“This is a start in an exciting new chapter in Chargers history,” Los Angeles Chargers owner Dean Spanos said to dozens of fans clad in Chargers memorabilia. “Los Angeles is truly a remarkable place.”
Spanos was now in his new eventual home, Inglewood, a place where the Chargers and Rams will bunk up to provide a double dose of pro football for seasons to come.
The city of Inglewood officially welcomed the Los Angeles Chargers last week at the Forum. Inglewood mayor James Butts, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, and L.A. Rams COO Kevin Demoff united with Spanos, head coach Anthony Lynn and a few Chargers players for a kick off ceremony.
“You are welcome here and you will feel welcomed here every day of every year,” Butts said to the Spanos family. “Coach Lynn, I am so excited for you. Not only will you be coaching in the most magnificent arena in the world, you’ll actually have a replay screen that is actually large enough to see the replay.”
Among the crowd were many fans and some hecklers. One man jeered Spanos while he addressed the crowd and was escorted out with the help of a Chargers fan. Some, like die-hard fan Tyler Roberson, took the trip from San Diego to the ceremony. Roberson plans to travel to Los Angeles for home games in the fall.
“I’m still a Charger fan, been a season ticket holder for 17 years and plan on getting my season tickets out here,” he said. “I just basically wanted my Chargers to have a new stadium because Qualcomm is old, it’s outdated.”
Radio personality Big Boy displayed excitement for the upcoming football season and for the great moments that the people of Los Angeles, and himself, can spend with family while watching games.
“We have the best fans in the world, extremely passionate, sometimes too passionate,” Big Boy said.
Clipper Darrell also showed his support of the new L.A. team, mentioning how the Clippers made a similar exodus back in 1984.
“I’ve seen the passion of the fans on TV, burning up the jerseys and stuff like that,” Clipper Darrell said. “Be passionate for your team, love you team and respect what the ownership does.”
Among the group of players in attendance was L.A. native Brandon Mebane, who is going into his third season with the Chargers.
“It’s great to be back home,” Mebane said “I’m overwhelmed with joy to be back home [and] play in front of my family.”
Former Charger player and NFL Network personality Akbar Gbaja-Biamila sees the economic benefits of housing two NFL teams.
“The new stadium will have a tenant in there every single week of the football season,”Gbaja-Biamila said. “That means a lot of job creating just here in the city of Inglewood.”
The sonorous cheers drowned out the frail jeers from the crowd, giving the teammates hope that their fan base could flourish in their new city.
“We got a lot of support out here, more than I thought we had,” said Pro Bowl-bound running back Melvin Gordon. “I’m excited to see how the season is gonna turn out.”