Twenty-four years ago, Los Angeles lost its football team. Two years ago, the city got it back. Andy Hogan and his father John are two Rams fans having a "born again" experience with the NFL's return to L.A., and their family's connection to the franchise goes back to the beginning.
"The Rams were here for 49 years. They were here before the Dodgers, before the Lakers. They were the first professional sports team in the state of California," Andy Hogan said. "The Rams made so much history here, breaking the NFL's color barrier before Jackie Robinson did it with the Brooklyn Dodgers. Being the first team to put a logo on the side of their helmet. There was just so much history, is was incredible they were allowed to move at all."
Hogan was four years old when the Rams played their last game in Anaheim Stadium.
"With the Rams being gone, I missed out on a lot of being able to go to football games with not only with my dad, but with my grandfather as well," Hogan said. "My grandfather didn't actually survive to see the Rams come back."
In November 2009, Hogan decided to start a Facebook page to see what kind of interest there was in bringing the Rams back to Los Angeles. Within a week, the page had 100 likes. Then 1,000. Then 10,000 on the way to 70,000.
"It did grow into a thing where we would hold rallies," Hogan said. "It's one thing to click Like on Facebook and it's another thing to show up."
In 2016 the NFL announced the Rams would return to Los Angeles.
"It's something I'm intensely proud of," said Tom Bateman, director of Bring Back The Rams. "Helping reestablish the Rams at least in the mindset of Southern California."