So by the looks of things, maybe — just maybe — the NFL overestimated the appetite for professional football in the Los Angeles area.
All of those empty seats in the Coliseum during the TV broadcast of the Rams’ 27-20 loss to the visiting Washington Redskins on Sunday? Not a great look.
Nor was the Chargers’ inability to sell out their first regular-season game in L.A. since moving from San Diego to their temporary stadium, which holds only 27,000, making it by far the smallest facility in the league. They drew only 25,381 for what turned out to be a 19-17 loss to the Miami Dolphins.
Even if you add that number to the official attendance figure of 56,612 tickets distributed for the Rams’ game, you get a total of less than 82,000.
For fun, let’s offer this apples-to-oranges comparison: The Southern California vs. Texas college game on Saturday night attracted nearly 85,000 to the Coliseum.
To be clear, that is not an entirely fair comparison, given USC’s rich local history and support and how new (and bad) the Rams and Chargers are at the moment. Still, any St. Louis or San Diego football fans who already were disenchanted by their NFL teams’ departures might be interested to see whether the Rams and Chargers wind up being popular in their new digs.
In case you missed it, here are the other top topics after the NFL season’s second Sunday:
TEACHERS DEFEAT STUDENTS
Raise a toast to the mentors, who went 3-0 against their pupils. Jay Gruden’s Redskins beat his former offensive coordinator Sean McVay’s Rams; Ron Rivera’s Carolina Panthers edged his former defensive coordinator Sean McDermott’s Buffalo Bills 9-3 ; Andy Reid’s Kansas City Chiefs got past his former offensive coordinator Doug Pederson’s Philadelphia Eagles 27-20 . Maybe some of the familiarity helped the elders this time. “We got a feel for what they were doing,” Chiefs safety Daniel Sorensen said, “and our front seven got after them.”
Marshawn Lynch had a blast in his hometown debut for his new team, running for a TD in the first half of the Oakland Raiders’ 45-20 victory over the New York Jets and getting the crowd going by dancing on the sideline after Michael Crabtree’s third touchdown catch. “It was exceptional. I was actually very inspired,” Raiders coach Jack Del Rio joked about his running back’s moves. “I was going to go join him.”
Not that anyone possibly could have thought one bad game signaled the end of Tom Brady’s dominance — no one really thought that, right?! — but the New England Patriots’ 40-year-old QB went out and did something even HE never had: threw three TD passes in the first quarter. Brady finished 30 of 39 for 447 yards to help the reigning Super Bowl champions beat the New Orleans Saints 36-20. In a Week 1 loss to the Chiefs, Brady was just 16 for 36 with zero TDs. Making his performance against the Saints all the more impressive: He had only three active wide receivers and Rob Gronkowski left with a groin injury. Making it less impressive: It came against the Saints’ defense, which is as bad as it gets.
Cleveland Browns left tackle Joe Thomas stretched his consecutive snaps streak past 10,000 during a 24-10 loss to the Baltimore Ravens. Thomas has never missed a snap in his decade-long career, which is truly remarkable given just how many injuries happen each and every week in the NFL. On Sunday alone, such key players as Ravens G Marshal Yanda (broken ankle), Panthers TE Greg Olsen (broken foot) and Packers WR Jordy Nelson (leg) left games.
ICYMI, OTHER GAMES
In other games Sunday, it was Falcons 34, Packers 23 ; Broncos 42, Cowboys 17 ; Seahawks 12, 49ers 9 ; Steelers 26, Vikings 9 ; Buccaneers 29, Bears 7 ; Titans 37, Jaguars 16 ; Cardinals 16, Colts 13 in OT. The Giants host the Lions on Monday night.
Follow Howard Fendrich on Twitter at http://twitter.com/HowardFendrich
For more NFL coverage: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP_NFL