The Los Angeles area had been without a NFL for 21 years before the St. Louis Rams decided that they were going to head back to Southern California. Los Angeles is the central location for the second-largest media market in the entire United States and was actually the first city along the West Coast to get a NFL team, even if it did not last forever.
The Los Angeles Buccaneers and Los Angeles Wildcats
The first NFL team that landed in Los Angeles was the Los Angeles Buccaneers. But since the Los Angeles Coliseum Commission had put a ban on pro teams practicing in their stadium, it was forced to be a road team. A road team is a professional team that does not play in its home stadium. So since the Coliseum Commission would not allow for pro teams and there were so many athletes coming from Californian universities, the only option was to have a Los Angeles team that simply did not play in Los Angeles.
The Los Angeles Buccaneers, though comprised of Californian players, was based out of Chicago. I know that does not make a lot of since to us in the modern day because we would think it would then be a Chicago team, but remember that this was the 1920s. There was not air travel to get to places easily. Teams had to travel by rail, buggy, and cars that could accommodate them, meaning that travel was hard. Having a central location in the United States would make it far easier to travel to games.
On the AFL side of things, there was the Los Angeles Wildcats that faced the same location issue as the Buccaneers. Neither team survived past the 1926 season, unsurprisingly.
The Los Angeles Bulldogs
The first pro football team to actually stay in Los Angeles were the Los Angeles Bulldogs. The Bulldogs reserved the right to operate independently, being part of several different pro leagues from 1934 to 1948. In 1948, the team was reduced to being a minor league team.
The Bulldogs resided in Gilmore Stadium, which is where CBS Television City is currently located. The NFL allowed the Bulldogs into the 1937 NFL season, but there was still the issue of traveling around the country for games. Air travel still was not common, making journeys to make games incredibly tricky. Because the NFL had to go back on their admittance of the Bulldogs into the league, they held the 1938 and 1939 All-Star Games in Los Angeles.
The Los Angeles Rams
The Los Angeles Rams were originally the Cleveland Rams, but they moved to Los Angeles in 1946, bringing the first stable NFL team to the West Coast. The Rams had won the 1946 Super Bowl and then decided that California would make a better home for them. The home for the Los Angeles Rams was the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum was the home field for the USC Trojans as well as the UCLA Bruins as well as well as the Los Angeles Dons, which was part of an AAFC franchise. When the Rams went to Los Angeles, the league decided to remove their restriction against African American players, allowing a more diverse pool of football players.
The Rams became a powerhouse when they moved to Los Angeles and they were already a pretty impressive team in Cleveland. They eventually became unhappy with the location of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and moved to the Anaheim Coliseum.
Los Angeles lost both its pro teams in the 1990s when the Raiders moved to Oakland and the Rams moved to St. Louis. It was only recently announced that the Rams would be moving back to Los Angeles, bringing the NFL back to Los Angeles.