Oh, my. How embarrassing. It’s happening again: Los Angeles, a sprawling city-suburb metropolis with an estimated population of 19 million, can’t fill its NFL stadium with hometown Rams fans for Sunday’s NFC Championship Game against the visiting San Francisco 49ers.
For the second time this month, SoFi Stadium will be SoFull Stadium for 49ers fans who will take the place over. The Niner nation turned the Jan. 9 regular-season finale in Los Angeles into a homefield advantage for the Bay Area’s team. The thunderous noise made by the dominant, visiting-team fans was so loud and intense, Rams offensive players couldn’t hear the signals from quarterback Matthew Stafford. They used the edge for a 27-24 overtime victory to clinch a wild–card playoff spot.
After postseason upset wins at Dallas and Green Bay, the 49ers are back in LA for the chance to knock off the Rams and advance to the Super Bowl. And according to ticket-broker projections, 49ers fans will hold about 65 percent of the tickets for Sunday’s title clash.
The Rams tried to block ticket sales by making NFC championship tickets available only to those with credit cards that have billing addresses in the greater Los Angeles area.
As is the case with virtually all Kevin Demoff brainstorms, this tactic failed miserably and blew up on the Rams. Once the Rams tried to deny 49er fans their rights as consumers, the 49er faithful went into a ticket-buying frenzy on the secondary market to crush Demoff and the Rams.
Things were getting a little desperate in LA earlier this week.
– Melissa Whitford, wife of Rams offensive tackle Andrew Whitford, went on Twitter with this plea:
“If @RamsNFL fans want to sell your tickets – I’ll buy them. Just DO NOT sell them to the other team PLEASE!”
– Stafford tried to rally Los Angeles sports fans with this message on Monday: “Hopefully it’s one of those games where we come out and it’s heavy blue and yellow and we have a nice, live, loud crowd that makes it tough on them.”
– Rams coach Sean McVay – in the spirit of good fun – added “Don’t sell your tickets!” when asked about the situation on Monday.
– From the lower levels of the Los Angeles Times depth chart, sports columnist Dylan Hernandez wrote a bizarre column that came across as something Rams owner Stan Kroenke would have paid for had he wanted to hire someone to write a hometown fanboi piece Of course, Kroenke didn’t pay for it. That’s because he didn’t have to. The cheerleading piece was provided free of charge to the Rams owner.
– Hernandez made some interesting points in a comical failure to defend his city, and the team, and the fans of the team: it’s no one’s fault, so don’t blame the team, the fans, the city. OK, then why will San Francisco take ownership of the Rams’ field for the biggest game of the season to date? He wanted us to know that the Rams have to be in Los Angeles for a long time before the city fully embraces them. What? Does this make any sense? The Rams have been back in Los Angeles for six seasons. In their last five seasons they’re 55-26 in the regular season and have a shot to play in their second Super Bowl over four seasons.
Do Rams fans realize that the winner of Sunday’s game will advance to the Super Bowl? A Super Bowl that will be played in the same venue in beautiful Inglewood? So considering all this, I can understand the writer’s theory and I see why Rams fans are waiting until, say, 2033 to embrace the franchise. (Pardon the sarcasm.)
– Hernandez added bonus fanboi material for Kroenke and Demoff by referring to St. Louis as “a refugee from a dump of a city in the Midwest.” Perfect. Can’t think of a coherent defense for LA’s disinterest in an NFC Championship Game at home? That’s easy: HEY, LOOK AT ST. LOUIS! Calling St. Louis a dump definitely explains why Los Angeles isn’t passionate about the Rams and has given Niner fans a chance to seize control of SoFi stadium for the second time this month. Yep, it’s St. Louis.
– Insecure Dylan wasn’t done. He also made sure to let the peoples (and the Rams owner) know that the 49ers have terrible ownership, and that Kroenke “seems like a peach” by comparison. Nice touch.
– Right around the time that Hernandez was authoring this award-winning caliber column and calling St. Louis a dump, other Los Angeles media outlets were reporting on another story. This from TV station KABC7:
“Cleanup crews removed homeless encampments and debris in Inglewood for the second day in a row – and some are speculating the upcoming Super Bowl is a factor. The homeless encampment near the Century Boulevard exit to the 405 Freeway was cleared Monday and Tuesday.”
Residents of the homeless encampment were setting fires on the freeway. So rather than be embarrassed by having a massive homeless camp taking over the scene near Kroenke’s palace for the NFC Championship Game and the Super Bowl, it was deemed necessary to clear away the dump-like conditions and the homeless-camp inhabitants to make the area look nicer.
As one homeless camp resident told the TV station: “I know it’s people complaining about the filth. Because me, myself, I’m homeless, but that was pretty bad out there.”
Unfortunately for Kroenke and the Rams, the authorities can’t bulldoze 49er fans and keep them away from SoFi Stadium on Sunday.
Thanks for reading …
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