On the field, the Rams’ season-opener couldn’t have gone much better. They walloped the Colts 46-9 for far and away the most lopsided win in Week 1.
In the stands, however, the Rams’ season-opener couldn’t have gone much worse, as fan attendance was few and far between.
“I don’t know if you saw the pictures, but the crowd at the Coliseum for that Rams game – if I use the word dismal, I’m really being nice,” LA Times sportswriter Mike DiGiovanna said on CBS Sports Radio’s After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “Certainly it was a really hot day in L.A., I think both college teams (USC and UCLA) were playing the day before, Rams coming off a really brutal season that ended with seven straight losses, not a lot of expectations from them – so it’s a fickle crowd out here in L.A. I just don’t think it bodes well. If the Rams aren’t drawing and they’re a decent team, that doesn’t bode well for the market in terms of supporting two teams. But the stadium doesn’t open for three more years. They have a lot of time to get competitive, get better. I think the Rams definitely will be better. I think their Week 1 opponent was definitely on the weak side with Luck not playing. The Colts defense didn’t look very good at all.”
Indeed, the Rams had a pair of pick-sixes and led Indy 37-3 through three quarters, as former No. 1 pick Jared Goff went 21-of-29 for 306 yards and a touchdown. His performance was a welcome sight after a disappointing rookie season.
“I think Jared Goff is going to be okay,” DiGiovanna said. “They’re going to be a better team, but I just think overall it’s going to be interesting to see whether these teams can capture the interest of a fan base that really lost touch. I don’t think they lost touch with the NFL, but basically a whole generation – 21 years without a football team – has allowed allegiances to spread all throughout the country. I did stories on this over the years. Going into bars in Orange County and L.A., you’d go into a bar and it’s all Steelers fans. You go into a bar, it’s all Packers fans watching a Packers game. You go into a bar, and it’s all Patriots fans.
“These allegiances have had time to grow and grow stronger,” DiGiovanna continued. “It’s going to take a lot to get them back to rooting for the Rams. Now you have the Chargers. They’re the outsiders even though they have a pretty good fan base from South Orange County and North San Diego county. I think people will still support the team, but it’s an interesting dynamic.”
The Rams will hope for better attendance this Sunday against Washington (0-1). Kickoff is at 4:25 p.m. ET. The Chargers (0-1), meanwhile, host the Dolphins at 4:05 p.m. ET.