(KMOV.com) — As the No. 4 seed in the NFC entering the playoffs, the Rams needed some upsets on the other side of the bracket in order to host the NFC Championship Game at Stan Kroenke’s favorite little money pit, SoFi Stadium.
When the San Francisco 49ers defeated the No. 1 seed Green Bay Packers on Saturday night, that window of opportunity opened for the Rams to host the game assuming they could get past Tom Brady and the Buccaneers on Sunday. The Rams put on an impressive showing in eliminating the defending Super Bowl champions in Tampa, setting them up to host the 49ers next weekend.
In most circumstances, that would be something for a team to celebrate. But the Rams in LA don’t exactly have a dome-field advantage when it comes to facing the 49ers.
Lots of 49ers fans at SoFi. pic.twitter.com/yYciQv7jmA
— David Ochoa (@DavidOchoaTV) January 9, 2022
When the Rams and 49ers last played at SoFi Stadium in Week 18 this season—a win that San Francisco needed just to sneak into the playoffs—49ers fans flooded the stands with red and made their presence known.
Listening to the crowd noise on television, you’d have thought the 49ers were the home team for that game. Your eyes would have told a similar story. Apart from the blue end zone and electronic signage visible in the background behind 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel, that’s a Rams road game:
San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel (19) reacts on his touchdown during an NFL football game against the Los Angeles Rams Sunday, Jan. 9, 2022, in Inglewood, Calif. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)
With a trip to the Super Bowl on the line this time around, the Rams are trying to do something about it.
Ticketmaster screenshots began circulating Sunday as the Rams noted that public sales for the NFC Championship Game would be restricted to residents of the Greater Los Angeles region. The alert on the ticket-broker’s website stated that LA residency would be verified at checkout based on the billing address associated with the purchaser’s credit card.
It’s a desperate ploy, an example of ‘prevent defense’ that likely won’t work out as the team intends.
The cheapest current ticket for Sunday’s NFC Championship Game between the Rams and 49ers at SoFi Stadium is over $600. One ticket broker just told me, “It’s going to be a sea of red again. Rams fans are growing, but they aren’t paying $600 for nosebleed tickets. Not happening.” pic.twitter.com/RWC4EsUYxk
— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) January 23, 2022
It’s as though Kroenke and Kevin Demoff are deluded into believing 49ers fans don’t know anyone in LA that can lend a hand in facilitating a ticket purchase.
And don’t be surprised, Enos, when Los Angeles residents assist with those requests from their San Francisco fan friends, because LA simply doesn’t care about winning Rams football the way St. Louis would have.
That’s something you’d have realized if, you know, you had ever bothered to put a capable product on the field for the final decade of the team’s time in the Lou.
Of course, we know this by now in St. Louis. Rams brass built a consistently listless team in the years before bolting for Los Angeles in 2016. They failed to achieve even one winning season from 2004 to 2015. They lied and deceived anyone in their path en route to a relocation that was an outright violation of the NFL’s own relocation guidelines. They recently agreed to cough up $790 million to St. Louis in a settlement that proves they darn well knew it.
And even putting everything else aside, from a pure football perspective, it really is a crime.
Since moving to Los Angeles, Kroenke and Co. have completely shifted gears. Wouldn’t you know it, they started trying to win. Signing marquee free agents and executing trades to bring in winning players. It’s as though they began paying attention to the draft. With a third-round pick in 2017, they found Cooper Kupp.
Look, you don’t have to like the Rams—I sure as heck don’t—but even the most embittered former St. Louis Rams fans would have to admit that Kupp is a superstar. He won the wide receiver triple crown this season, leading the league in receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns. He’s certainly the kind of player St. Louis would have fallen in love with.
STL would be losing its ever-loving mind, donating plasma and taking out second mortgages to support a Rams team like this one. That’s just a fact. https://t.co/0iC0gvheMb
— Brenden Schaeffer (@bschaeffer12) January 24, 2022
One thing is for certain. If this game were being played in St. Louis, you wouldn’t have players’ wives begging people on social media not to sell their tickets to the opposing team’s fan base.
If you @RamsNFL fans want to sell your tickets – I’ll buy them. Just DO NOT sell them to the other team PLEASE!
— Melissa Whitworth (@mrs_whit77) January 23, 2022
Los Angeles has a Rams team that St. Louis would have bent over backwards to support, and their city doesn’t seem to care. The Rams are so concerned about the apathy from their new home fans that they feel the need to play some prevent defense long before the game even kicks off.
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