goes into substitution mode. For Goff, who starts the season as the backup, Saturday should offer a healthy first taste of NFL football.

"Yeah, yeah, there's a little bit," Goff admitted he had butterflies in his stomach. "But at the same time, I know once I step on the field, again, it's just the same thing. I can't make it more than it is. I can't blow it up in my head. I've just got to treat it like any other game. I've always been pretty good doing that my whole life. So, I don't feel like I have any issue with the magnitude of it."



Photo Credit: Shahan Ahmed]]>
<![CDATA[Profits From Donated LA Rams Jerseys to Go to Homeless]]>Thu, 11 Aug 2016 10:53:37 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/222*120/08-11-2016-rams-rotters-160811.jpg

A Los Angeles nonprofit is holding a silent auction beginning Thursday in hopes of raising money for the poor and homeless.

The silent auction features two Rams football team jerseys donated by a couple from St. Louis.

When St. Louis resident Lou Rotter heard his home team was returning and relocating to Los Angeles, he was shocked. Rather than sell or burn his team apparel, Rotter and his wife Marianne decided to donate it to St. Vincent de Paul in LA.

The Rotters mailed the jerseys along with a handwritten note to the Catholic volunteer organization. Chris Sariego, SVdPLA's spokesman said the organization is touched by the cross-country donation.

"I opened the box and there they were," said Alfred Rodriguez, SVdPLA's operations director. "I thought 'awesome!'"

Lou Rotter said he and his wife have a "soft spot" for the organization because SVdP sponsored Marianne's mother when she came to the United States from Germany following World War II.

The silent auction begins Thursday, Aug. 11 and ends Sept. 18, giving winning bidders enough time to pick up their jerseys for the team's first home game at the LA Memorial Coliseum.

The proceeds will help the poor and homeless in LA.

To enter the silent auction for the Rotters' Rams apparel, visit the security desk by the front door of the St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Store at 210 North Ave. 21 in LA.



Photo Credit: Rotter Family]]>
<![CDATA[Five Best Moments from LA Rams Hard Knocks Premiere]]>Wed, 10 Aug 2016 20:50:16 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/204*120/Hard+Knocks+LA+Rams.png

The premiere episode of HBO's "Hard Knocks: Training Camp with the Los Angeles Rams" debuted on Tuesday night and so began the 11th season of one of the most interesting reality shows in the history of television.

If you missed the debut, fear not friends, we have the best moments from the first episode as we were introduced to many over the more colorful players and harsher realities of life in the NFL.

Before we begin, it's imperative to note that the show's main character is the city of Los Angeles itself. The first episode featured flybys of the city's best features, copious amounts of beach scenes, "California" themed songs, and made sure to hammer home the point to audiences that LA is the city of beautiful weather, people and landscapes.

1. It's a 'Hard Knock' Life for Us:

For those that thing life in the NFL is a charmed and privileged existence, you're only half right. We learned that an "Old School Training Camp," is not that much fun as the Los Angeles Rams players have to sleep in tiny dorm rooms with no air conditioning and rock hard mattresses.

Players have to bring their own bedding, participate in group yoga sessions and there are some hard and fast rules: (1) be on time and (2) no female guests. Seems pretty cut and dry, but as we saw early on in the episode, one player found out the hard way.

2. No Females Allowed:

The most raw and heart-breaking moment of the premiere episode took place in LA Rams Head Coach Jeff Fisher's office. Fisher brought wide receiver Deon Long into his office to confront him about bring a woman into his dorm room.

"What part of the rules, what part of 'no female guests in the room,' did you not understand?" says a stern Fisher in the meeting that was shown on television for the world to see.

Long explains that his female guest came over to drop something off and left before curfew, but it made no different to Fisher as he released Long right there on the spot.

"Sorry, but this is our world, man," explains Fisher. "We have rules and we have to abide by them. Not the first time I've done this for this particular violation, but I thought I made myself really clear."

We're curious if the same punishment would extend to stars Aaron Donald, Todd Gurley and Jared Goff in the same situation, but thankfully for Rams fans, we did not get an opportunity to find out.

Fisher was furious with having to cut one of his players for breaking a straightforward and simple rule and it led to the best line on the show when he told the team that Long was gone later that day.

"I'm not f---ing going 7-9!" yelled Fisher. "We had some 7-9 bulls--- this morning and we can't have that. Deon is gone. That is 7-9 bulls--- and we don't need it." 

Ironically, just days earlier, the Bennett brothers Martellus and Michael did an interview with ESPN when they were asked questions and told to respond with one-word answers. When the duo was asked about Jeff Fisher, there response was appropriate "7-9," they said smiling.

In case you're interested, Deon Long landed on his feet and signed with the Philadelphia Eagles a couple days later.

3. The man of a 'Thousand Tank Tops'

We met a lot of Rams players in the premiere episode of the show, but a star was born when audiences were introduced to starting center, Eric Kush. True to form, Kush unveiled his extensive tank-top collection while unpacking at his dorm room.

"These are my going out tanks," he said seriously. "These are my workout tanks, classic Gold's Gym tanks, patriotic tanks, and stringer tanks."

Kush also showed off his countless pairs of brand new socks as he let the audience in on a training camp secret, "by new socks so you never have to do laundry."

Kush also was responsible for some of the most LOL lines in the show when he tried to develop chemistry with rookie quarterback Jared Goff.

Kush: Smack the butt so I know you're ready to play football.

QB Coach Chris Weinke: He's going to sick his knuckle in your ass----!

Kush: That's what I told him to do. Get in there!

 

4. Growing Pains:

Jared Goff, the no. 1 overall pick in the 2016 NFL draft, is certainly going to have some growing pains in his first full season playing professional football.

On the premiere episode, we learned that Goff comes from a no-huddle offense at Cal with a very limited playbook. During Training Camp he will need to learn a playbook that is the size of a J.R.R. Tolkien novel and build chemistry with his teammates.

Goff tries to make a good first impression with his new team when he purchases 60 fans for the offense and coaches on the first day of training camp. It was a nice gesture to overcome the lack of air-conditioning, but as coach Fisher explains:

"So the offense has fans and the defense doesn't? That's a great way to start with your new teammates."

Goff get's plenty of rookie hazing during "Hard Knocks," as coaches and players make fun of him for his love of Taylor Swift, and we learn that Goff did not know which direction the sun rises and sets (hint: it rises in the east and sets in the west).

The sun rising conundrum becomes an ongoing joke throughout the episode as we learn that a lot of players on the LA Rams have no idea which direction it rises and sets also.

In the end, Goff impresses some of his teammates with some pin-point accuracy passes and stays late after practice ends to work on throws with receivers—most notably Kenny Britt.

5. Tavon Austin Plays Pokemon Go:

On the first day of Training Camp, the Rams get quite the scare when star wideout, Tavon Austin has to get carted off the field for dehydration. Austin explains that he drank a lot of water, but only ate two bananas that day and thus the reason behind is injury is explained.

Coach Fisher is not impressed and neither are his teammates. "He's too fast to go out like that."

Thankfully, Austin overcomes his rocky start to training camp, and decides to improve his conditioning by playing some late-night Pokemon Go with a young Rams' intern.

Austin and the kid cruise around the UC Irvine campus hunting Pokemon in search of Pikachu. At first, Austin seemed hesitant about the game, but by the end, he's hooked.

Episode 2 of "Hard Knocks" will air live on HBO on Tuesday, August 16, 2016 at 10:00 PM PST.

 

CAUTION: Many of the videos in this story contain language that is NSFW.



Photo Credit: Harry How/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Rams' 'Hard Knocks' Documentary Premieres Tuesday]]>Tue, 09 Aug 2016 19:20:06 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/rams-AP_527325428406.jpg

The five-part documentary series "Hard Knocks: Training Camp with the Los Angeles Rams," premieres at 10 p.m. Tuesday night on HBO.

A 30-person NFL Films crew has been shooting more than 1,500 hours of footage at the Rams training camp at UC Irvine. Camera and sound crews have unencumbered access to the players' and coaches' meeting rooms, training rooms, living quarters and practice fields.

"Hard Knocks" is in its 11th season and has received 14 Sports Emmy Awards. The last six teams featured have equaled or improved their record from the previous season.

The Rams are the first NFC West team featured.

From the moment it was announced the Rams would be returning to the Los Angeles market, this franchise felt like a natural for the next season of 'Hard Knocks,'" said Ken Rodgers, NFL Films coordinating producer.

Being the subject of "Hard Knocks" has been an "exciting process" and fun, not a distraction, Rams coach Jeff Fisher said last week.

"We've had several discussions with the team prior to their arrival," Fisher said. "One of the things that was discussed numerous times was, after a couple of days it's almost (as) if (the cameras) disappear. The players are out here to help win games and to improve, not to make a movie. They're not actors, they're players."



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[LA Rams Take Over Coliseum]]>Sat, 06 Aug 2016 23:09:05 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Rams-practice-at-Coliseum-8-6-16.JPG

"Walking down the tunnel for some of these guys for the first time was a cool experience for them, thinking that this is going to be home for a while, so let's make the most of it, and let's make it our place to play," Los Angeles Rams coach Jeff Fisher said on Saturday.

Thousands of fans had come out to support the return of the NFL to LA, as the Los Angeles Rams returned to the LA Memorial Coliseum for the first time in decades.

"That was really fun," Fisher addressed the crowd after the practice, which also doubled as Family Day. "It wouldn't have been possible if it wasn't for you guys, so we appreciate you coming out."

Saturday also marked one full week since the team convened, so the return to the Coliseum served as a symbolic end to the grueling start of training camp. The team has been conducting its practices at the University of California at Irvine, where the Rams will return for the remaining sessions.

"This will conclude that first difficult phase of training camp," Fisher said to a sea of cameras and reporters. "You couldn't think of a better way than to do it here, in front of the fans in this environment. It was really fun. Players had a blast."

Fisher, who attended the University of Southern California and played at the Coliseum as a collegiate athlete, appeared to be in tremendous spirits. The coach made it clear that Saturday's session improved the team, and the avoidance of injuries was a welcome bonus after what Fisher referred to as a "physical" practice.

"We most definitely got better today," Rams running back Todd Gurley II agreed with his coach's assessment. "Offense, defense, we definitely got better today."

Also, the no. 1 pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, quarterback Jared Goff, looked particularly sharp. When Goff threw a touchdown to the corner of the end zone in a drill that pitted wide-receivers versus defensive backs, the crowd went wild.

"I can't believe I didn't bring up Jared to start with," Fisher said when the first question about the Rams' backup quarterback came in. "I don't know if you saw the two-minute drill, that stuff was real…I mean he was locked in, focused and he knew exactly where the play clock was, game clock, timeouts, everything."

Fisher added about Goff, "He had a good day today. That's good for him to finish up the week on a really good note, and now he can get his mind right for next weekend."

"I think every day I've been trying to improve, and slowly but surely, I feel like I'm been getting better every day," Goff said. "So, I would expect the next practice to be even better."

Goff added, "Sure, I'm starting to settle in a little bit and feel a little more comfortable. And I'm reiterating what I keep saying, but the more comfortable I feel, the more in control I feel, the more confident I'm going to be and the better I'm going to play."

A week from Saturday, the Rams host the Dallas Cowboys at the LA Coliseum in a preseason exhibition game. In effect, Saturday's family session served as a test run through of all the NFL equipment and going through all the protocols that will be in place when an opposing team turns up on Aug. 13.

"Come see us Saturday, a week from tonight," Fisher told the crowd over the loud speaker at the new yet familiar home of the Rams. "We go the Cowboys here."



Photo Credit: Shahan Ahmed]]>
<![CDATA[LA Rams Practicing at LA Coliseum on Saturday]]>Thu, 04 Aug 2016 23:28:39 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/LA-Rams-Training-Camp-7-30-16.JPG

On Friday, the 2016 Olympics hold their opening ceremonies in the Olympic Stadium in Rio de Janeiro. A day later, the Los Angeles Rams reclaim the site of the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles.

The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum will open its doors to the public, as the Los Angeles Rams return to downtown LA with a special training camp practice session on Saturday. The camera team from HBO Sports' Hard Knocks documentary series will be on the field filming, and scores of football fans from the San Gabriel Valley to the San Fernando Valley expect to pile into the stadium.

The Rams have drawn massive crowds already, as the first practice open to the public drew an eye-popping 10,112 fans to the campus of the University of California, at Irvine. Exactly a week later, the Rams will put on pads, practice running plays and prepare for the start of the NFL season at the Coliseum.

For the Rams’ young stars and proven veterans alike, Saturday will be the first time playing on the grass of the Coliseum. For a generation of fans, Saturday will also be the first time they see a professional football team playing in the heart of LA.

Coach Jeff Fisher and his players have set up camp down in Irvine for the preseason, and their offseason practice sessions took place in Oxnard. Seemingly, the Rams have been circling around the city, and finally, Los Angeles gets its first taste of the NFL. Saturday may draw big crowds for a practice, but it is only the start of the NFL madness expected to grip the city.

After Saturday's session, the Rams will return to Irvine for Monday's open practice. However, a week from Saturday will mark the Rams’ first preseason game. On Aug. 13, in a preseason game that will be nationally televised on ESPN, the LA Rams and the Dallas Cowboys will face off in the LA Coliseum.

The Rams also host the Kansas City Chiefs at home on Aug. 20 in an exhibition game. Then, the team hits the road for two preseason games before flying up to Northern California and opening the 2016 regular season against the San Francisco 49ers on Sept. 12.

In all, the Rams will play seven regular season home games at the LA Coliseum for the 2016 NFL season, starting with the Seattle Seahawks on Sept. 18 and ending with the Arizona Cardinals on New Year's Day. The Rams also play in London against the New York Giants, which counts as a home game for LA.

Saturday's practice session will begin at 3:00 p.m. Pacific Time.



Photo Credit: Shahan Ahmed 2016]]>
<![CDATA[LAPD Union Wants Rams to Pony Up for Security]]>Wed, 03 Aug 2016 19:16:10 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/rams-AP_527325428406.jpg

The Los Angeles Police Protective League on Wednesday demanded that Stan Kroenke, the billionaire owner of the Rams, pay the full cost for necessary police services to ensure public safety at the team's home games as long as it plays at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

"The estimated cost to provide police protection at Ram games is approximately $2 million a year," LAPPL spokesman Dustin DeRollo said.

"Thus far the Rams have not agreed to pay their fair share of policing costs and this will drain police coverage in other areas of our city," DeRollo said. "The LAPPL is also urging Mayor Eric Garcetti to reject any requests for sweetheart deals funded by the taxpayers for the NFL team."

The temporary location of the Rams in Los Angeles has created a need for more than 200 police officers to ensure adequate safety at every home game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, DeRollo said. A stadium scheduled to open in 2019 is being built for the Rams in Inglewood.

"This comes at a time when the LAPD has critically low staffing levels and the city of Los Angeles has experienced a dramatic increase in violent crime and property crime over the past two years," DeRollo said.

The Rams issued a statement saying the team is "working with the LAPD to find solutions that work for everyone — in fact, we have a few meetings already scheduled with LAPD and USC leadership in the coming weeks."

"'The safety of fans attending our games is a priority and we are appreciative of the great team at LAPD and other agencies that will be part of our game-day security operation for helping ensure a safe environment for our guests."

LAPD officials said that in addition to meetings with the team and Coliseum representatives, the department has also consulted with the National Football League to discuss security policies.

"Discussions regarding cost-recovery will continue to be part of our ongoing conversations with the Los Angeles Coliseum and Los Angeles Rams," according to the LAPD. "Additionally, the majority of department personnel

utilized for upcoming games will not be from various patrol divisions, minimizing the impact on the other communities of Los Angeles."

The LAPPL union represents the more than 9,900 sworn members of the Los Angeles Police Department.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[LA Rams Draw Over 10,000 Fans at Training Camp]]>Sat, 30 Jul 2016 19:37:19 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/LA-Rams-Training-Camp-7-30-16.JPG

On Saturday, the Los Angeles Rams opened training camp on the campus of University of California, Irvine, and hordes of fans turned up to show love and respect for the return of NFL football to LA.

"Walking on the field was cool, seeing a lot of people out here, people yelling and screaming," Rams rookie quarterback Jared Goff, who was selected with the no. 1 overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, said after practice. "It's awesome to be back in LA and have what looks like a pretty big fan base that we have. For them to be out here, I'm not sure what the number was, but I'm sure it was a lot."

Goff added about the fan support, "It's really exciting, and it's really exciting for not only myself but the whole team and the whole city."

According the Rams, the official number was 10,112 in attendance at Crawford Field.

"I didn't know it was going to be like that," Rams running back Todd Gurley II said with a smile. "Coach warned us it was going to be a lot of people out here, so it was pretty cool to have everybody come out."

"It was great," Rams coach Jeff Fisher chimed in about the crowd but also understood the extra challenges that arrived with the scores of people. "We talked to players about it last night that there were going to be quite a few people here. They were really excited. We gathered them up right before we started just to calm them down. When the atmosphere is the way it was and the fans and the support, there's a tendency to go a little quicker, earlier in practice than you should. I just encouraged them to make sure they got warmed up and got to full speed so they didn't have any issues."

"It was great to come out of the locker room, if you will, and see the fans and see the stands full. That's real exciting," Fisher continued. "The atmosphere is certainly going to help. It's going to help us. It's going to help [the players] focus, to help them prepare. It's exciting for them."

With regards to the actual practice, Fisher spoke glowingly about the conditioning tests that the players had completed and pointed to the rookies testing as well or better than as any previous rookie class that came to mind. Fisher also sounded happy with Goff's progress during the offseason and commended the quarterback for the work he had put in.

The rookie did throw an interception that resulted in the fans reacting loudly before eventually falling into supportive chants of the quarterback's first name. To his credit, Goff said he felt comfortable on the whole, though the rookie and his center clearly had a small issue on the transfer while hiking the football.

After practice, Goff showed his professionalism by spending extra time working on the issue, repeatedly snapping the ball, before coming over to talk to the media.

The Rams will continue to practice in Irvine, but the team expects to draw an even bigger crowd during the team's open practice at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on Saturday, Aug. 6. A week later, the LA Rams will return to play their first preseason game at the same venue and begin a new era of NFL football in Los Angeles.

Notes: Fisher said that running back Tre Mason had been listed as "did not report" because the team has not had any contact with the player during the offseason. Rob Havenstein is on the Physically Unable to Perform list due to a foot issue and is expected back in a couple of weeks.



Photo Credit: Shahan Ahmed 2016]]>
<![CDATA[Rams Training Camp: How to Watch]]>Fri, 29 Jul 2016 10:49:26 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/181*120/AP_16201511852045.jpg

The Los Angeles Rams have opened their first training camp since their return to Southern California.

The team will prepare for the NFL season at the University of California, Irvine, two decades after the team left the region for St. Louis. The camp includes 16 practices at UCI that will be open to the public and an Aug. 6 scrimmage at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

"We look forward to training at UCI in preparation for the 2016 season," Rams Head Coach Jeff Fisher said. "Their facilities are top-notch and we're excited to welcome our fans to their campus and also to the Coliseum as we gear up for the start of the season."

All open practices are free to the public. Gates opens 90 minutes prior to the start of practice and selected players will be available to sign autographs.

Training Camp Schedule, Autographs Lineup 

  • Saturday, July 30: Practice 3:30 p.m., Defensive Line
  • Sunday, July 31: Practice 3:30 p.m., Offensive Line
  • Tuesday, August 2: Practice 3:30 p.m., Defensive Backs
  • Wednesday, August 3: Practice 3:30 p.m., QBs and TEs
  • Friday, August 5: Practice 3:30 p.m., RBs and WRs
  • Saturday, August 6: Coliseum scrimmage 3 p.m., TDB
  • Monday, August 8: Practice 3:30 p.m., LBs and TEs
  • Tuesday, August 9: Practice 3:30 p.m., Defensive Line
  • Thursday, August 11: Practice 10 a.m., Offensive Line
  • Monday, August 15: Practice 4:30 p.m., Defensive Backs
  • Tuesday, August 16: Practice 3:30 p.m., QBs and TEs
  • Wednesday, August 17: Practice 3:30 p.m., RBs and WRs
  • Thursday, August 18: Practice 5:30 p.m., LBs and special teams
  • Monday, August 22: Practice 4:30 p.m., Defensive Line
  • Tuesday, August 23: Practice 3:30 p.m., Defensive Backs
  • Wednesday, August 24: Practice 3:30 p.m., QBs and TEs
  • Thursday, August 25: Practice 4:30 p.m., Team

Directions

Click here for directions to UC Irvine's campus.

Parking and Prices 

Parking will be available at the Mesa Parking Structure next to the Bren Events Center on the UC Irvine campus.

  • General Permit: $10/day
  • General Permit for Oversized Vehicles: $20/day
  • Full Training Camp Pass: $140
  • Full Training Camp Pass for Oversized Vehicles: $280

 

For a parking map, use this printable PDF Map

 

The LA Rams will play their first preseason game on Aug. 13 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and open the regular season on Sept. 12 at Levi's Stadium against the San Francisco 49ers. The Rams will play at home in Los Angeles for the first time since 1994 on Sept. 18 against the Seattle Seahawks.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Green Ticket Is Good as Gold at LA Rams Job Fair]]>Fri, 29 Jul 2016 13:31:40 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/212*120/07-29-2016-rams-ticket-jahman-1.JPG

Jahman Ingram had a big smile on his face when he arrived around midnight for Friday's Los Angeles Rams job fair in South Los Angeles.

That smile was even larger Friday morning when he left the hiring event with a green ticket, meaning he found a job. 

"I'm so happy," said Ingram. "I finally get to be able to work and to make some money."

Ingram was one of hundreds of job seekers who lined up overnight to apply for the thousands of positions offered for Los Angeles Rams events. The Rams, back in Southern California after two decades in St. Louis, teamed up with the South Los Angeles Workforce Center, offering over 5,000 positions for guest services, ticket takers, ushers, security officers, and event staff.

"You need no experience for the position," said Arthur Guerrero of the Workforce Center.

What you do need is energy, said Guerrero.

"Like working with the public, and like working with sports," said Guerrero.

Ingram turned out the be a good fit. He aced the interview at the EXPO Center to land the job.

"I'm looking for anything, really," said Ingram. "Mostly customer service, guest services, ushers, anything where I can interact with people because I'm a people person."

Marcus Meshack, in a suit and tie, said he came to the event after losing his job just two days ago.

"I'm out here and I'm pounding the pavement so I can provide for my child," he said.

The job fair requires that applicants bring their driver's liscense, a social security card and that you be dressed for a professional interview.

Those hired in previous job fairs have gone on not only to work for the Rams, but various Los Angeles entertainment events.

Attendees must apply online prior to the event. 

A similar event in April drew job seekers who waited overnight to get in line. 
The LA Rams will play their first preseason game on Aug. 13 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and open the regular season on Sept. 12 at Levi's Stadium against the San Francisco 49ers. The Rams will make their home regular season debut on Sept 18 against the Seattle Seahawks.

A similar event in April drew job seekers who waited overnight to get in line. 

The LA Rams will play their first preseason game on Aug. 13 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and open the regular season on Sept. 12 at Levi's Stadium against the San Francisco 49ers. 

The Rams will play at home in Los Angeles for the first time since 1994 on Sept. 18 against the Seattle Seahawks.



Photo Credit: KNBC-TV]]>
<![CDATA[LA Rams Stadium Development in Inglewood]]>Wed, 28 Dec 2016 14:37:36 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/214*120/12-28-2016-rams-aerial-stadium-1.jpgA new neighborhood is being built around the future stadium of the LA Rams bringing new plans for hotels, apartments, townhomes and more.
It has been nearly two years since the groundbreaking of the future home of the LA Rams at the demolition site of the former Hollywood Park Racetrack.
Residents who live and work in the area of 1050 S Prairie Avenue are already making big plans, despite the fact that the stadium itself isn’t expected to be complete until the 2019 NFL season.

Photo Credit: HKS]]>
<![CDATA[For Rams Rookies, It's Back to Dorm Life]]>Thu, 28 Jul 2016 10:11:23 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/LA-Rams-begin-OTAs.jpg

Jared Goff showed up to the UC Irvine dorms a bit ahead of his fellow rookies Tuesday, getting a quick start on his first training camp with the Los Angeles Rams.

In truth, the Rams' quarterback of the future has been trying to get a head start since shortly after the team wrapped up offseason workouts a month ago. The No. 1 draft pick has been working out at a high school near the Rams' new Thousand Oaks home base alongside fellow quarterback Case Keenum, rookie receivers Pharoh Cooper and Nelson Spruce and several others.

They don't want to waste a moment in their quest to make the Rams' homecoming season a success.

"We were out there... just running our routes and getting our chemistry down," Cooper said. "I had to get into the playbook, myself. (Goff) was calling plays, and I forgot some of them. I went to Jared's house a couple of times and hit the playbook with him."

The Rams decided not to make Goff available to the large contingent of media watching the rookies' arrival at camp Tuesday. Several cameras, including the crew from HBO's "Hard Knocks" series, shadowed the rookies' every move, and they'll do the same to the veterans on Thursday.

Keeping expectations at a manageable level will be a major task for coach Jeff Fisher and the Rams, who don't want their prize passer to carry any more burdens than the expectations and responsibilities already heaped on his shoulders. The Rams say they won't be concerned whether Goff or Keenum starts their season opener at San Francisco in early September.

"We're going to coach (Goff) to be successful, and we're not going to put him in with a chance to fail," Fisher said last month after the Rams' final practice. "That's the most important thing in developing a young quarterback."

Goff has several weeks and four preseason games to get ready, and he'll have plenty of help from the youngsters making the journey with him.

When Cooper rolled up to campus in a new Porsche with cameras following his every move, his fancy wheels and broad grin couldn't hide his level of excited anxiety about the weeks ahead.

"About a 10 out of 10," Cooper said to describe his level of nervousness.

The Rams eased into their first offseason back in California by spending the past six months headquartered at a fully functional training complex in coastal Oxnard. That complex is the Dallas Cowboys' annual home for training camp, so the Rams had to pack up and move more than 100 miles southeast to Orange County for their own camp.

The players will share dormitories at UC Irvine for the next five weeks or so -- longer than most teams stay in residency at training camp -- because the Rams are still putting the finishing touches on their new in-season training complex in Thousand Oaks. The Rams aren't exactly roughing it on UC Irvine's beautiful campus, and the players hope this extended trip back to school will build their chemistry.

"I thought I left college, but it seems like we're right back at it," rookie tight end Temarrick Hemingway said. "I guess I'll get my textbooks and start studying for my chemistry test tomorrow."

The rookies get a few extra workouts before the veterans report, and the Rams hope they'll make an impact. All but one of Los Angeles' draftees are offensive players, addressing the obvious needs of the NFL's worst passing offense last season.

"It's exciting to be back," Cooper said. "I'm looking forward to having fun, competing and just making plays out here again."

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Rams Return: What to Know About the Move Back to LA]]>Fri, 29 Jul 2016 05:50:33 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/200*120/04-29-2016-rams-helmet-generic-1.jpg

The Rams are returning to the Los Angeles area 21 years after leaving for St. Louis. The move was approved Jan. 12, 2016 at a meeting of league owners in Houston.

Below, a look at what happened and what's next for the NFL in LA.

What happened at the owners meeting in Houston?
A long day of votes and revotes ended with 30 of 32 NFL owners approving Rams owner Stan Kroenke's ambitious plan to move his team from St. Louis to the site of the old Hollywood Park racetrack in Inglewood. Earlier in the day, a committee recommended a project in Carson that would have been shared by the Raiders and Chargers.

What about the Chargers and Raiders?
The Chargers have a yearlong option to join the Rams, followed by the Raiders if the San Diego franchise declines. The relocation agreement gives the Chargers and Raiders $100 million each if they build new stadiums in their current markets, but a stadium plan is required within a year.

When will the Rams move?
The team is scheduled to begin play in the Los Angeles area at the start of the 2016 season.

Where will they play?
The team will likely play in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum until the new Inglewood stadium is ready in 2019, according to Kevin Demoff, the Rams vice president of operations.

What is the name of the stadium?
The Rams have to wait at least a year to negotiate naming rights on the new stadium unless they reach a deal with a second team before then.

What about tickets?
Visit WelcomeHomeRams.com for details. Fans can make a deposit to get on a waiting list for tickets.

Where will the team practice?
Oxnard is a possible location, said Demoff. But the team will look at several options.

When did the Rams last play in the LA area?
The Rams were in the LA area from 1946-94. They left, along with the Raiders, after the 1994 NFL season.

Why did the Rams want to move?
St. Louis had a plan for an open-air, $1.1 billion stadium along the Mississippi River north of the Gateway Arch to replace the Edward Jones Dome. But Kroenke mostly ignored the city's overtures, and the NFL commissioner said the requirement of at least $200 million from the NFL was double what league policy allowed. Kroenke also has said St. Louis' economy makes it difficult for an NFL franchise to thrive there.

How did the Rams do last season?
The Rams finished 7-9 under coach Jeff Fisher, third in the NFC West. Three Rams earned trips to the Pro Bowl: defensive tackle Aaron Donald, rookie running back Todd Gurley and punter Johnny Hekker.



Photo Credit: Getty]]>
<![CDATA[Rams Officially Release Nick Foles]]>Wed, 27 Jul 2016 15:35:30 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Rams-release-Nick-Foles.jpg

On Wednesday, the Los Angeles Rams officially announced that the team had released quarterback Nick Foles.

The news came with little surprise, as the Rams had traded up to pick quarterback Jared Goff with the no. 1 pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. With Case Keenum also on the roster, Foles appeared to be the odd man out, and the former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback did not take part in offseason workouts, with Rams coach Jeff Fisher hinting that the team would be looking to trade the quarterback.

With training camp starting on Saturday for the Rams and no trade forthcoming, Fisher and company finally decided to release the quarterback considered surplus to requirements.

"We have been in contact with Nick and his representation throughout the offseason and we feel that this is the best decision for all parties involved," Rams Head Coach Jeff Fisher said in a team statement. "We appreciate the contributions that Nick has made to our organization in his time as a Ram and wish him the best of luck in his future endeavors."

Foles originally joined the Rams in 2015 via trade, started 11 games and threw for 2,052 yard and seven touchdowns during the 2015 NFL season.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Rams Single-Game Tickets to Go on Sale Thursday]]>Tue, 26 Jul 2016 20:46:30 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/TOPIC_VIDEO_RAMS_KNBCBIA2_1200x675_729059395532.jpg

A limited number of Los Angeles Rams single-game tickets will go on sale Thursday morning through Ticketmaster.

Rams season tickets sold out at the beginning of July. About 56,000 people put down deposits for season tickets, and the team ultimately sold about 70,000. Fans who placed deposits but did not get season tickets were given priority for single-game tickets sold over the past few weeks. The team held back some of those tickets so that other fans would have the chance to see a game.

"Our fans have welcomed us home to Los Angeles with great passion," Rams Vice President Jake Bye said. "We are pleased to be able to offer them an opportunity to purchase a ticket to experience Rams football in-person during this historic season."

A Rams spokesperson said a "very limited number" of tickets will go on sale to the public at 10 a.m. Thursday. The tickets start at $40, and the team expects them to sell out that morning.

The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum will hold about 80,000 people for Rams games this fall, though it may expand to 90,000 for certain games, the spokesperson said.

The Rams will play two preseason games at the Coliseum before the regular season starts in September. The first will be on Aug. 13 against the Dallas Cowboys, and the second will be on Aug. 20 against the Kansas City Chiefs. Their first regualr season game will be on Sept. 18 against the Seattle Seahawks.

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<![CDATA[Fans Relive Rams Memories in St. Louis]]>Tue, 26 Jul 2016 08:00:07 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/AP_16193495654777.jpg

Six months after the Rams packed up and left for Southern California, more than 40 former St. Louis Rams players and coaches took to the field Saturday at their former home for a flag football game.

Former wide receiver Isaac Bruce organized the event at the Edward Jones Dome, with proceeds benefiting his foundation, which works to teach St. Louis youth the importance of education and a healthy lifestyle. Bruce brought his former teammates together to thank the fans for their support after owner Stan Kroenke moved the franchise to Los Angeles on Jan. 12 following 21 years in St. Louis.

"It exceeded my expectations, man," Bruce said. "You've got friends, they're still hanging around. It was great. They had a good time."

For many of the players, it was a chance to relive memories of an era known as The Greatest Show on Turf, from 1999-2004, which saw the team make two Super Bowl appearances, winning the NFL championship in 1999.

"You're right back in the locker room," said former defensive tackle D'Marco Farr, who played in St. Louis from 1995-2000. "No matter how long you've been gone, no matter how long you haven't been teammates, once you get together, you're teammates again."

Dick Vermeil, who coached the team in the 1999 Super Bowl, and Mike Martz, who coached the team in the 2002 Super Bowl, returned to lead the squads along with former assistants Al Saunders and Jim Hanifan.

"It was such a classy thing for the St. Louis people to do because it could have been just the opposite," Vermeil said. "In a way, the Rams have given them a reason not to like us anymore, but they came back and really showed class. I think everybody really appreciates it and I think they still appreciate us."

More than 10,000 fans attended the event.

At halftime, former All Pro offensive tackle Orlando Pace was honored for his upcoming enshrinement in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

"He was the MVP of what we were doing," Bruce said. "So I was honored to honor him here at halftime."

The Rams open training camp next week in Orange County with cautious optimism they can end their 11-year playoff drought in front of their next generation of LA fans. Even late-season contention for a postseason berth would be an enormous boost for a team that did almost nothing to inspire passion over its final dozen years in Missouri.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[Rams to Open Training Camp: 'We're in a Good Spot']]>Thu, 21 Jul 2016 12:25:07 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/197*120/07--21-2016-jared-goff-rams.jpg

By almost any measure, the Rams' return to Los Angeles appears to be going well.

The players and coaches are fully settled in Southern California. The franchise's infrastructure is replanting its roots in the community. A palatial new stadium is preparing to rise in Inglewood.

Except now it's time to see how these Los Angeles Rams measure up in the standings -- and that's where the St. Louis edition of this franchise was a failure for the past decade.

The Rams open training camp next week in Orange County with cautious optimism they can end their 11-year playoff drought in front of their next generation of LA fans. Even late-season contention for a postseason berth would be an enormous boost for a team that did almost nothing to inspire passion over its final dozen years in Missouri.

"We know our goal has to be playoffs," defensive lineman Aaron Donald said. "We're thinking about that every day. That's what you want to do for the fans. We don't want to wait."

The Rams' hopes are built around a revitalization of the NFL's worst offense last season. They're placing an enormous bet on the developing talents of No. 1 draft pick Jared Goff at quarterback and budding star Todd Gurley at running back.

Coach Jeff Fisher kept his job after four straight losing seasons in part because of his experience in moving an NFL franchise, but he also realizes the urgency created by the Rams' move and their big trade to acquire Goff.

"I feel like we're in a good spot," Fisher said. "Considering everything that we've gone through, I feel like we've accomplished a great deal."

Here are five things to know about the Rams' homecoming season in Southern California:

HE'S NO. 1: While Gurley is the Rams' highest-profile star, all eyes will be on Goff. Rams general manager Les Snead mortgaged a portion of their future to get the California quarterback, deciding they could wait no longer to address the sputtering offense's most glaring need. Fisher initially said he hoped Goff would start the season opener, but has de-emphasized that aspiration lately. Whether it's Week 1 or Week 10, Goff will be the Rams' starter at some point, and his ability to adjust to the pro game could play a major role in determining whether the Rams can contend.

MAN IN THE MIDDLE: Alec Ogletree is another key to the Rams' hopes after they cut linebacker James Laurinaitis, the leading tackler in franchise history. His replacement is Ogletree, the former weakside linebacker now calling the defensive signals. He'll also have to show Laurinaitis' nose for the ball if the Rams don't want to take a step back on defense.

SECONDARY CONCERNS: The Rams waved goodbye to cornerback Janoris Jenkins, who signed a lavish free-agent deal with the Giants, and safety Rodney McLeod. Although they signed Coty Sensabaugh, they'll try to fill the vacancies in their secondary from within. E.J. Gaines seems likely to replace Jenkins on the corner opposite Trumaine Johnson, while Lamarcus Joyner should see more time in the slot.

HOME SWEET HOME?: Until owner Stan Kroenke finishes his billion-dollar stadium complex, the Rams will play at the gently dilapidated Coliseum, the home of the first Super Bowl and two Olympics. It's also still the home of the USC Trojans. The Rams have two back-to-back home dates with the college powerhouse, ensuring they'll play on chewed-up turf. The Rams' schedule is tilted to put only two home games before November, along with three more after the Trojans' season ends. They'll only play seven regular-season home games in total, thanks to their trip to London in October. Their preseason home opener is Aug. 13, but the homecoming really begins Sept. 18 when former USC coach Pete Carroll and the Seahawks visit.

TEMPORARY BASE: The Rams will spend about a month in their training camp facilities at UC Irvine. Their new in-season training complex in Thousand Oaks, where most players are already living, won't be ready until shortly before the regular season. The Rams' first season back home clearly requires everybody to navigate upheaval, but it's too soon to tell whether the players' preparation will be bothered by these frequent shifts around the Southland.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[5,000 Positions Offered at LA Rams Job Fair]]>Fri, 29 Jul 2016 05:29:01 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/belltheblake.jpg

Los Angeles is hosting an NFL team for the first time in more than 20 years and employees are wanted.

The Los Angeles Rams are teaming up with the South Los Angeles Workforce Center to hold a job fair Friday, offering over 5,000 positions for guest services, ticket takers, ushers, security officers, and event staff.

"You need no experience for the position," said Arthur Guerrero of the Workforce Center.

The job fair requires that applicants bring their driver's liscense, a social security card and that you be dressed for a professional interview.

Those hired in previous job fairs have gone on not only to work for the Rams, but various Los Angeles entertainment events.

Attendees must apply online prior to the event. 

A similar event in April drew job seekers who waited overnight to get in line. 
The LA Rams will play their first preseason game on Aug. 13 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and open the regular season on Sept. 12 at Levi's Stadium against the San Francisco 49ers. The Rams will make their home regular season debut on Sept 18 against the Seattle Seahawks.

A similar event in April drew job seekers who waited overnight to get in line. 

The LA Rams will play their first preseason game on Aug. 13 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and open the regular season on Sept. 12 at Levi's Stadium against the San Francisco 49ers. 

The Rams will play at home in Los Angeles for the first time since 1994 on Sept. 18 against the Seattle Seahawks.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Los Angeles to Host Super Bowl in 2021]]>Tue, 24 May 2016 18:28:33 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/207*120/01-12-2016-nfl-generic-field-football.jpg

Los Angeles will be back in the Super Bowl spotlight after more than two decades.

The NFL announced Tuesday that LA will host the game in 2021 at the Rams' new $2.6 billion stadium in Inglewood, which opens in 2019. The league also announced at its owners meeting that Miami will host the game in 2020 and Atlanta in 2019.

The three cities made significant financial investments in new stadiums or recently upgraded an existing one.

Los Angeles has not hosted a Super Bowl in the area since 1993 in the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. Five Super Bowls have been played at the Rose Bowl and two at the Los Angeles Coliseum, where the Rams will play until the new stadium opens.

"Los Angeles is built to host the Super Bowl," said LA Mayor Eric Garcetti. "We helped forge this great American tradition as its very first host in 1967; and now, at long last, we're bringing it back where it belongs."

The NFL has been eager to return to Southern California since the Rams and Raiders moved out of the area after the 1994 season. League owners approved the Rams' return from St. Louis at a meeting earlier this year, with owner Stan Kroenke's promise of a stunning new stadium -- one that will be the most expensive in the league.

"The City of Inglewood is thrilled to be the host for the most watched, single sporting event in the world, Super Bowl 55," said Inglewood Mayor James Butts. "Working with the City of Los Angeles, we intend to help make it the greatest fan experience in the history of the NFL. After a 20 year hiatus, professional football is back."

Atlanta will host its third Super Bowl, but the first at its new $1.4 billion stadium which opens in 2017. The previous two were at the Georgia Dome.

Miami will have its record-setting 11th Super Bowl following a $450 million stadium renovation, a common theme among recent Super Bowl site contenders.

Last year's Super Bowl was played in Santa Clara, California, after the 49ers built a stadium. Minneapolis will host a Super Bowl in 2018 with a new stadium that opens this season.

"I think if they find guys like me that are willing to do it, I think they want to show them that it is worthwhile," Rams owner Stan Kroenke said. "It shows that the communities and the owners who are willing to make these investments and stick their necks out, if you will, that it is worthwhile and they believe in them long term."

New York-New Jersey, Indianapolis, Dallas and Detroit all received Super Bowl bids in the past after spending millions on new stadiums.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Getty]]>
<![CDATA[Homes and More Coming to Site of LA Rams Stadium]]>Wed, 18 May 2016 21:11:37 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/221*120/inglewood-lake-rams-051816.jpg

A new neighborhood is going up around the future stadium of the LA Rams bringing new plans for hotels, apartments, town homes and more.

It has been nearly two years since the groundbreaking of the future home of the LA Rams at the demolition site of the former Hollywood Park Racetrack.

Residents who live and work in the area of 1050 S Prairie Avenue are already making big plans, despite the fact that the stadium itself isn't expected to be complete until the 2019 NFL season.

"I am overwhelmed. I am joyful. I am excited," Theadora Welch, who works in Inglewood, said. "The community needs this."

Welch is looking to buy an apartment in the area. The neighborhood is on its way to being transformed into a hub around the football stadium, considering the Rams left LA some 20 years ago.

"I am shopping now to make sure I get a good deal," Welch said.

Since breaking ground in 2014, the former site of the thoroughbred racetrack is on its way to featuring nearly 3,000 homes and apartments, retail stores, including a luxury hotel. Al of the new development will take up an anticipated 238 acres of land in the heart of Inglewood.

But it's not just the potential of living in a burgeoning city space. Keith Bradley is hoping the development will bring more business.

"It will make it a more productive city," Bradley said. "It will help get some jobs in here."

The project's website features employment opportunities that are to be offered at various stages of the construction. 

 Stage one includes the completed stadium, a man-made lake on four acres, along with a new park.

The Hollywood Park Casino is to remain open during construction.

The Hollywood Park construction project company will be holding a community meeting on Thursday at 7 p.m. to answer questions about the project and street work. The open meeting with be held at the Hollywood Park Casino Pavilion in the Breeders Cup Room at 3883 W. Century Boulevard.

The Rams' first preseason game is on Aug. 13 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. On Sept. 12, they open the regular season at Levi's Stadium battling the San Francisco 49ers. The Rams will make their home regular season debut on Sept. 18 against the Seattle Seahawks.



Photo Credit: http://www.hollywoodparklife.com and Hart Howerton]]>
<![CDATA[Rams Fans Counting Down to Seat Selection Kickoff]]>Thu, 12 May 2016 11:23:04 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/200*120/GettyImages-501215722.jpg

The Rams on Thursday will begin reaching out to fans who placed deposits on season tickets for the team's upcoming games at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

More than 56,000 people placed $100 deposits for season tickets earlier this year. According to the team, those fans will be grouped into "tiered phases" based on the order in which they placed their deposit. The team will then contact those fans, who will have the chance to select their seat locations using an online portal that includes a 360-degree seat viewer to check out different views of the stadium.

Season tickets will range in price from $360 to $2,025. The team will play nine home games at the Coliseum this season.

A limited number of single-game tickets will go on sale this summer.

"We are excited to begin the process of building our season ticket fan base and creating the best home field advantage in the National Football League," Rams Vice President Jake Bye said. "Our goal is to reciprocate the passion demonstrated by our fans through a one-of-a-kind gameday experience as we kick off our first season back in Los Angeles."

Team officials said earlier that people who made deposits but aren't able to purchase tickets due to high demand will still be placed on a priority wait list for tickets at the planned Inglewood stadium, which is set to open in 2019. They will also receive exclusive access to 2016 Rams single-game tickets and playoff tickets ahead of the general public.

The Rams accepted more than 56,000 season ticket deposits during a four-week campaign propelled by the announcement a month earlier that the team will be returning to Southern California after two decades in St. Louis. The team reported more than 5,000 deposits in the first five minutes that the site was live Jan. 18.

The Rams will play in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum before moving into a new stadium in Inglewood at the start of the 2019 season. The move was announced in January month after an owners meeting in Houston.

The team finished 7-9 under coach Jeff Fisher, third in the NFC West and had a troubled attendance history in St. Louis, where a team that once produced the Super Bowl winning "Greatest Show on Turf" later struggled through a series of losing seasons. The team was consistently at the bottom of the NFL in attendance over the past decade.

The franchise played in Southern California for 49 seasons before owner Georgia Frontiere moved the Rams after the 1994 campaign.



Photo Credit: Getty]]>
<![CDATA[Rams Donate Apparel to HS Team Targeted By Vandals]]>Tue, 10 May 2016 21:04:02 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/200*120/04-29-2016-rams-helmet-generic-1.jpg

The Los Angeles Rams stepped in with a donation Tuesday to a high school football team that was victimized by vandals who broke into the coach's office.

The Rams surprised Cleveland Charter High School with team apparel after vandals broke into the office in early March and stole more than $7,000 that was raised to buy spring training equipment. A volunteer fundraiser fell short of its goal, so the Rams teamed up with Adidas Football and Gamebreaker Helmets to provide the equipment.

“We were raising money for that and on a Friday was the due date for all the money and some kids brought it in late so I didn’t turn in the money to wait and then it end up getting stolen over the weekend. And man the kids were devastated," Cleveland coach Matt Gentle said.

Rams defensive end Robert Quinn presented the apparel to coach Matt Gentle and team members Tuesday afternoon at the high school in Reseda.

“We’re just trying to do our part since we got in the city, giving back to the community. I think this makes a huge impact for Cleveland High School and the team and it shows what the Rams are all about, not just football but giving back to our community also," Quinn said.

The players were ecstatic.

“I’m grateful for this. I’m happy the Rams are able to support us and help us out here when we have trouble," said player Edwin Hernandez.

The Rams returned to Southern California after two decades in the St. Louis. Los Angeles opens preseason play at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Aug. 13 against Dallas before starting the regular season in Santa Clara against the 49ers.

The team will play at the Coliseum until a news stadium is ready in Inglewood.



Photo Credit: Getty]]>
<![CDATA[Meet the LA Rams' Newest Star, Jared Goff ]]>Fri, 29 Apr 2016 14:51:52 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/177*120/Meet+Jared+Goff.png

"With the First pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, the Los Angeles Rams select… Jared Goff, California."

And with those words a star was born.

Jared Goff was selected by the Los Angeles Rams on Thursday as the No. 1 overall selection in the 2016 NFL Draft.

Goff is a 21-year-old junior out of the University of California Berkeley. Standing at 6 feet 4 inches and 210 pounds, Goff is NFL ready and projects to be the Rams starter on Opening Day.

Goff's intangibles go beyond his physical ability. The younger passer can read defenses like a librarian reads books and his check down progressions are a thing of beauty.

"I think it's 49 touchdowns and two picks," Los Angeles Rams General Manager Les Snead said of his redzone numbers at a post draft press conference. "It's impressive."

Goff also had the advantage over No. 2 overall pick Carson Wentz out of North Dakota State. According to ESPN Stats and Information, Goff had a higher accuracy percentage, completed 60 percent of his deep balls on 3rd / 4th and long, was better under pressure, better against the blitz, and more efficient in the red zone than Wentz.

"We had both Jared and Carson in and spent a lot of time with both of them," Rams' Head Coach Jeff Fisher said. "We came away knowing both would be extraordinary quarterbacks in this league, but we feel like Jared's our guy."

Goff and Wentz have no hard feelings as both highly touted quarterbacks spoke after they went No. 1 and 2 respectively, at the NFL Draft headquarters in Chicago, IL on Thursday.

"I talked to him after he got picked and I got picked," Goff said. "We said congrats to each other and we're going to keep in touch."

Goff went 1-11 in his rookie season at Cal and has a record of 14-23 in his collegiate career. That mark, is the worst winning percentage by a starting quarterback taken No. 1 overall in the history of the NFL Draft. Despite the ugly record, Goff believes he's a better player for having gone through it.

"I'm happy I went through it. I carry it with me forever," he said. "A lot of character that year, maturity, perseverance and resiliency. It's something that I believe will help me down the line."

For those that don't know, Goff is a California kid born in Novato on October 14, 1994. He attended Kentfield Marin Catholic High School where he threw for 7,687 yards on the varsity team over three seasons. He led his school to three NCS playoff appearances, three MCAL championships, and the state title game before deciding to stay in Northern California and attend Cal Berkeley. 

Goff grew up a fan of the Bay Area teams including the Golden State Warriors, San Francisco Giants, and the 49ers (the Rams Opening Day opponent on Monday Night Football). Members of the media reminded Goff of the fact that he has publicly criticized LA stars Kobe Bryant and Yasiel Puig in the past.

"Yes, I am." Goff said when asked about it. "I wear No. 16 because of Joe Montanta and grew up a Niners and Giants fan."

When asked if he would consider changing allegiance to the Dodgers or another LA sports team, Goff was slightly open-minded. "We'll see." He simply said.

For now, fans in LA will have a new favorite son to root for on Sundays, one whose head coach believes is going to be very, very special.

"Jared has a skill set that is special," Fisher said. "He sees the field, has a quick release, he understands the quarterback position, he's going to get rid of the football and is extremely competitive. He's really exciting." 

Just how exciting Goff will be, time will tell, but for now, he's just happy to be staying in California where he can be close to his family.

"It's very special," Goff added of staying in Cali. "It's a very special thing for me and my family."

Goff will be in Downtown Los Angeles Friday afternoon where he will be introduced to the media at 2:30PM PST. NBC LA will bring you all the coverage live.



Photo Credit: Jon Durr/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Job Seekers Line Up to Apply for Work at Rams Games]]>Fri, 29 Apr 2016 13:04:46 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/200*120/04-29-2016-rams-helmet-generic-1.jpg

The Los Angeles Rams are looking for a few good employees to work at games during the team's first season back in Southern California in two decades. 

A Rams Hiring Event kicked off Friday morning, when hundreds of people will be hired to work at concerts and sporting events.

The event is at 3965 South Vermont Ave., where several applicants had already lined up Friday morning down the block. Akasia Moore was wrapped in a blanket and sitting on a folding chair as she waited for the event to kick off.

"I'm cold, I'm tired, but I'm happy," said Moore. "It's a job. I'm just happy I have the opportunity to get a job."

Later Friday morning, the line extended around the block.

"We came out here and there was actually a line, so we went back home for some chairs," said Rhonda McGlory. "I didn't know it was going to be this big."

The South LA WorkSource Center partnered with CSC, which provides event staffing services, to organize the hiring event.

Applicants should bring identification. Those hired will work at sporting events, including the Rams, USC and UCLA and the Galaxy, plus concerts.

Call 323-730-7900 ext. 227 for more information.

The LA Rams will play their first preseason game on Aug. 13 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and open the regular season on Sept. 12 at Levi's Stadium against the San Francisco 49ers. The Rams will make their home regular season debut on Sept 18 against the Seattle Seahawks.



Photo Credit: Getty]]>
<![CDATA[Rams Pick Jared Goff as NFL Draft's Top Pick]]>Thu, 28 Apr 2016 18:02:05 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/207*120/04-28-2016-jared-goff-1.jpg

Surprising almost no one, the Los Angeles Rams selected Jared Goff with the no. 1 overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. Goff is a 6-foot 4-inch quarterback who joins the NFL following his junior year at the University of California at Berkeley.

NFL: Rams Draft History

 The 21-year-old is a pro-style pocket quarterback and threw for 4,719 yards, 43 touchdowns and 13 interceptions in his final amateur season. During his draft combine workout, the NFL Network referred to Goff as "The most ready-to-play quarterback in this draft."

Originally from the Northern California city of Novato, Goff's move to Southern California marks the start of a new era in Los Angeles. Embracing the new scenery, the team held its official draft party at L.A. Live in downtown Los Angeles and a sizable crowd gathered to celebrate LA's pick. By picking Goff at no. 1, the LA Rams expect to immediately make the young quarterback the face of their franchise, alongside running back Todd Gurley II.

The Rams selected Gurley with their first round pick in 2015, and Gurley rushed for 1,106 yards and 10 touchdowns during his rookie season. In his first season in the NFL, Gurley won the honor of 2015 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, along with receiving a Pro Bowl selection. Rams coach Jeff Fisher, who was born in Culver City, attended Taft High School and played at USC, will hope that his young quarterback and running back combo can win games to keep fans in the stands and eyes glued to television sets across Southern California.

Along with the no. 1 overall selection, the Rams also have the two picks in the fourth round, no. 110 and no. 113, and two picks in the sixth round, no. 177 and no. 190. In order to acquire the no. 1 overall pick from the Tennessee Titans, the Rams traded their first round pick, two second round picks and a third round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. In addition, the Rams also gave up a first round pick and a third round pick in 2017. As a note, Fisher previous coached for the Titans' organization from 1995 to 2010.

The LA Rams will play their first preseason game on Aug. 13 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and open the regular season on Sept. 12 at Levi's Stadium against the San Francisco 49ers. The Rams will make their home regular season debut on Sept 18 against the Seattle Seahawks.

As a no. 1 overall pick, Goff should be expected to start the season under center, but the rookie will need to beat out quarterbacks Case Keenum and Nick Foles in training camp to claim the position.



Photo Credit: 2016 Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[28 Selected for Rams Cheer Team]]>Mon, 18 Apr 2016 10:37:14 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/04-18-2016-rams-cheerleading-tryouts.JPG

The Los Angeles Rams announced their 28-woman 2016-17 cheerleading team Sunday after final auditions at the Forum.

The finale concluded a two-week selection process that included preliminary auditions, professional interviews and dance rehearsals. The 66 women seeking spots on the team were judged by a panel of five men and four women, including Pro Football Hall of Fame member Marshall Faulk, who played for the Rams when they were based in St. Louis; Lisa Estrada, the Los Angeles Lakers vice president of entertainment and facilities; and John Peters, the Rams cheer choreographer.

The process began April 2 when approximately 400 women participated in preliminary auditions at Galen Center, Tiffany White, the Rams communications coordinator, told City News Service.

The Los Angeles Rams Cheerleaders were established in 1968. The cheerleaders participate in more than 1,500 hours of community service per year and squad members are featured in the annual Rams Cheerleading Swimsuit Calendar and Rams Cheer Poster, according to Keely Fimbres-Bledsoe, the Rams director of special events and cheerleaders.

The will begin their 2016 offseason workout program Monday at the Residence Inn Oxnard River Ridge. The team opens the preseason Aug. 13 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum against the Cowboys.



Photo Credit: KNBC-TV
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<![CDATA[LA Rams Trade for No. 1 Pick in NFL Draft]]>Thu, 14 Apr 2016 13:17:12 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/217*120/04-14-2016-jeff-fisher-rams.jpg

The Los Angeles Rams are now on the clock.

The team was part of a blockbuster trade announced Thursday in which the Tennessee Titans agreed to give up the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL draft to the Rams. Los Angeles also will receive the No. 113 pick in Round 4, and the No. 190 overall pick in Round 6.

In exchange, Tennessee will get several draft picks from Los Angeles --- No. 15, No. 43, No. 45, and No. 76 overall in 2016, and next year’s first- and third-round selections.

The Titans also will receive the Rams' first- and third-round round picks in the 2017 draft. Tennessee finished a lowly 3-13 last season, but now have six of the draft's first 76 picks.

The Rams, who will play at the Los  Angeles Memorial Coliseum in their first season back in Los Angeles after the move to St. Louis, have selected No. 1 overall five times in franchise history, including 2010 when they took Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford. 

NFL.com: Previous No. 1 Picks

Bradford earned Rookie of the Year honors, then signed with the Eagles in 2015. The Rams other No. 1 picks were quarterback Terry Baker in 1963, tight end Billy Cannon in 1960, quarterback Billy Wade in 1952 and running back Corby Davis in 1938.

Two quarterbacks said to be on the Rams' short list for the top pick are Carson Wentz of North Dakota State and Jared Goff from Cal. Team officials declined say who they plan to pick.

The draft, which begins April 28, is littered with disappointing No. 1 overall picks, meaning the Rams' move far from guarantees success. But the last time the franchise traded up for the No. 1 pick was in 1997, when they picked Hall of Fame offensive lineman Orlando Pace out of Ohio State.

Rams coach Jeff Fisher, who was the Titans' head coach from 1994 to 2011, said the move benefits both teams.

"(Rams owner Stan) Kroenke has continuously supported us as we've developed our team to compete for the NFC West title and playoff appearances," said Fisher. "In order to make a move of this magnitude you have to have a good trade partner. We appreciate working with the Titans on an opportunity that can benefit both organizations."

Los Angeles will open the preseason Aug. 13 at home against the Dallas Cowboys. The NFL's regular season schedule has not been announced.

The Rams will play their home games at the historic Coliseum on the USC campus until their new stadium in Inglewood is ready in 2019.

The team accepted more than 56,000 season ticket deposits during a four-week campaign propelled by the announcement in January that the Rams will be returning to Southern California after leaving for St. Louis after the 1994 season. The team reported more than 5,000 deposits in the first five minutes that the site was live Jan. 18.

The team also will be featured in the award-winning HBO documentary "Hard Knocks," which follows teams during their grueling training camps. 



Photo Credit: Getty
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<![CDATA[Rams to Open Preseason at Home Against Cowboys]]>Thu, 07 Apr 2016 13:43:46 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/200*120/04-07-2016-rams-fisher-jeff-1.jpg

The Los Angeles Rams will play the Dallas Cowboys Aug. 13 at LA Memorial Coliseum in the team's first preseason game since returning to Southern California.

The NFL released its preseason schedule Thursday. The Rams then host Kansas City before heading on the road to square off against the Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos and the NFC Central champion Minnesota Vikings.

The Aug. 13 game means a short trip for the Cowboys, who train at a facility in Oxnard during the preseason. The camp is the site of an infamous brawl between the two teams during a joint practice in August 2015. 

The regular season schedule has not been announced.

The Rams will play their home games at the historic Coliseum on the USC campus until their new stadium in Inglewood is ready in 2019.

The team accepted more than 56,000 season ticket deposits during a four-week campaign propelled by the announcement in January that the Rams will be returning to Southern California after leaving for St. Louis after the 1994 season. The team reported more than 5,000 deposits in the first five minutes that the site was live Jan. 18. 



Photo Credit: Getty]]>
<![CDATA[LA Rams Announce Season Ticket Prices]]>Fri, 01 Apr 2016 08:51:52 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Los-Angeles-Coliseum-GettyImages-482438398.jpg

Season tickets for Rams games played this fall at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum will range in price from $360 to $2,025, the team announced Thursday.

There are a total of eight price categories.

"Our current pricing structure is reflective of our goal to make Rams football and our outstanding game-day experience available to as many fans as possible," Rams Vice President Jake Bye said.

The team received 56,000 season ticket deposits from fans earlier this year. People who made deposits will be able to purchase tickets later in April. People who made deposits but aren't able to purchase tickets due to high demand will still be placed on a priority waitlist for tickets at the planned Inglewood stadium, which is set to open in 2019. They will also receive exclusive access to 2016 Rams single-game tickets and playoff tickets ahead of the general public.

A limited number of single-game tickets will be made available this summer, but prices for those tickets have not yet been announced.



Photo Credit: Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[San Diego Now Looking to Build 2 New Stadiums]]>Sun, 27 Mar 2016 10:04:16 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/308*120/New+Vision+SDSU+Facebook+Post.png

The Chargers finally have their new Downtown Stadium plan to a point where they can unveil to the public. According to sources close to the process the Bolts will make their grand presentation early next week, either Tuesday, 3/29 or Wednesday, 3/30, so they can start the clock on their quest to get a new initiative on the November ballot.

The Bolts will likely be trying to push through a so-called “Convadium,” a new stadium combined with a convention center expansion in the East Village. If they are successful they would leave vacant the current Mission Valley site that houses Qualcomm Stadium. Here, as the saying goes, is where the plot thickens.

Chargers Special Counsel Mark Fabiani has said the Bolts will be working with other business entities, among them JMI Realty. You may recall JMI is part of the business empire of former Padres owner John Moores, who is also a benefactor of San Diego State University (the Moores family made a large contribution to the school to build Tony Gwynn Stadium).

SDSU has voiced an interest in potentially developing the Mission Valley site if it ever became available. Apparently somebody knows something that the rest of us don’t know because in an interesting bit of timing, JMI Realty has already set up an event to reveal its plans for a new SDSU West Campus that will include a brand new, “boutique” stadium.

Part of the official posting on the website www.eventbrite.com describes the event like this:

“A few years ago, John Moores, ex-Padre owner and SDSU benefactor, and his JMI team began envisioning a redeveloped sports, education and business complex at the Qualcomm Stadium site in Mission Valley.  Now, as the Chargers work to develop a downtown San Diego football stadium, the JMI team, working in concert with Cisterra Development, another prominent San Diego developer, will unveil their proposal to develop the Qualcomm Stadium site into a civic gem that all SDSU alumni and San Diego County residents will claim proudly.”

It’s expected the proposed new stadium will be in the 30,000-40,000 seat range and also be available to host a MLS franchise, something Moores has been trying to bring to San Diego for more than a decade. Major League Soccer’s desire to have smaller and more modern stadiums for its teams was the biggest road block to outdoor professional soccer coming to San Diego.

The program will take place on Tuesday, April 5, starting at 7:30 a.m. at SDSU Montezuma Hall (5500 Campanile Drive, San Diego, CA 92182). Breakfast will run from 7:30-8:00 (tickets to the event are $35 each) then the presentation runs from 8:00-9:00, followed by a half-hour Q & A session. It’s expected during this meeting the speakers will present artistic renderings of the entire proposed space, from the stadium to the educational expansion. It is unknown if a financing plan will also be revealed.

Those speakers include:

John Kratzer, President and CEO of JMI Realty
Steven Black, Chairman of Cisterra Development
Steve Peace, Political Consultant
Dennis Cruzan, Founding Partner of Cruzan
Vincent Mudd, Managing Principal of Carrier Johnson

It’s interesting that Peace will be presenting. He is also deeply involved with the Chargers on their Downtown “Convadium” idea and will be among those working to explain and drum up support for the plan. His presence suggests the JMI idea for Mission Valley is directly related to the Chargers’ attempt to build a new NFL-caliber facility in Downtown San Diego.

]]>
<![CDATA[LA Rams to Star in HBO's 'Hard Knocks']]>Wed, 23 Mar 2016 07:34:54 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/203*120/03-23-2016-rams-akeem-ayers-1.jpg

The Rams' first season back in Los Angeles after a two-decade absence will be featured on the HBO documentary series "Hard Knocks," the team announced Wednesday.

The series' 11th edition will follow the Rams during training camp as they prepare for the upcoming NFL season, marking a return to Southern California after the move to St. Louis after the 1994 season. The series provides a look at the daily lives of NFL players and coaches as they go through grind of pre-season training camp.

"This is an exciting time for our franchise,” said Rams head coach Jeff Fisher. "Hard Knocks will be an outstanding way to bring our fans into our training camp and preseason, and give a glimpse of the hard work and dedication of our players, coaches and staff as we prepare for the 2016 season."

This season's five-episode run will premiere Aug. 9. The quick turnaround involves a 30-person NFL Films crew at Rams training camp and team headquarters that will shoot more than 1,500 hour of footage. The series has earned 12 Sports Emmy Awards since it launched in 2001 with a look at the Baltimore Ravens.

Other teams features in the series include the Dallas Cowboys in 2002. After a break, the series resumed in 2007 with the Kansas City Chiefs, Cowboys (2008), Cincinnati Bengals (2009), New York Jets (2010), Miami Dolphins (2012), Bengals (2013), Atlanta Falcons (2014) and Houston Texans (2015).

"It's exciting to chronicle a franchise with so many compelling storylines, highlighted by the team's return to the Los Angeles market and the enormously warm reception the Rams are experiencing," said Peter Nelson, executive vice president, HBO Sports.

Superstitious Rams fans should note the last six teams featured on the show equaled or improved their regular season record.

The Rams accepted more than 56,000 season ticket deposits during a four-week campaign. The $100 refundable deposit gives fans priority the purchase season tickets this spring before the general public.

The team reported more than 5,000 deposits in the first five minutes that the site was live Jan. 18.



Photo Credit: Getty]]>
<![CDATA[LA Rams Cheerleading Auditions Set for April]]>Thu, 10 Mar 2016 15:03:02 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/203*120/03-10-2016-la-rams-cheerleader.jpg

The Los Angeles Rams will hold auditions for the relocated NFL team's cheerleading squad at USC's Galen Center next month, culminating in a final performance in front of a live audience at the Forum.

The first and second rounds of tryouts on April 2-3 will have potential members learn and perform a routine in front of a panel of professional judges. After finalists are announced April 5, those selected to move forward will go through an interview process the week of April 11.

The final cut will take place in front of a live audience on April 17 at the Forum. A swimsuit competition, dance performance and interview will determine the final selection announcement.

"We're hoping to find 40 professional, talented and glamorous women who represent the organization," said Keely Fimbres-Bledsoe, former Rams cheerleader and director of special events and cheerleaders for the LA Rams.

LA Rams cheerleaders are expected to not only rehearse and perform every weekend for 10 weeks, they must also be involved in the community, as the squad averages 1,200 hours of community service every year.

During the auditions, judges will be looking for women with professionalism who are well-rounded, well spoken, professional and, of course, able to pick up dance routines quickly, said Fimbres-Bledsoe. Throughout the season, cheerleaders learn new material every week for each game.

Those hoping to take part in the preliminary auditions must be at least 18 years old by April 2 and submit an application by March 31. For those looking for an edge on the competition, the Rams will host optional workshops on March 20, 24 and 26 at 24 Hour Fitness Clubs across Los Angeles. The classes, which cost $40, will take place in San Bernardino, Woodland Hills and Hollywood.

After the Rams' 21 years in St. Louis, Fimbres-Bledsoe says the squad's style of dance has changed. The workshops are a chance for women to ask questions and learn what is expected of them at the auditions. Not only will those inducted into the squad have to be able to perform routines in the studio, they must also be able to dance on the field in boots, according to Fimbres-Bledsoe.

For more information or to apply for auditions, click here.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[NFL Running Back Tre Mason Arrested]]>Mon, 07 Mar 2016 05:16:08 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-503290900.jpg

Los Angeles Rams running back Tre Mason was subdued with a stun gun twice when he refused to cooperate with officers who were arresting him in South Florida for reckless driving and marijuana possession, police in Hollywood, Florida, said Sunday.

Mason refused orders to get out of his Porsche sports car Saturday afternoon after he was pulled over for going more than twice the speed limit in a 35-mile-per-hour zone along a beachside road, according to a police report released by the Hollywood Police Department.

Mason refused to give the patrol officer his name or provide identification, and the officer smelled marijuana in the car.

"I warned the defendant if he did not identify himself he would be subject to arrest and he smirked as he was making eye contact,'' Officer Lester Cochenour wrote in his report.

The officer called for backup and warned Mason he would be arrested if he didn't provide identification, the report said.

Cochenour told Mason he was under arrest. When the officer attempted to removed Mason from the car by taking his left arm, Mason braced himself against the car's floor, seat and steering wheel. Another officer joined the effort to get Mason out of the car, but he still resisted, according to the police report.

"The defendant was warned several times in a composed voice to stop resisting, exit the vehicle and if he did not comply with arrest, a Taser would be used,'' the officer wrote in the report.

A third officer arrived, and when another effort failed to remove him, Mason was stunned on his torso with a Taser. He was stunned again outside the vehicle in his pelvis when he refused to put his hands behind his back as ordered, the report said.

Mason was then taken to a hospital for medical clearance since he had been stunned. While he was there, bond was posted for him so he was released from police custody and never had to go to jail, said Jaime Hernandez, spokesman for the Hollywood Police Department. Hernandez did not immediately know how much Mason's bail was.

Mason is charged with resisting arrest without violence, reckless driving, possessing less than 20 grams of cannabis and failure to register a vehicle.

Mason recorded the police stop on his phone, according to the police report.

Court records listed no attorney for him, and a call to Mason's agent wasn't immediately returned.

Mason, 22, has a home in Delray Beach and went to high school in nearby Lake Worth.

He was drafted by the Rams out of Auburn University in 2014. He has played two seasons for the Rams, who are relocating from St. Louis to Los Angeles.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Rams Close Season Ticket Campaign With 56,000 Deposits]]>Tue, 09 Feb 2016 15:09:12 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/rams-GettyImages-501808184.jpg

The Los Angeles Rams accepted more than 56,000 season ticket deposits during a four-week campaign propelled by the announcement last month that the team will be returning to Southern California.

The $100 refundable deposit gives fans priority the purchase season tickets this spring before the general public. The team reported more than 5,000 deposits in the first five minutes that the site was live Jan. 18.

The campaign closed Monday.

"We are inspired by how enthusiastically NFL fans in Southern California have responded to the return of the Los Angeles Rams," said Rams Chief Operating Officer/Executive Vice President Kevin Demoff. "We will reward their passion by providing a terrific game day experience at both the Coliseum this fall and ultimately in Inglewood. We can't wait to welcome our fans on Sundays and become an integral part of the Greater Los Angeles community."

Season ticket prices have not been announced.

The Rams will play in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum before moving into a new stadium in Inglewood at the start of the 2019 season. The move was announced last month after an owners meeting in Houston.

The agreement also gave the Chargers one year to decided whether they will join the Rams in the Los Angeles area. The Chargers reached an agreement late in January with the Rams regarding a possible move, but the Chargers also announced they will play in San Diego in 2016.

The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Commission is considering an amended lease with USC that would allow two National Football League teams to play at the Coliseum, which is also the home field of the USC Trojans.

The Rams finished 7-9 under coach Jeff Fisher, third in the NFC West and had a troubled attendance history in St. Louis, where a team that once produced the Super Bowl winning "Greatest Show on Turf" later struggled through a series of losing seasons. The team was consistently at the bottom of the NFL in attendance over the past decade.

The franchise played in Southern California for 49 seasons before owner Georgia Frontiere moved the Rams after the 1994 campaign. Owner Stan Kroenke won the three-team derby to return to the nation's second-largest market, enticing NFL owners with his impressive stadium plans and his team's ties to Los Angeles, where thousands of fans stayed true to the Rams during two decades away.

The new stadium, yet to be named, will be at the former site of Hollywood Park racetrack. But Kroenke, a billionaire land developer married to a Wal-Mart heir, is building more than a football stadium with the reported $1.86 billion Inglewood project, which also includes office space, shops, a concert venue and innumerable other enticements.

If the Chargers decline to partner with the Rams, the Oakland Raiders would then be given the chance to move to Inglewood -- making that team another potential temporary Coliseum tenant.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Chargers to Stay in SD for 2016]]>Fri, 29 Jan 2016 21:17:10 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Chargers-Bolt-Generic.jpg

The Chargers have reached an agreement with the Los Angeles Rams, but the Bolts will play in San Diego in 2016, the team announced Friday.

This newest development in the Bolts’ stadium scramble comes one day after the San Diego Chargers released a statement announcing plans for an interim headquarters and practice facility in Santa Ana, Calif., in the event they move to Los Angeles.

At 2:50 p.m. PT, the Chargers released the following statement on Facebook from team Chairman Dean Spanos:

"Today I decided our team will stay in San Diego for the 2016 season and I hope for the long term in a new stadium. I have met with Mayor Faulconer and Supervisor Roberts and I look forward to working closely with them and the business community to resolve our stadium dilemma. We have an option and an agreement with the Los Angeles Rams to go to Inglewood in the next year, but my focus is on San Diego.  This has been our home for 55 years, and I want to keep the team here and provide the world-class stadium experience you deserve. Everyone on both sides of the table in San Diego must now determine the best next steps and how to deploy the additional resources provided by the NFL.
I am committed to looking at this with a fresh perspective and new sense of possibility. With deep appreciation for your years of support, Dean A. Spanos."

The NFL had installed a March 23 deadline for the team to make its decision on where it would play the 2016 season so the league could finalize schedules and all the other business of getting ready for the upcoming football season.

Following Spanos' announcement, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell released this statement:

"We are very supportive of the decision by Dean Spanos to continue his efforts in San Diego and work with local leaders to develop a permanent stadium solution. NFL ownership has committed $300 million to assist in the cost of building a new stadium in San Diego. I have pledged the league’s full support in helping Dean to fulfill his goal."

Goodell's statement was soon followed by one from Stan Kroenke, the owner of the Rams, who touched on the fact that there are still decisions to be made: 

“The Los Angeles Rams have reached an agreement with the San Diego Chargers to join us in the new Inglewood Stadium, if they choose to exercise their option to relocate within the next year. We look forward to partnering with the Chargers in Inglewood, but the decision of course is Dean’s to make.”

Before Friday’s major announcement, it appeared as if negotiations between the Chargers and Rams had stalled. The two teams have been trying to come to an agreement on a move that would allow the Chargers to join the Rams in their new NFL stadium in Inglewood.

On Thursday, when asked if the Chargers had entered into a lease-purchase agreement for the land, Chargers Special Counsel Mark Fabiani told NBC 7 there would be no details released regarding the transaction.


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<![CDATA[Chargers Submit Plans for OC Training Site, Team HQ]]>Fri, 29 Jan 2016 07:08:49 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/212*120/01-29-2016-chargers-helmet-generic-nfl-1.jpg

The San Diego Chargers submitted development plans this week for land in Orange County that would serve as the team's interim headquarters and training site if the team moves to the Los Angeles area.

No final decision has been made regarding relocation, but the move adds another piece of groundwork for a possible move. Earlier this month, NFL owners voted to give the Chargers a year to decide whether they plan to join St. Louis in a move to the LA area.

In a statement released Thursday, the team said it is "continuing to review all of its options."

A move would likely mean a shared stadium arrangement for the Rams and Chargers. The Rams will begin playing at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum this fall and remain there until a new stadium in Inglewood is ready in time for the 2019 season.

Rams owner Stan Kroenke is behind the stadium project in Inglewood.

The plans submitted this week to the city of Santa Ana for the 5-acre site involve grading and landscape proposals. Santa Ana is about 40 miles south of Inglewood.

"It was necessary for the team to submit the grading and landscape plans now because of the long lead time necessary to secure land use approvals and to prepare the natural grass practice fields in time for the team's offseason workout schedule," according to the team's statement.

Also Thursday, the Coliseum's commission began considering a modification to a lease agreement with USC that would allow two NFL teams to play at the historic stadium. The current lease allows one NFL team to share the Coliseum with the Trojans football team.

The Chargers also applied this month to trademark the names "LA Chargers" and "Los Angeles Chargers." The trademark applications would cover a wide range of products, such as football helmets, golf balls, mobile apps, decorative magnets, calendars, clothing and jewelry.

If the Chargers choose not to move to Los Angeles, the Oakland Raiders have a one-year option to consider a move.

The Chargers, among the original eight American Football League teams, have a brief history in Los Angeles -- the franchise moved to San Diego after one season in LA, playing home games at the Coliseum.

 

 

The Los Angeles area has not had an NFL team since 1994. Following conclusion of that season, the then-Anaheim Stadium-based Rams moved to St. Louis and the Raiders returned to Oakland after calling the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum home from 1982-94.



Photo Credit: Getty]]>
<![CDATA[Coliseum Commission Considers Lease for Two NFL Teams]]>Thu, 28 Jan 2016 08:49:10 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/la-coliseum-entrance.jpg

The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Commission will begin considering an amended lease with USC Thursday that would allow two National Football League teams to play at the Coliseum, which is also the home field of the USC Trojans.

The existing lease with USC only allows for one NFL team to share the stadium with the Trojans. With a chance that two NFL teams could be moving to the Los Angeles area, the commission will look to amend its agreement with the university to accommodate both of them.

The panel is expected to discuss the issue in closed session. It's unclear if any vote will immediately be taken during the 2:30 p.m. meeting.

NFL owners voted earlier this month to approve the St. Louis Rams' move to the Southland, with the team's future home at a stadium to be built at the former Hollywood Park racetrack site in Inglewood. That stadium will not be ready until the 2019 season, so the Los Angeles Rams will play at the Coliseum beginning this fall.

The NFL, however, also gave the San Diego Chargers the option of partnering with the Rams to share the Inglewood stadium. If the two teams reach an agreement, the Chargers could also need to play at the Coliseum while the stadium is built.

If the Chargers decline to partner with the Rams, the Oakland Raiders would then be given the chance to move to Inglewood -- making that team another potential temporary Coliseum tenant.

Earlier this month, the Chargers applied for a trademark for the names "LA Chargers" and "Los Angeles Chargers." The name would be used on a wide range of items, such as helmets, mouse pads, mobile apps and clothes.



Photo Credit: KNBC-TV]]>
<![CDATA[Rams Receive More Than 45,000 Ticket Deposits]]>Thu, 21 Jan 2016 07:08:34 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/176*120/AP_2000024144.jpg

The Los Angeles Rams announced Wednesday that the team received more than 45,000 deposits in the first two days of its season ticket campaign.

Fans can put down a $100 refundable deposit by visiting the team's website — WelcomeHomeRams.com, reserving as spot on a waiting list that will allow them to buy tickets this spring before the general public. The team reported more than 5,000 deposits in the first five minutes that the site was live.

Deposits will be accepted through Monday, pending availability.

"We could not be more pleased by Los Angeles' passion for the return of the Rams," the team's chief operating officer, Kevin Demoff, said. "It is evident that our fans are excited to be part of history this year in the Coliseum and their energy is fueling our organization as we being to build our new stadium in Inglewood."

Tickets will be sold to account holders in the order in which they signed up on the waiting list. Each account holder can buy up to eight season tickets for the Rams return to Los Angeles after more than two decades in St. Louis.

The team will play in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum before moving into a new stadium in Inglewood at the start of the 2019 season. The move was announced last week after an owners meeting in Houston.

The plan gives the San Diego Chargers a year to decide whether they want to join the Rams in the Los Angeles area. The two teams held their first meeting Monday, according to a joint statement issued by the two teams, but no details were available.

The Rams finished 7-9 under coach Jeff Fisher, third in the NFC West and had a troubled attendance history in St. Louis, where a team that once produced the Super Bowl winning "Greatest Show on Turf" later struggled through a series of losing seasons. The team was consistently at the bottom of the NFL in attendance over the past decade.

Season ticket prices have not been announced, but are expected to be comparable to what was charged in St. Louis, where seat prices per game ranged from $50 to $250, according to Demoff.

The average resale price of a Rams ticket this season was near the least expensive in the league, at one point dropping to $64, according to SeatGeek. The stampede to put down deposits underscored the pent-up demand in Southern California.

"I believe every regular season game will sell out," said Barry Rudin, chief executive of the ticket broker Barry's Tickets.

Demoff acknowledged that the Rams likely will revise pricing for games in the new Inglewood stadium, projected to cost nearly $2 billion and be ready for the 2019 season. When the 49ers left San Francisco to play in the newly built Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, the price of end zone seats jumped from the $50 range to $100 and up, Rudin recalled.

The franchise played in Southern California for 49 seasons before owner Georgia Frontiere moved them after the 1994 campaign. Owner Stan Kroenke won the three-team derby to return to the nation's second-largest market earlier this week, enticing NFL owners with his impressive stadium plans and his team's ties to Los Angeles, where thousands of fans stayed true to the Rams during two decades away.

The new stadium, yet to be named, will be at the former site of Hollywood Park racetrack. But Kroenke, a billionaire land developer married to a Wal-Mart heir, is building more than a football stadium with the reported $1.86 billion Inglewood project, which also includes office space, shops, a concert venue and innumerable other enticements.

Kroenke said his new stadium will host Super Bowls and Final Fours, which he has already discussed with the NCAA. The Los Angeles area hasn't hosted the Final Four since 1972, lacking an appropriately huge-roofed venue. Inglewood Mayor James Butts said he already has expressed interest to the NFL in hosting the Super Bowl in February 2021.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Chargers Apply for Los Angeles Name Trademarks]]>Tue, 19 Jan 2016 13:09:23 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/chargers+ravens+nfl+5.jpg

The San Diego Chargers have applied to trademark the names "Los Angeles Chargers" and "LA Chargers" as the team considers a possible move to join the Rams at a stadium in Los Angeles.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office application was filed two days after NFL owners voted to allow the Rams to relocate from St. Louis, where they moved from Southern California after the 1994 season, to the Los Angeles area. The Chargers were given a year to consider joining the Rams in LA.

The trademark applications would cover a wide range of products, such as football helmets, golf balls, mobile apps, deocrative magnets, calendars, clothing and jewelry. The application was signed by Chargers president of business operations, A.G. Spanos, son of owner Dean Spanos.

If the Chargers choose not to move to Los Angeles, the Oakland Raiders have a one-year option to consider a move.

Representatives of the Rams and Chargers met Monday. A joint statement issued after the meeting indicates both teams agreed to not publicly discuss details of the meeting.

Rams owner Stan Kroenke is behind the stadium project in Inglewood. The team will play at the LA Coliseum until the new stadium is built.

The Rams, who began taking deposits Monday for season tickets, and Raiders both left the Los Angeles area after the 1994 season. The Chargers, among the original eight American Football League teams, have a brief history in Los Angeles -- the franchise moved to San Diego after one season in LA, playing home games at the Coliseum.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Rams Season Tickets Blitz Begins]]>Mon, 18 Jan 2016 19:41:45 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/rams-GettyImages-501808184.jpg

The Rams received thousands of deposits Monday morning when the team launched a site that offered fans a chance to put their names on a waiting list for season tickets.

Beginning at 10 a.m. Monday, fans could put down a $100 refundable deposit by visiting the team's website — WelcomeHomeRams.com. The deposit placed fans on a waiting list, allowing them to buy tickets this spring before the general public.

The team reported more than 5,000 deposits in the first five minutes that the site was live. Within about 45 minutes, more than 8,000 had been sold.

Tickets will be sold to account holders in the order in which they signed up on the waiting list. Each account holder can buy up to eight season tickets for the Rams return to Los Angeles after more than two decades in St. Louis.

The team will play in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum before moving into a new stadium in Inglewood at the start of the 2019 season. The move was announced last week after an owners meeting in Houston.

The plan gives the San Diego Chargers a year to decide whether they want to join the Rams in the Los Angeles area. The two teams held their first meeting Monday, according to a joint statement issued by the two teams.

"We mutually have agreed not to publicly discuss details of this or any future meeting," the two-sentence statement concluded.

The Rams finished 7-9 under coach Jeff Fisher, third in the NFC West and had a troubled attendance history in St. Louis, where a team that once produced the Super Bowl winning "Greatest Show on Turf" later struggled through a series of losing seasons. The team was consistently at the bottom of the NFL in attendance over the past decade.

Season ticket prices have not been announced, but are expected to be comparable to what was charged in St. Louis, where seat prices per game ranged from $50 to $250, according to Kevin Demoff, Rams senior vice president and chief operating officer.

The average resale price of a Rams ticket this season was near the least expensive in the league, at one point dropping to $64, according to SeatGeek.

The stampede to put down deposits underscored the pent-up demand in Southern California.

"I believe every regular season game will sell out," said Barry Rudin, chief executive of the ticket broker Barry's Tickets.

Demoff acknowledged that the Rams likely will revise pricing for games in the new Inglewood stadium, projected to cost nearly $2 billion and be ready for the 2019 season.

When the 49ers left San Francisco to play in the newly built Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, the price of end zone seats jumped from the $50 range to $100 and up, Rudin recalled.

Some have expressed concern that working class fans will be priced out of being able to attend Rams games in Inglewood with its largely working class demographic.

"I hope the Rams will be sensitive to that," said Najee Ali, an activist with the group Project Islamic Hope and a columnist for the Wave newspaper. 

When Ali raised the issue Friday at the kickoff news conference for the Rams, Demoff pledged to keep the community involved.  

The franchise played in Southern California for 49 seasons before owner Georgia Frontiere moved them after the 1994 campaign. Owner Stan Kroenke won the three-team derby to return to the nation's second-largest market earlier this week, enticing NFL owners with his impressive stadium plans and his team's ties to Los Angeles, where thousands of fans stayed true to the Rams during two decades away.

The new stadium, yet to be named, will be at the former site of Hollywood Park racetrack. But Kroenke, a billionaire land developer married to a Walmart heir, is building more than a football stadium with the reported $1.86 billion Inglewood project, which also includes office space, shops, a concert venue and innumerable other enticements.

Kroenke said his new stadium will host Super Bowls and Final Fours, which he has already discussed with the NCAA. The Los Angeles area hasn't hosted the Final Four since 1972, lacking an appropriately huge-roofed venue. Inglewood Mayor James Butts said he already has expressed interest to the NFL in hosting the Super Bowl in February 2021.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Rams Owner Stan Kroenke Q&A]]>Fri, 15 Jan 2016 22:32:25 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/kroenke_web_6p_1200x675_602847299863.jpg

Rams owner Stan Kroenke is a quiet man by nature. The 68 year old doesn't speak to the media much yet on Friday he sat down with NBC4's Fred Roggin to discuss a variety of topics, including his philosophy on ownership.

"The best owners are passionate about sports but they're rational about business," he said. "LA is made up of all these wonderful, diverse groups and we haven't been here for 21 years so they have their favorite teams. And so we have to become relevant. The best way to do that is win but also have the great environment. That's what we're going to do."

Fred Roggin: (Chargers owner) Dean Spanos made the comment he doesn't trust you. He doesn't want to be your partner. He doesn't want to work with you. He doesn't want to have anything to do with you. Do we forget about that trash talking or do we keep it somewhere in the back of our minds?

Stan Kroenke: No, I mean I like Dean. I've known Dean a long time. I just think the competitiveness of the moment ... I don't even know that he said that and if you tell me, Fred, he said that, then I know he did, OK? That doesn't concern me. People are competitive in the heat of the moment. People say things. That's really not relevant to me.

FR: You have a two-team stadium. Do you care who your partner is here?

SK: Well, I'll be guided by the NFL, already have been guided. We'll see how it happens. There's a process there we're gonna engage in it. Hopefully it will come out well for the league and for us. I mean, it's always better for us to have a second team. If you want to talk about pure economics, you get 10 more dates. It's always better.

FR: You've done a lot of things, Stan, and no one can deny any of that. Is this the crowning achievement for you?

SK: Well, you know, I hope I'm always challenged. I hope I'm always curious, hope I always want to move forward. This is an unbelievable opportunity and I would say it's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.


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<![CDATA[LA Rams Owner Talks Move to LA in Rare Interview]]>Fri, 15 Jan 2016 22:05:40 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/LA_Rams_Owner_Talks_Move_to_LA_in_Rare_Interview_2_1200x675_602850371507.jpgRams owner Stan Kroenke sits down with Fred Roggin and talks about the team's LA future for the NBC4 News at 6 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 15, 2016.]]><![CDATA[Rams' Return Celebrated at Inglewood Event]]>Fri, 15 Jan 2016 22:00:43 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/160115-rams-coach.jpg

Serenaded by chants of "We love Stan," Rams owner Stan Kroenke greeted fans at a boisterous rally and news conference today near the site of the team's future home in Inglewood, promising them, "We're gonna have some fun."

"We're going to bring Super Bowls here," Kroenke told media and fans gathered at the Forum, across the street from the former Hollywood Park site that will eventually house a $1.86 billion stadium that will house the Los Angeles Rams.

"We're gonna bring events like the Final Four," he said. "The Final Four hasn't been here in decades. They've already talked to us."

Kroenke said the opportunity to be part of a 300-acre development featuring sports inter-mingled with retail, parks and residential projects was hard to pass up, and presented the chance to create a signature location for the region. He said it took 2 1/2 years of work on the Hollywood Park project to bring the plans to fruition and then earn NFL support for his team's move back to the Los Angeles area, but it was worth the effort.

"The fun part for us really starts, coming in here today and being received like this is wonderful," Kroenke said. "It's been a long road. It's been a long road but we made it. We're gonna have some fun."

Inglewood Mayor James Butts welcomed Kroenke, Rams head coach Jeff Fisher and the fans to the event, saying the team's move means Inglewood "will be the City of Champions once again."

He said he was so confident the project would win out over a competing stadium proposal in Carson that "eight months ago I wrote a letter to (NFL Commissioner) Roger Goodell asking that Inglewood be the site of the 2020 Super Bowl."

Butts also took a shot at sports network ESPN and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, noting that despite the team's new name of "Los Angeles Rams," the team will be playing in Inglewood.

"I wanted ESPN to know we have our own city and we have our own mayor," Butts said, drawing cheers from the fans.

NFL owners voted Tuesday to approve the Rams' move from St. Louis to Inglewood, rejecting the Carson proposal that would have included a joint stadium for the San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders. Instead, the owners gave the Chargers a one-year window to join the Rams at the planned Inglewood
stadium. If the Chargers choose not to move to Inglewood, the Raiders would then be given a one-year option.

The Inglewood stadium is scheduled to be ready by the 2019 season. Until then, the Rams will play at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.



Photo Credit: KNBC-TV
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<![CDATA[Top Images From the 2016-2017 NFL Season]]>Fri, 02 Dec 2016 05:36:01 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-626138248-nfl.jpgCheck out some of the best images from the 2016-2017 NFL season.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Quiz: How Much Do You Know About the LA Rams?]]>Mon, 18 Jan 2016 08:50:07 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/rams-history-lead.jpg

The NFL will return to Southern California after National Football League owners approved plans for the St. Louis Rams to move to a proposed stadium in Inglewood, with an option for the Chargers to share the facility if the team can't reach a viable stadium deal in San Diego. The decision, made on a 30-2 vote by league owners in Houston, marks a long-awaited return of the NFL to the Los Angeles area, which hasn't had a team since 1994.

You probably think you know all about the Rams. Dive in and test your mettle with our LA Rams quiz:

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Hey! Hey! Rock With the Rams in Funky '80s Video]]>Wed, 13 Jan 2016 15:58:40 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-89751183.jpg

The Rams are on their way back to LA - so now's a good time to turn up your speakers, get on your feet and take a funky trip down memory lane with the team's 1986 song, "Let's Ram It!"

(If you can't see the video in the player above, click here to see it on YouTube)



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[FAA Questions Inglewood Stadium Plans]]>Wed, 13 Jan 2016 20:30:03 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/182*120/inglewood-new-011216.JPG

Football fans are still celebrating the return of the NFL to Los Angeles, but the FAA has some serious questions about how the proposed Inglewood stadium could impact the safety of airplanes approaching nearby LAX.

"The structure is presumed to be a hazard to air navigation," says a November 2015 FAA memo obtained by the NBC4 I-Team.

The memo says the height, shape, and materials to be used in the proposed building could interfere with radar signals being sent from the LAX control tower to incoming planes.

That opinion was seconded by Michael Barr, a world-renowned aviation safety expert with USC. Barr told the I-Team that radar signals move in a straight line, and if they hit structures such as the proposed stadium, those signals may be impaired.

"As for safety concerns, in its present plans, I will bow to the FAA experts and agree it would be a hazard," Barr said.

The FAA must approve the stadium plans for the project to move forward.

The FAA memo says the stadium’s proposed height — up to 164 feet in places — should be reduced to around 50 feet. The FAA also recommends the designers retool the shape of the face of the stadium and use "radar absorbing materials" as a coating on parts of the structure.

FAA spokesman Ian Gregor told the I-Team "the project is now in the negotiation phase between the FAA and the proponent. Once the negotiation phase starts, there are no specific deadlines for completing it."

Aviation expert Barr told the I-Team, "I think the builder will submit new plans that will include one or more of the FAA's mitigation recommendations and then the construction will be approved and construction will begin."

Inglewood’s Mayor James Butts says he’s confident the owners of the new stadium will work out all issues with the FAA.

]]>
<![CDATA[Rams' First Stop: LA Coliseum]]>Wed, 13 Jan 2016 14:37:22 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/la-coliseum-entrance.jpgThe LA Coliseum will be the likely home for the Rams until a new stadium is ready in Inglewood. Ted Chen reports for the NBC4 News at Noon on Wednesday Jan. 13, 2016.]]><![CDATA[Inglewood All In on Rams]]>Wed, 13 Jan 2016 14:34:34 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/216*120/01-13-2016-inglewood-rams-stadium.JPGInglewood is celebrating the return of the Rams to the Los Angeles area. Patrick Healy reports for the NBC4 News at Noon on Wednesday Jan. 13, 2016.

Photo Credit: KNBC-TV]]>
<![CDATA[Rams Fans: Social Media Blitz]]>Wed, 13 Jan 2016 14:30:32 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/179*120/01-13-2016-rams-fan-2.jpgThe social media blitz was on after the NFL announced plans to return to the Los Angeles area. Lolita Lopez reports for the NBC4 News at Noon on Wednesday Jan. 13, 2016. ]]><![CDATA[Rams Likely to Play at Coliseum Until Move to Inglewood]]>Wed, 13 Jan 2016 14:56:06 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/rams-AP_527325428406.jpg

The Los Angeles-bound Rams will have a temporary home this fall, most likely at the LA Coliseum, until a new stadium with a roof is ready for use in Inglewood in 2019.

It's the stadium where the Rams first played in LA more than half a century ago.

Coliseum officials are expected to meet with the Rams in the next couple of weeks to prepare for the 2016 season.

They'll work with the team to decide how ticket pricing will be structured and work out logistics. They say the toughest part will be back-to-back Trojan and Ram games. The Coliseum is also scheduled to undergo $700 million in renovations.

"Probably our biggest challenge will be in the fall when we have a Saturday USC football game and then a Sunday Rams game," said Joe Furin, the LA Coliseum manager.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said he's "psyched" about the return of the Rams.

"As I always said, any team, whether it landed in Carson, downtown (L.A.), which is my initially preferred site, or Inglewood ... is going to be good for L.A.," Garcetti said in a radio interview on Wednesday. "We talked about our hotels in the city of L.A. being filled when these games are on; we talked about our airport having activity when people fly in from out of town. And the same people would have constructed the stadium no matter which of the cities it landed in, so we'll still have those jobs."

The Rams had many of their glory years at the Coliseum. They moved there in 1946 but on the condition that the team be integrated which the National Football League was not at the time. UCLA's Kenny Washington became a Ram and the First African American NFL player.

The Rams moved to Anaheim in 1979 and eventually left Southern California for St. Louis. The coliseum then became home to the USC Trojans.

Meeting in Houston, NFL owners on Tuesday approved plans for an 80,000-seat stadium on the site of the former Hollywood Park Racetrack in Inglewood. The vote marked the return of the NFL to Los Angeles, which has not had a franchise since 1994.

Garcetti said he was looking forward to a Super Bowl being played in the Southland.

"As a lifelong Rams fan, I am so psyched that they're coming here, and I'm proud to have been a part of helping push forward with the NFL that we are a unified region, wanting to bring football back to L.A.,"  Garcetti said.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[In St. Louis, a Familiar Ending to Football Stadium Saga]]>Wed, 13 Jan 2016 13:23:32 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/SAD_RAMS_FANS_KNBC8HOE_1200x675_587961411541.jpg

Football fans in St. Louis once again found themselves on the wrong end of a deal that sent an NFL team packing. And, just like in 1988 when the city lost the Cardinals to Phoenix, it was over dithering about a new stadium.

That saga eventually ended with team owner Bill Bidwill moving the team to a new stadium in the desert southwest. This time around, the Rams departure can be blamed on a no-win lease that gave the franchse an out if the Edward Jones Dome wasn't deemed in the top one-quarter of the facilities in the league. On Tuesday, league owners approved a plan that sends the Rams to the Los Angeles area, where they will move into a lavish new stadium in 2019 after playing at a temporary venue, most likely Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

While Stan Kroenke relocates the franchise, it's back to the bricks for a St. Louis task force that has a $1 billion plan and fancy artists renderings for a riverfront stadium that could also house an MLS franchise, but no prospective tenants. The task force said the decision "concludes a flawed process" and said it planned no "news events" the rest of the week.

Dave Peacock, co-head of task force, said in an impromptu conference call that the process was "more contemplated and contrived than I realized" and that it appeared "St. Louis never had a chance."

"We had aimed for a target, hit it, and they said, 'No, the target is over here.'"

Peacock concluded: "This is a byproduct of an owner who just didn't want to be here."

Attorney Bob Blitz, the other co-head of the task force, did not rule out legal action.

For now, the city that Kroenke harshly criticized for a lagging economy and has long been dissed as a "baseball town" is left with two professional teams.

"I thought the crowds were very good when I was here," said Dick Vermeil, who coached the Greatest Show on Turf team to the franchise's lone Super Bowl title in the 1999 season. "They were unbelievable when we turned the team around, and they were good when we were not going good."

During the Devils-Blues NHL telecast Tuesday night, St. Louis announcer John Kelly said simply, "Very disappointing news."

Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak said St. Louis was a "tremendous sports town."

"Historically, you put something out there people are proud of, they show up," Mozeliak said.

State and civic leaders who banded together in an effort to keep the Rams in town are feeling jilted.

"The NFL and Stan Kroenke have displayed a callous disregard for the St. Louis area and its loyal football fans," St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger said in a statement.

Mayor Francis Slay said "the NFL ignored the facts" and fans "who supported the team through far more downs than ups." Gov. Jay Nixon called the vote to approve the move "a clear deviation from the NFL's guidelines."

"It is troubling that the league would allow for the relocation of a team when a home market has worked in good faith and presented a strong and viable proposal," Nixon added.

Fans echoed those sentiments after ponying up for personal seat licenses and season tickets without a winning record to show for the last dozen years. At Tuesday night's Blues game, the fans made derogatory chants about Kroenke.

Brian King was 6 years old when the Rams arrived in 1995 and his father purchased season tickets. Until last year one of the family cars was a '93 van that had a Rams tire cover on the back and Rams magnets on the doors. Over the years, King estimates the family spent around $50,000 following the team, including trips to training camp in Macomb, Illinois.

"I'd say I wasted a lot of hours reading about relocation, hours I'll never get back," King said.

Vermeil loved Kroenke during the Rams' glory years in St. Louis when Georgia Frontiere was owner. Kroenke was then minority partner and was often seen glad-handing with players and media in the locker room on game days.

"He was absolutely outstanding," Vermeil said. "How I've explained it in the past is, he had enough money to be any kind of guy he wanted to be."

Not enough money -- or desire -- to stay in St. Louis, however. In the relocation application, Kroenke said a team willing to accept the stadium deal would be on the path to "financial ruin."

"We have negotiated in good faith with the Regional Sports Authority for more than a decade trying to find a viable and sustainable solution," Kroenke said in a statement. "When it became apparent that we might not be able to reach an agreement, it was then and only then that we looked at alternatives."

Dwindling attendance was cited on the Rams' relocation application. It didn't note there had been just four winning seasons out of 21 -- all of them coming in a five-year stretch that former coach Mike Martz often referred to as a "special place in time" and featured high-powered offensive juggernauts led by Kurt Warner and Marshall Faulk.

But the Rams have, overall, been a flop in St. Louis. Included in the dozen-year drought is a five-year stretch in which they averaged just three wins per season -- the worst such period in league history. Until 2006 every home game was a sellout. None was this year, perhaps strengthening Kroenke's case.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California


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<![CDATA[Rams Return: Fans React on Social Media]]>Wed, 13 Jan 2016 14:42:54 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/01-13-2016-rams-fan-3.jpg

After nearly two decades of attempts to bring a NFL franchise back to the region, Los Angeles is receiving a NFL team. The St. Louis Rams are coming to Los Angeles.

NFL fans took to social platforms like Twitter to express their reactions to Los Angeles receiving a professional football team. Some were overjoyed and nostalgic about the news, while others were bitter the Rams team was bidding goodbye to St. Louis.

NFL owners voted Tuesday night to allow the St. Louis Rams to move to a new stadium just outside of Los Angeles, in Inglewood in 2019. The Rams will likely be playing at the Los Angeles Coliseum until the new site is ready.


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<![CDATA[Rams Players, Past and Present, React to Move to LA]]>Wed, 13 Jan 2016 11:55:15 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-90100368.jpg

Current and former Rams players are tweeting messages of support, thanks and excitement over the franchise’s return to Los Angeles.



Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[NFL Fans Share Excitement Over Rams Return to LA]]>Wed, 13 Jan 2016 08:48:28 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/NFL_Fans_Share_Excitement_Over_Rams_Return_to_LA_1200x675_601077827514.jpgNFL fans shared their excitement and opinions about the Rams returning to Los Angeles. Toni Guinyard reports for NBC 4 Today in LA on Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2016.]]><![CDATA[Rams Fans Rejoice in LA]]>Wed, 13 Jan 2016 07:28:11 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/168*120/AP_988767688372.jpgRams fans in Los Angeles celebrate the return of their team.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[NFL in LA: Play-By-Play Timeline of Events]]>Thu, 12 Jan 2017 06:45:50 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/182*120/inglewood-new-011216.JPG

A timeline of events involving the return of an NFL franchise to Los Angeles since the Rams and Raiders moved out of Los Angeles nearly two decades ago.

Nov. 8, 2016: San Diego voters resoundingly reject a team-sponsored measure asking for $1.15 billion in increased hotel occupancy taxes to help fund a $1.8 billion downtown stadium and convention center. The vote marks another blow to plans to prevent relocation.

Sept. 18, 2016: The Rams play their first regular season game in the Los Angeles area since leaving two decades earlier. The Rams defeated the Seattle Seahawks 9-3 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. 

Jan. 12, 2016: During meetings in Houston, the NFL's relocation committee recommended Carson as its preferred site if the league decides to move a team to Los Angeles. Hours later, league owners approved a Rams move from St. Louis to the Inglewood stadium and gave the Chargers an option to join them.

Jan. 4, 2016: The San Diego Chargers, St. Louis Rams and Oakland Raiders file with the NFL for approval for relocation to Los Angeles beginning with the 2016 season.

Nov. 11, 2015: Disney CEO Bob Iger is selected by Carson Holdings Inc to oversee the Carson stadium project.

Aug. 11, 2015: NFL owners hear proposals on stadium plans in Carson and Inglewood.

May 31, 2015: Demolition crews implode the Hollywood Park Racetrack, where the Inglewood stadium would be built.

May 20, 2015: The league said during NFL meetings that if a stadium is built in Los Angeles by 2018, the city would become a candidate to host the 2020 Super Bowl.

April 21, 2015: Carson's city council approves a plan to build an NFL stadium.

March 9, 2015: AEG announces it has dropped plans to bring an NFL stadium to downtown Los Angeles.

February 2015: The San Diego Chargers and the Oakland Raiders announce a plan to jointly build a 72,000-seat stadium in Carson, in the midst of talks with their respective cities to extend backstops. A mayor's advisory group announces it will speed up work on its proposal to keep the Chargers in San Diego.

January 2015: St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke announces plans for an NFL stadium on the Inglewood property he purchased a year earlier.

December 2014: The Chargers announced plans to stay in San Diego for the 2015 season.

October 2014: A survey commissioned by the NFL is distributed to thousands of LA residents, asking for feedback regarding a franchise in Los Angeles.

January 2014: St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke buys property in Inglewood through holding company.

Aug. 9, 2011: City council members unanimously approve a Memorandum of Understanding with Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG), which requires a full Environmental Impact Review of the project and details a 55-year lease for the land under the existing West Hall of the Los Angeles Convention Center. With similarly approved proposals on the table, AEG and Majestic Realty are continuing to competitively court NFL teams.

Aug. 3, 2011: A city council panel supports the financial framework for AEG’s plan, setting the stage for another nine months of talks between the two parties and sending the agreement to a full council vote Aug. 9.

July 28, 2011:Valley residents have a chance to express their concerns over a potential stadium. Divided residents cited city pride, tax and business revenue, as well as traffic, among reasons to support or reject the plan. 

July 27, 2011: High school football players, construction workers and even NBA alum turned business mogul Magic Johnson turned out to LA City Hall to comment on the possibility of a football stadium.

July 26, 2011: City officials release a draft agreement detailing a 55-year lease of the land under the existing West Hall of the LA Convention Center. AEG would pay $6.5 million for the land upon which a stadium and parking structure will be built.

July 25, 2011: AEG President and CEO Tim Lewieke tells NBC4 he hopes to break ground in early 2012, citing an owner willing to take the risk on the $1.5 billion project.

July 20, 2011: An LA stadium is expected to generate $41 million in annual tax revenue, $22 million of which would go to the city, according to a report authored by Bruce Baltin of PKF Consulting USA, a firm hired by Anschutz Entertainment Group.

June 10, 2011: Leiweke says he’s been talking with representatives from the Minnesota Vikings, San Diego Chargers, Oakland Raiders, St. Louis Rams and Jacksonville Jaguars as potential migrants to LA.

March 30, 2011: Residents are invited to an open house at the downtown convention center to present environmental concerns to LA’s planning department.

March 3, 2011: Majestic Realty stops referring to its proposed location as Industry, claiming it conjures up negative images. They begin addressing the potential stadium site as Grand Crossing.

Feb. 7, 2011: Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa posts a YouTube video expressing his support of bringing an NFL stadium and team back to City of Angels.

Feb. 4, 2011: NFL Commissioner Rodger Goodell says Los Angeles is on the right path toward achieving its stadium, but still has a long, namely financial, road ahead.

Feb. 1, 2011: The proposed NFL stadium will be named Farmer’s Field, after a 30-year naming-rights deal worth $700 million was squared away with the insurance company. But there is still no football team to occupy the gridiron.

Dec. 16, 2010: AEG reveals a futuristic-looking drawing proposal that includes an NFL stadium and expanded convention center.

Dec. 9, 2010: Leiweke announces AEG will absorb the stadium’s billion-dollar tab, save $350 million in government issued bonds that he promised would be repaid from event taxes.

Nov. 15, 2010: Staples Center-owner AEG proposes a competing bid for a retractable-roof “event center” downtown and convention center expansion project.

Jan. 26, 2010: City of Industry’s 82 registered voters approve $500 million in infrastructure bonds, some of which are allocated to support billionaire and Majestic Realty president Ed Roski’s $800-million stadium proposal.

Jan. 15, 2010: Over 18,000 news jobs associated with the stadium development start going up-for-grabs at the Joe Jobs Expo.

Jan. 7, 2010: Gov. Schwarzenegger signs a bill that exempts the LA stadium from environmental regulations and nullifies a lawsuit over the project’s environmental impact report by the citizens in neighboring Walnut.

Jan. 6, 2010: City of Walnut residents file a petition challenging Majestic Realty’s stadium plans, claiming construction was approved without an adequate environmental impact report critiquing the stadium’s effect on air quality, traffic and quality of life.

Nov. 3, 2009: Majestic Realty Co.’s website receives over 140,000 inquiries about general admission, club seats and luxury suites to watch a team that doesn’t exist play in a stadium that hasn’t been built.

Oct. 14, 2009: California legislature exempts a proposed NFL stadium in Industry from state environment laws. The theoretical 75,000-seat stadium would sit near the interchange of the Orange (57) and Pomona (60) freeways.

April 2008: Developer Ed Roski proposes a site in the city of Industry.

November 2005: The NFL commissioner announces after a meeting with then-Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa that a preliminary agreement was reached to being a team back to LA.

May 2003: League owners vote to continue exploring options for a stadium in Los Angeles and commit money to a feasibility study for site in Carson.

May 2002: AEG announces plans to build a stadium next to Staples Center.

March 1999: The NFL approves an expansion franchise for Los Angeles, contingent on several issues involving the city and league, including a stadium site. No agreement is reached, and an expansion team is awarded to Houston.

August 1995: The NFL approves the Raiders' move to Oakland.

April 1995: The NFL approves the Rams' move to St. Louis.

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<![CDATA[Rams to Return to Los Angeles]]>Tue, 12 Jan 2016 20:30:09 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/1-12-15-Roger_Goodell.JPG

NFL owners voted Tuesday night to allow the St. Louis Rams to move to a new stadium just outside Los Angeles, and the San Diego Chargers will have an option to share the facility.

The Oakland Raiders, who also wanted to move to the area, could move to Los Angeles if San Diego doesn't, Commissioner Roger Goodell said.

The moves end the NFL's 21-year absence from the nation's second-largest media market.

The compromise — the Chargers and Raiders wanted to share a new stadium in Carson, California, and the Rams wanted to move to nearby Inglewood — was approved 30-2 after the other options did not get the 24 votes needed for approval.

The Chargers can continue to negotiate with San Diego for a new stadium deal, while keeping the option of joining at the Rams and owner Stan Kroenke at the $1.8 billion complex he is building.

"Relocation is a painful process. It's painful for the fans, for the communities, for the league in general," Goodell said. "In some ways a bittersweet moment, because we were unable to get the kind of facilities done we wanted in their markets."

The Rams — based in the LA area from 1946-94 — will play in a temporary facility — probably the Los Angeles Coliseum — until the new stadium is ready for the 2019 season.

"Today, with the NFL returning home, Los Angeles cements itself as the epicenter of the sports world," Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said in a statement. "We cannot wait to welcome the Rams, and perhaps others soon, as they join a storied lineup of professional franchises, collegiate powerhouses, and sports media companies."

The league will give $100 million to the Chargers and the Raiders if either team builds a new stadium in their current markets.

"I will be working over the next several weeks to explore the options that we have now created for ourselves to determine the best path forward for the Chargers," chairman Dean Spanos said.

The Chargers play 120 miles south of Inglewood in Qualcomm Stadium. The Raiders played in Los Angeles from 1982-94 and currently split a facility with baseball's Athletics, the last remaining NFL-MLB stadium.

No NFL franchise has moved since the Houston Oilers went to Tennessee in 1997. The Raiders and Rams both left Los Angeles after the 1994 season.

In a report to all 32 teams days before the meetings, Goodell deemed the venues in all three existing cities inadequate and said the stadium proposals lacked certainty. In the case of San Diego, that includes a public vote required for the financing.

The Chargers and the city have been at odds since 2000, when owner Alex Spanos said his team needed to replace Qualcomm Stadium. That was just three years after the venue was expanded to accommodate the Chargers and Super Bowls.

The stadium saga turned nasty in the past year as Mark Fabiani, an attorney for team Chairman Dean Spanos, criticized Mayor Kevin Faulconer and his proposals. The city has claimed that the Chargers didn't negotiate in good faith and had several misrepresentations in their relocation bid.

Spanos has had the right to leave San Diego since 2008, but the team's efforts became more aggressive after Kroenke announced plans for the Inglewood move. The Chargers have played in San Diego for 55 seasons after one year in Los Angeles when the former AFL franchise was born.

The St. Louis proposal calls for an open-air, $1.1 billion stadium along the Mississippi River north of the Gateway Arch to replace the Edward Jones Dome.

The plan includes $150 million from the city, $250 million from Kroenke, at least $200 million from the league, and $160 million in fan seat licenses. The rest of the money comes from the state, either through tax credits or bonds.

Goodell says NFL policy limits the league's contribution to $100 million, and Kroenke has largely ignored the plan. The team said in its relocation bid that the St. Louis market lags economically and that the stadium proposal is doomed to fail.

The Rams have a year-to-year lease in St. Louis.

Oakland is still in debt from a renovation 20 years ago when the Raiders moved back from Los Angeles. City officials have said they won't seek help from taxpayers with a new stadium, and asked the NFL for more time to develop a project in a response to the Raiders' relocation plan.

Los Angeles Coliseum, the college football home of Southern California, would host at least one team until a new stadium is finished, probably in 2019 if relocation plans go forward. Finding a home for a second team could prove more difficult, although the coliseum is a possibility.

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<![CDATA[Mayors, Football Players React to NFL Back to LA]]>Wed, 13 Jan 2016 08:49:34 -0700http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/182*120/CYlLa2sU0AA9iDu.jpg

Mayors, football players, and fans were voicing their opinions — excited and not so excited — to the announcement Tuesday that the St. Louis Rams were to move to a new stadium just outside Los Angeles.

NFL owners made the much-anticipated vote Tuesday that the Rams were allowed to move to the Inglewood stadium that was set to be built while the San Diego Chargers had the option to share the new digs.

Commissioner Roger Goodell said the Oakland Raiders also could move to LA if the Chargers do not.

Fans were rallying outside of the future stadium site in Inglewood, and were quick to pledge their undying love to the Rams.

"I do feel for the fans in St Louis. We know what it's like to lose a team!" Angel Fabela, a Santa Clarita resident, said, referring to the Rams departure from LA in 1994.

Fellow Rams devotees echoed the sadness of losing the team.

"I was really sad! No Raider wagon. No San Diego wagon, nothing like that. I was hoping they'd come back and my wishes came true," Gabriel Martinez of Compton said.

Rams players too seemed pumped at the prospect of heading to the West Coast.

LA Mayor Eric Garcetti of course saw the final decision as a win.

"Today, with the NFL returning home, Los Angeles cements itself as the epicenter of the sports world. We cannot wait to welcome the Rams, and perhaps others soon, as they join a storied lineup of professional franchises, collegiate powerhouses, and sports media companies. With the return of the NFL, there is yet another reason for visitors to come to Los Angeles, and for Angelenos to love calling this city home. I look forward to seeing the players out on the field," Garcetti said in a statement.

After the decision came down that Inglewood landed the stadium site, the mayor took to Twitter to celebrate.

"Inglewood has been transformed. Welcome Rams, Stan and the NFL. We're going to Disneyland," Mayor James T. Butts said.

Carson officials — who were rivaling with their own bid — voiced their dismay.

"We wish Inglewood and our former partners, the Chargers and the Raiders, the best of luck," Carson Mayor Albert Robles said.

Robles also said he was also excited for the opportunity to get moving with the property hat was to be designated to the stadium.

"After April, for the first time ever, the city will be in complete control of the destiny of this shovel ready, hugely valuable, strategically located property," Robles said.

But it didn't mean the doors were shut completely.

"If the League must revisit this issue, Carson stands ready," Robles said.

St. Louis officials, who were to receive funds to build a new stadium if the Rams stayed in Missouri, were clearly unhappy with the NFL's ruling.

"The NFL ignored the facts, the loyalty of St. Louis fans, who supported the team through far more downs than ups, and the NFL ignored a strong market and viable plan for a new stadium," St. Louis Mayor Francis G. Slay said.



Photo Credit: Beverly White
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