L.A. Rallies Around Rams' "MNF" Win After Thousand Oaks, Camp Fire
The Rams' 54-51 win over the Chiefs last night at L.A. Coliseum "turned out to be an evening of catharsis for a city" dealing with multiple tragedies in recent weeks, according to Jim Alexander of the L.A. DAILY NEWS. Rams Exec VP/Football Operations & COO Kevin Demoff: "This represents the best of Los Angeles and the best of the NFL and how it brings people together." Alexander notes the Rams were "given five days to prepare for a home game suddenly dropped into their laps," and the organization "pulled it all together." There were 77,002 tickets distributed, a "number of them freebies handed out," and the motto of “L.A. Together” was "printed on the rally towels handed out at the gates" (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 11/20). Demoff: "When the NFL put a team in Los Angeles, they couldn’t have dreamed of this. There were 77,000 people here on five days’ notice. One of the greatest games of the year, halftime concert, rallying an entire city. It’s beyond words." In L.A., Sam Farmer writes it was a "huge moment for the NFL" in the market, with Commissioner Roger Goodell in attendance, "along with thousands of first responders from the recent fires and mass shooting in Thousand Oaks" (L.A. TIMES, 11/20).
MORE THAN A GAME: In California, Ryan Kartje in a front-page piece writes, "In a sprawling city so impossibly disparate, a sense of community can feel fleeting." But the Coliseum last night "stood at its unmistaken center" as a "stadium of white towels waved in unison." When L.A. "needed the Rams most, they threw their arms around their city" (ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 11/20). Also in California, Rich Hammond notes the Rams "tried to make the night" about the Thousand Oaks and Camp Fire first responders "as much as possible." Their outreach attempts also "will continue." Hammond: "For two years, the Rams have been looking for that signature moment to show they’ve been embraced by Southern California. It happened Monday" (ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 11/20). ESPN's Joe Tessitore during the broadcast called the night a "galvanizing rallying point for a community that has been dealing with so much" ("Chiefs-Rams," ESPN, 11/19). Rams QB Jared Goff: "You could really feel the community come together tonight, with the energy from the crowd and everything leading up to the game." Goff said the fact that the team was "able to give joy and some sort of normalcy for a few hours is awesome" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 11/20).
NECESSARY DISTRACTION: In L.A., Blake Richardson notes last night for the first responders "offered a chance to finally relax." Ventura County Fire Department Public Information Officer Stan Ziegler said that "more than 100 first responders accepted the Rams’ invitation to watch the game." Ziegler: "You would not believe what it means to us" (L.A. TIMES, 11/20). ESPN.com's Arash Markazi noted both Rams and Chiefs players and coaches "wore hats honoring a variety" of L.A. area fire and law enforcement agencies, "including the California Highway Patrol, LAFD, LAPD, LA County Fire Department, Ventura County Fire Department and Ventura County Sheriff." The agency's logo was "on the front of the cap, and the team's logo was on the side." The game-worn hats will be "auctioned off after the game, with the proceeds going to the Conejo Valley Victims Fund and American Red Cross Southern California Wildfire Relief." Game-worn jerseys also will be auctioned off, with proceeds "going to the relief efforts" (ESPN.com, 11/20).