(Reuters) - With a charismatic young coach, an entertaining offense and a personality-driven defense, the Los Angeles Rams are on the verge of scripting a dramatic ending to their Hollywood blockbuster when they face the New England Patriots in Sunday’s Super Bowl.
When the Rams returned to Los Angeles for the 2016 season, after spending the previous 21 campaigns in St. Louis, they had no idea if they would enjoy a happy homecoming.
The Los Angles sports landscape had changed beyond recognition during their absence, leaving the Rams to compete for attention in the entertainment capital of the world.
When the San Diego Chargers relocated to Los Angeles a year later, it seemed as if the city was overpopulated with footballers.
But in a crowded box office, the Rams were eager to ensure they were the headline act.
The team hired the then-30-year-old Sean McVay in January 2017, making him the youngest head coach in NFL history.
McVay quickly established himself as one of the NFL’s best offensive minds and he used a fresh approach to unlock the potential of second-year quarterback Jared Goff, who was considered by many to be a bust after his rookie campaign.
Young running back Todd Gurley, who had also struggled the previous year, returned to Pro Bowl form and tallied more than 2,000 total yards.
The Rams would finish 11-5 and win their first NFC West title since 2003, and first in Los Angeles since 1985, in their honeymoon year with McVay.
The Rams lost to Atlanta in the NFC wildcard round, but it was viewed as valuable playoff experience for a burgeoning team.
The franchise went all in on the 2018 off-season by signing defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, reaching an agreement with Pro Bowl holdout Aaron Donald and trading for cornerback Marcus Peters on the defensive side.
The team also added to their dynamic wide receiver core by trading for speedy Brandin Cooks.
The Rams finished second in total offense during the regular season and unofficially near the top of the league in entertainment value.
The team has also displayed grit during their 13-3 regular season and run to the Super Bowl.
Key receiver Cooper Kupp suffered a season-ending ACL injury in November, while Gurley has been hampered in the playoffs with nagging injuries.
But the Rams have held their own in the battle to reign supreme in LA, and now all that is left is to pull out an Oscar-winning performance against the Patriots on the NFL’s grandest stage.
Writing by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; Editing by Pritha Sarkar
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