Not exactly a warm welcome for newest member of LA sports family

Most Shalhevet students say fans already committed elsewhere, but strong minority happy because they're a better team

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Not exactly a warm welcome for newest member of LA sports family

 A photo-illustration from the Chargers' Facebook page.

A photo-illustration from the Chargers' Facebook page.

Photo Credit: https://www.facebook.com/chargers/

A photo-illustration from the Chargers' Facebook page.

Photo Credit: https://www.facebook.com/chargers/

Photo Credit: https://www.facebook.com/chargers/

A photo-illustration from the Chargers' Facebook page.

Clara Sandler, Sports Editor

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After 21 years with none in Los Angeles, two NFL teams seem to be too many for Shalhevet students.

After learning Jan. 12 that the San Diego Chargers would join the Los Angeles Rams, who arrived last year, a few students were pleased – among them some of Shalhevet’s strongest football fans. They said the Chargers were a better team than the Rams.

“The Chargers actually have a good future, so it’s going to be fun to watch them,” said sophomore Eytan Kent, who roots for the New England Patriots.

But most students were against it, arguing that there would be no fans in Los Angeles for a team that had been settled and popular in San Diego.

“I’ve read multiple articles about how nobody wants them to come to L.A.,” said sophomore Leor Kaminski, adding that the Chargers – who like the Rams had a losing season this year – are a “terrible” team.

“They’re breaking the hearts of the people in San Diego, and the fan base here is going to be very, very small,” said Leor. “It’s just a bad team overall and I’m not happy about it.”

Freshman Tobey Lee thinks L.A. football fans’ loyalty already belongs to the Rams, who returned to Los Angeles after 20 years in St. Louis.

“The Rams moving to Los Angeles was great,” said Tobey, a Rams fan himself, “and even though the Rams were bad, a lot of people liked them and we just have room for improvement.

“They are L.A.’s team, and I just don’t think that the Chargers’ move is approved by Los Angeles.”

Neither team made the playoffs this year.  The Chargers went 5-11 and came in fourth place in their division, while the Rams went 4-12 and came in third in theirs.

The last time the Chargers were in the playoffs was in 2013, when they finished with a 9-7 record. The last time the Rams were in the playoffs was 2004, when they went 8-8.

The Chargers’ move was announced by team owner Dean Spanos, who also said the team would play its first two seasons in Carson at the Stubhub Center, and later share the new stadium being built for the Los Angeles Rams in Inglewood.  The new stadium is set to be completed in time for the 2019 season.

Freshman Harry Diamond, who roots for the Philadelphia Eagles, said there was no point in bringing a second team to Los Angeles now.

“People are either Rams fans or they like all these other, random teams,” said Harry, who likes the Philadelphia Eagles because his parents are from Philadelphia and the family visits there often.

Even students who favored the move worried about the supply of potential fans. “I’m not a Chargers fan or a Rams fan, [but] yeah this move is probably bad for the L.A. market, and especially bad for the Rams,” said Eytan Kent. “But as a football fan living in LA, I think it’s great to have another team here, especially because the Chargers are so much better.”

Eytan criticized the Rams for trading their top draft picks for current quarterback Jared Goff, “who’s clearly not that great.”

The Chargers’ quarterback, Phillip Rivers, has been with the organization since 2004. Their other star players, wide receiver Keenan Allen and running back Melvin Gordon, have been with the organization since 2014 and 2015, respectively.

Senior Alex Silberstein, who manages Shalhevet’s Just Community fantasy league, saw only upsides to the Chargers’ move.

“Revenue in San Diego is not at an all-time high and I think that the owner of the Chargers made a financial decision in moving the Chargers to L.A.,” said Alex. “It’s interesting to have both an AFC and NFC team.”  

Sophomore Sadie Toczek and her family have been Chargers fans for as long as she can remember, because of San Diego’s proximity to Los Angeles.

“They were the closest thing to a home team” when Los Angeles had no team at all, she said, and she and her family are  excited about the move.

“We have all the Charger posters and we used to drive down to San Diego for all the games,” said Sadie, “so we’re really excited that they’re coming to LA because now we get to see [more].”

Tickets are not yet on sale, but people can sign up for a waitlist and place a $100 deposit for Chargers’ tickets.

Eytan said he would definitely go to a Chargers game, but not to a Rams game, because the Rams are “boring” and don’t play well.

Despite different viewpoints, everyone is united about one thing: the Chargers’ logo. Everyone interviewed agreed that the new promotional logo – which will not be used for helmets or uniforms, according to MSN – is ugly. 

The logo is an L.A. symbol with a lightning bolt off the side. It has been released in two sets of colors — royal blue and white, and light blue and yellow.           

“I think their logo is absolutely disgusting, they’re basically copying the Dodgers logo,” said sophomore Jonathan Fishman.

There was talk of the Oakland Raiders also coming to Los Angeles before the Chargers made their decision, but it looks like they will be going to Las Vegas, according to Bleacher Report.

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