Mayor of Los Angeles says his city would've been happy with just the Rams
The L.A. mayor has something in common with Chargers fans in San Diego
If Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti had been in charge of NFL relocation, it doesn't sound like the Chargers would have ended up in his city.
"Absolutely, and I said that at the time," Garcetti said. "Both the Raiders and the Chargers, it would have been nice if they could have stayed put where they are, because Oakland and San Diego have huge fan bases, there's a big tradition."
One fan who attended the Chargers' home opener definitely heard Garcetti's interview because he made a sign celebrating the mayor's comments.
Garcetti, who watched the Raiders and Rams leave L.A. as a kid, seemed to truly empathize with Chargers fans who watched their team leave San Diego after the 2016 season.
"My heart goes out to folks in San Diego. I remember as a kid what it was like to lose not just one, but two teams," Garcetti said.
Although Garcetti would've been happy with just the Rams in Los Angeles, the mayor did add that this doesn't mean he wants the Chargers to fail.
"We embrace any team that comes," Garcetti said. "We're certainly happy to have the Chargers in L.A., but I think we could have been happy with just the (Rams)."
If Week 2 of the NFL season was any indication, fans in Los Angeles seem to have the same ho-hum attitude toward the Chargers that Garcetti has. Despite 27,000 people, the Chargers weren't able to sell out their home opener on Sunday.
When it comes to attendance, the Chargers (25,381) and Rams (56,612) actually finished behind USC over the weekend. The Trojans' Saturday night game against Texas drew more fans (84,714) than the Chargers and Rams drew combined on Sunday (81,993).
The Chargers' opener was a rocky beginning in L.A. for the team. Not only did they lose, but the stadium was half full of fans who.
The Chargers also need to work out a few kinks. For instance, take the team's game-day program. For the first game in L.A., the biography in the program for Chargers vice chairman Michael Spanos noted that he was still trying to get a stadium built in San Diego.
The good news for the Chargers is that they do have the support of Garcetti, even if he didn't want them at first. The mayor just wants to teams to stop alienating fans and to stay put in one place.
"I'm glad that the Chargers will build up a fan base, and it really is southern California," Garcetti said. "I believe in players playing for a long time on teams, and teams staying in a city for their lives. That's really what makes it great growing up. You can root for the people and the teams without wondering if it's just going to be all about business, and where somebody could make a few hundred million dollars more."
If the Chargers want to grow a fan base, the fastest way to do that will be to win an actual game. The team is 0-2 following Sunday's 19-17 loss to the Dolphins. The Chargers have done a good job of breaking everyone's hearts so far: Both losses have happened due to a missed field goal in the final nine seconds of the game.
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