Rams and London Don’t Mix
The NFL has continuously tried to cash in on favors since granting the Rams the right to relocate. The newest favor is taking another home game off the schedule and tossing it to the growing number of fans across the pond. It will mark the third time in three seasons the Rams have made the trip, and the results so far haven't been good.
With the exception of their brief "Greatest Show" days, during their time in St. Louis the Rams struggled in a market that favored the St. Louis Blues (NHL) and St. Louis Cardinals (MLB) over them. It's hard to imagine now, especially with the bad results thus far, that the Rams want to continue to export home games.
Yes, the brand could always benefit from gaining more fans overseas, but they could also see improvements by continuing to market themselves in LA. This is becoming increasingly more important as the Chargers look to push their way into the "new" market, and with the Raiders lurking in the shadows with a possible move to Las Vegas.
In 2007, the International Series was born when the New York Giants took on the Jacksonville Jaguars. It became the first regular-season game held outside of the country and the international fans were treated to a 13-10 Giants victory over the Jaguars. A single game was then held each year through 2011 until a multi-year, multi-game contract was struck in 2012. Much to the chagrin of Rams fans, the team has played a part in the International Series since.
Although the initially honored their contractual agreement and played in the 2012 game against the Patriots, which led to a ridiculously poor outing by the team in which they lost 45-7. The Rams also agreed to play two more games in London but backed out of the 2013 and 2014 games.
Almost immediately after announcing the Rams would be moving to LA, it became clear the NFL was going to move them into the International Series once again. This was done in part to help USC, which is currently sharing the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum with the Rams. It also seemed to be done as a favor to the NFL for letting the Rams move. Their forgettable season on “Hard Knocks” also falls into this category.
The Rams kicked the three-game run off with a game against the Giants, which they lost 17-14 behind Case Keenum’s four interceptions and a struggling running game.
The Rams, who will play the Cardinals next year in the UK, have lost both games in the International Series, furthering the argument that games in London are potentially harmful to the success of the team.
Surprisingly, this year’s Bengals-Redskins game, which resulted in a tie was the highest attended game of the bunch. It was also the only overtime game and only tie overseas. In 2017, the NFL has agreed to play four games in London and another in Mexico.
Brett Crossley is a Los Angeles Rams writer for Pro Football Spot. For comments, contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or give him a follow on twitter @BrettCrossley44