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Volume 24 No. 180
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Relocated Rams, Chargers Competing For Fans In L.A. With Game On Same Day

A Rams-Chargers game "isn't on the league’s schedule" this week, but it is the "most important matchup in the NFL," according to Josh Peter of USA TODAY. The two teams will be "playing 12 miles apart," with Redskins-Rams at L.A. Memorial Coliseum at 4:25pm ET, and Dolphins-Chargers at StubHub Center in Carson at 4:05pm. With the games will begin in "earnest a battle for the hearts, minds and disposable income in a town that has yet to prove it can support two NFL teams." The Rams and Chargers are "not only competing with each other." They are also "competing with two of everything -- MLB teams, NBA teams, NHL teams and MLS teams." And, "of course, the beach" (USA TODAY, 9/14). ESPN’s Arash Markazi said there is a "fever for the NFL" in L.A., but it is not for "bad football." Markazi: "When you see these images of the empty seats I kind of wish there was a little graphic that said the Rams were 4-12 last year." Markazi said he "blames the teams" for the poor attendance, because it is a "bad product on the field." He noted USC is ranked No. 4 in the country and there will be "90,000 people" at Saturday's home game against Texas. Markazi also said there is "no connection" with the Rams and Chargers. Markazi: "When you don't have a connection with the team for over 21 years, a generation of fans has been lost." He also said the NFL is "not doing these two teams a service here" by having both play at home ("OTL," ESPN, 9/13). The L.A. Times' Bill Plaschke said, "I don't blame L.A. fans for not showing up. They won four games last year. ... In this town, you have to win to get fans" ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 9/11).

LOUD & CLEAR: In San Diego, Kevin Acee notes there is a billboard containing "anti-NFL" images a "couple miles from StubHub Center" in Carson. Five rotating images will be "posted on the sign over the next three weeks." Each image "contains a picture and text taking issue with the NFL" and/or Chargers Chair Dean Spanos. In one, Rams Owner Stan Kroenke is "pictured beside Spanos while the text refers to the Chargers arrangement as a tenant in Kroenke's Inglewood stadium" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 9/14). CBSSPORTS.com's John Breech noted Joseph MacRae, a "jilted Chargers fan," paid for the messages that will appear on the billboard. The Chargers have "three home games in a row beginning this week." MacRae's plan "isn't to bash the Chargers, instead, he's using the messages on the billboard to bash" the NFL and Commissioner Roger Goodell. MacRae said that the big reason he wanted to purchase a billboard is because he "wanted to see someone call the NFL out on its B.S." The billboard company "has assured" MacRae that they "won't be coming down early, even if the NFL tries to make that happen" (CBSSPORTS.com, 9/13).