The Los Angeles Rams have just returned to the West Coast, after spending the last few years in St. Louis. The NFL is looking to relocate the franchise yet again when the 2018 season kicks off, at least for a week.
New details have emerged about the league’s plans to have a game open the 2018 season in China and the two teams that are most likely to play in that game appear to be the Rams and the San Francisco 49ers. As Yahoo Sports reports, the NFL might have decided the Rams don’t have the right to say no to the game abroad, since they were just allowed to move home cities.
While those in China are likely quite excited about the prospect of being able to watch an NFL game live, those in the US are looking at this kind of travel as little more than a massive hassle. The league has talked about reducing that hassle by making the game take place in the first week, though there are is still going to be quite a bit of jet lag in this scenario.
It doesn’t appear there are going to be volunteers for the game, which is why the NFL is pushing a team like the Rams, who is seen as owing it a favor. Players understand this is part of the job, but there is usually a pretty decent amount of complaining precisely because the game is going to interrupt their usual practice routine.
Critics of the plan to open the 2018 season in China have also pointed out it’s a bit disrespectful to the core base of NFL fans. The league insiders have talked about making the Los Angeles Rams the home team in this game. As a matter of practicality, that means the team is only going to have seven home games in the 2018 season.
That seems like an odd move for the league to do, for a team that will play its first season in Los Angeles this year. It would seem likely the team would like to continue to build it’s local fan base back up, by having as many games as possible in its home stadium. The China season opener isn’t a done deal, but the league has said it would like to find a way to make it work.