It was time, and the Rams were the right team. I know that for sure now.
The first Super Bowl I can ever remember being interested in enough to watch all of was one that involved the Los Angeles Rams, Super Bowl XIV against the Steelers. The Rams had Vince Ferragamo, Wendell Tyler, Lawrence McCutcheon and a kicker from Mexico named Frank Corral.
At that point being only in elementary school, I was into the Cowboys. But my Southern Caifornia relatives were Rams fans, and though a few would join the Raider Nation when those guys came to L.A., the Rams have been the dominant team among the Romeros.
When NFL owners voted to approve the move of the Rams back to Los Angeles from St. Louis, it didn't affect me much. Now there is a true NFC West with every team in the West. Now there will be no more morning games within the divison. Now the Rams get to play in the L.A. Coliseum until their new stadium is built in Inglewood.
Then I started looking at Facebook, seeing the excited posts of my cousins who are old enough to remember the original Rams expressing their joy at the return of their team. And on Wednesday came an email with selfies of Uncle Mike in Rams gear.
Mike Romero watched the Rams way back in the Fearsome Foursome days. I'm guessing he's in his 60s now. Even when the Rams were ripped away from him in L.A., he and my cousins would take trips to see the St. Louis Rams in other cities.
Places like Baltimore, where my uncle Ben would host. And cousin Gene Paredes, who moved to the Atlanta area from Southern California, stuck with the Rams in Falcon Land.
The Rams were in L.A. when my dad and his brothers were growing up in nearby Moorpark. Rams football spans generations of my family all the way back to those born in the 1940s.
The familia never quit on the Rams. When they came out to California for a few days of training camp this past summer, my relatives were there in Oxnard in their yellow and blue. Or gold and blue. I hope the Rams go back to the old royal and yellow, personally.
That's dedication. And that's why, while it sucks for St. Louis to lose its NFL team, the return of the Rams to where they belong is best. It's like reuniting with an old friend, one you had many good times with. Like getting a chance to relive your youth.
How could Los Angeles go 20 years without an NFL team? The second-largest market in the country? It's been time for the NFL there for years.
As for the other teams not chosen for L.A., the Raiders would have been a better fit than the Chargers. The L.A. fan base for the Raiders is much larger. But the Raiders belong in Oakland. It's the perfect team for that type of town, the perfect counterbalance to the 49ers. The Raiders started in Oakland, and here's hoping they can someday get a new stadium.
The Chargers could still end up in Los Angeles, but that wouldn't seem right either. I've only known them as the San Diego Chargers. The powder blue. Junior Seau. L.T. Dan Fouts. Air Coryell. That's San Diego. The Bolts. The infectious disco groove of "San Diego Super Chargers." It wouldn't fit elsewhere. There's history there, a history longer than that of the St. Louis Rams.
San Diego would be down to one pro team, the Padres. Those folks deserve their NFL team and city leaders and team ownership has to make it work.
St. Louis? Not a bad town. Great light rail system. Great baseball team and they have good hockey. Football fans got hurt, but how could the chance to move to L.A. from St. Louis, where the Rams had to play in the now out-of-date Edward Jones Dome, be turned down? It's a smart business move even though the fans are the ones who suffer.
Seattle Supersonics fans know all about that. So do original Cleveland Browns fans.
The Rams would have spent their existence under the Gateway Arch playing second fiddle to the baseball Cardinals. Those fans can look forward to baseball postseasons in October to keep them from missing the NFL. Lots of cities don't have that.
It's probably going to be a little painful in the beginning. This Rams team has a solid defense but lacks a balanced offense with only young running back Todd Gurley and playmaker Tavon Austin to be excited about. But a new home and new start in a city like Los Angeles, where they will be welcomed with open arms, is a thrill for the organization and its most devoted fans.