It had been almost 20 years since an NFL team packed up and moved before this offseason.
On Monday night, the Rams play their first regular season game as the Los Angeles Rams since Dec. 24, 1994, when they visit the San Francisco 49ers in the second half of ESPN’s Monday Night Football doubleheader.
The Rams, of course, spent the past 21 seasons in St. Louis after originally moving from Anaheim to Missouri in time for the 1995 season.
While many in southern California are happy to have them back, the Rams left plenty of unhappy folks back in St. Louis — not to mention an empty downtown domed stadium.
The last team to pick up and move were the Houston Oilers who made their first steps into Tennessee following the 1996 season.
The Tennessee Oilers spent one season in Memphis before moving to Nashville and becoming the Tennessee Titans in 1999.
Some fans in Houston remained loyal to the Oilers/Titans franchise even when the expansion Texans came to town in 2002.
As was the case in Cleveland when the Browns left for Baltimore in 1995, Houston got its NFL team back after building a new stadium.
St. Louis, which lost the football-playing Cardinals to the Arizona desert in 1987, isn’t expected to get a third shot at an NFL team.
So where does that leave all those displaced Rams fans in St. Louis?
According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, some fans have swore off the Rams — and the NFL — entirely.
“If I happen to see a TV with any NFL game or show, I will leave immediately,” Brian Clarke told the Post-Dispatch.
“I won’t listen to any radio show that has anything to do with the NFL. I will try as hard as I can to avoid supporting the NFL in any way. I am loyal to my city and I believe in the people who live here. The NFL willfully trashed St. Louis’ business community, its citizens, and attempted to influence national opinion against the city on many important levels.”
Joseph Kemp told the Post-Dispatch he was going to stop watching football on Sunday and use that free time to do something productive: Learn to play the electric guitar.
“Not watching the NFL will free up at least six hours a week, so I should be able to become a proficient guitar player,” Kemp said.
A local Elks Lodge held a “St. Louis Rams Turn or Burn” event on Saturday night in which fans could either burn their old Rams gear or donate it to a veterans’ charity in Los Angeles.
Some have decided to hold onto their gear despite other teams — like the Colts, for instance — trying to lure away their loyalties.
Joe Volz told the Post-Dispatch he will continue rooting on the team he’s been a fan of for years.
“Watching the Rams with friends and family is what makes me happy,” he said, adding that owner Stan Kroenke “can’t take that from me.”
Lonny Ludwig had an interesting take. If the Rams are as good as they have been the past few seasons, he may watch more games.
“I may even watch part of a Rams game if I think they’ll be embarrassed by their opponent,” he said.
Next year, fans of the Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers may be asking themselves the same question those in St. Louis are.