In 1946 Los Angeles got not one but two professional football teams.
There had been pro football in Los Angeles before, back in 1926. Since then it had languished, however. That changed in January 1946 when it was announced that Dan Reeves, owner of the National Football League’s Cleveland Rams was relocating his team to Los Angeles.
Several of the lineup would be familiar to local college football fans. Kenny Washington, Bob Waterfield. Jack Finlay, Woody Strode and Nate DeFransicso had played for UCLA. Bob de Laver, Jim Hardy, Pat West and Jack Banta were USC alum.
Their first preseason game, played at Soldier Field in Chicago against the College All-Stars on 8/24, was a poor start for pro football in the city: they lost 16-0.
But the next, a charity game against the Washington Redskins at Memorial Coliseum (aka Los Angeles Coliseum), thrilled the 68,188 fans in attendance with a 16-14 victory.
Meanwhile, Los Angeles had another pro team that year, the Dons, of the new the All-American Football Conference league.
The Dons played their first local game on September 13, at Memorial Coliseum, where 20 years earlier Red Grange’s Chicago Bears had taken on the Los Angeles Tigers. A crowd of about 19,000 saw the Dons beat the Brooklyn Dodgers 20-14.
The Rams first season pro game in L.A, against the Philadelphia Eagles, also took place at the Coliseum, on September 29. The crowd of 30,553 endured 95 degree heat and the occasional thundershower only to see the Rams lose 25-14 when the Eagles pulled off a second half comeback.
The L.A. Dons were in existence through 1949. The Rams, after an absence of 20 years, returned to Los Angeles in 2016- 70 years after they first arrived.