_____________________________ ST. NORBERT CHURCH           RATES ________________________         EBOOK


The Impact of Football on the Cerritos Community

Photo by BP Miller via Unsplash

Football is the most popular sport in the United States, and Los Angeles is among the biggest hotbeds of fans in the country. However, the city lost its NFL teams for a long period when the Raiders moved to Oakland, and the Rams moved to St. Louis. Despite that, the football tradition continued in Los Angeles, specifically in the Los Cerritos area. Let’s look at the impact that the sport has had in that area.

A Rich but Complicated Professional Football History

Los Angeles’ history with football is complicated, not unlike its history with basketball once was. It is easy to forget that at one point, the Rams and Dodgers were the prominent franchises in the city, with the Lakers as an afterthought. Then, the Showtime Lakers took the NBA by storm, and the rest is history.

Well, the community’s history with football is even more complicated. The first significant taste of professional football came with the Rams, who remained there from the 1940s through 1996. During that time, they won two championships, the first in 1945 and another in 1951. Then came the Raiders in 1982, one of the most successful franchises in the league at the time. That team won a title in 1983, a football betting favorite. 

However, the community had both franchises stripped from them at the same time. In the mid-90s, in the midst of several seasons of mediocrity, the Raiders moved back to Oakland while the Rams moved to St. Louis, leaving a football-hungry community without a professional team. These moves deeply wounded the community, as it hadn’t been without professional football since before World War II.

It would have been easy for the Los Angeles area to abandon football, considering how many other great professional sports programs there were. The Clippers joined the Lakers and Dodgers, and right as the NFL left Los Angeles, Major League Soccer was on its way. The LA Galaxy would prove to be one of the most popular soccer franchises in the United States, coming to town in 1996, right as the NFL was leaving. They would only get even more popular when David Beckham came to town. However, the city didn’t abandon football, instead investing in the amateur ranks. 

Photo by Sean Pierce via Unsplash

College Football Picks Up The Pieces

While the community had lost its professional teams, it still had a strong football tradition in its college ranks, specifically through the University of Southern California. The city also had the University of California, Los Angeles, but USC was far more successful. While the 1997 Bruins were co-Pac-10 champions and won the Cotton Bowl, USC consistently fought for championships.

Without a professional team, the Trojans filled the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum week in and week out. With the hiring of Pete Carroll in 2001, the team became a national powerhouse. In his second year, he led his team to a #5 ranking in the BCS and won the Orange Bowl. Then, from 2003–2005, USC reached the peak of college football each season, sharing the national championship in 2003 with USC, winning it outright in 2004, and falling in the national championship game in 2005. While the 2004 and 2005 seasons were vacated mainly due to NCAA sanctions, college football had to go through Los Angeles for a three-year stretch.

Photo by Leah Hetteberg via Unsplash

The Football Scene in Los Cerritos

Los Angeles has a rich football history, as we have seen. But there is far more football going on under the professional and college ranks. While Los Angeles now plays host to the Rams and Chargers, the youth and high school football scene is rich with talent and tradition. Specifically, the Cerritos High Falcons have been a powerhouse in their own right in the Southeastern Los Angeles area.

The squad has won the past two 605 league titles and is in line to win a third this season. The Los Angeles area has long been a hotbed for NFL talent, playing home to players such as Richard Sherman and Steve Smith. While it’s easy to get distracted by the professional and college players that come out of the area, it’s important to remember the positive impact that these teams and sports have on the young men and women who play them. 

There is strong evidence to support that participation in sports, and athletic activities affects cognitive performance and overall academic performance. High school football is a significant character and community builder, as well as an opportunity for young athletes to get scholarships and utilize their talents for a higher education. While professional football has a complicated legacy in Los Cerritos, football as a whole doesn’t, and the community is just as in love with the sport as it has ever been. 

Where Do We Go From Here?

Football isn’t going anywhere in Los Angeles. In fact, with the Rams winning the Super Bowl, a beautiful stadium in SoFi Stadium, and a Chargers team that features an unbelievable talent at quarterback, Justin Herbert, the city’s love for the sport should only grow. Football has had an undeniable impact on the community and will continue to grow in the future.