The NFL will return to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Saturday for the first time since 1994 when the Los Angeles Rams face the Dallas Cowboys in the preseason opener for both teams.
A crowd of more than 80,000 is expected. A limited number of tickets remained available as of Friday afternoon, according to Artis Twyman, the Los Angeles Rams senior director of communications.
The Rams, NFL and USC, which manages the Coliseum in association with the stadium’s staff, are working with city, state and federal agencies including the Los Angeles Police Department, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, Los Angeles Fire Department, California Highway Patrol and the FBI, in addition to private security firms to ensure a safe experience, Twyman said.
The LAPD “doesn’t anticipate any problems,” Officer Drake Madison told City News Service.
“We have more than enough resources that will be allocated to the area,” said Madison, who added that he did not know how many officers would be assigned to the game.
There have been no credible threats associated with the game, Madison said.
Additional security elements will be in effect for all events at the Coliseum this year. Metal detectors have been installed at all gates and fans will be required to walk through them before entering the stadium.
The NFL’s clear bag policy will also be in effect, with Rams officials strongly encouraging fans to not bring any bags.
Only clear plastic, vinyl or PVS bags that do not exceed 12-inches by six-inches by 12-inches or a one-gallon plastic freezer bag are permitted in stadium plaza areas, at stadium gates or when approaching lines of fans awaiting entry into the stadium.
Small clutch bags, approximately the size of a hand, with or without a shoulder strap, may be brought into the stadium along with one of the clear bag options.
An exception will be made for medically necessary items after proper inspection at a gate designated for this purpose.
Prohibited items include, but are not limited to, purses larger than a clutch bag, coolers, briefcases, backpacks, fanny packs, cinch bags, luggage of any kind, seat cushions, computer bags, camera bags or any bag larger than the permissible size.
More information on the policy is available at nfl.com/allclear.
Parking in lots at USC and in Exposition Park is
by permit only. There is no public parking on-site for Rams games.
Parking lots open five hours prior to kickoff and close 90 minutes after the end of game. Vehicles must exit the stadium parking lots by 90 minutes after the conclusion of the game.
Due to limited parking, fans are encouraged to take Metro to the game. On game days, Metro will add service to the Expo Line two hours before and after the game, to run every six minutes, instead of every 12.
This will be the first time light rail service will be available to a Ram game at the Coliseum since Sept. 27, 1953, three days before passenger service was discontinued on the Santa Monica Air Line. The Expo Line reuses the right-of-way of the Santa Monica Air Line along Exposition Boulevard.
There is no tailgating on the USC campus or USC parking facilities during Ram games.
Tailgating is allowed in Exposition Park lots 1, 2, 4, 5 and 6 and on the South Lawn and State Drive. Tailgating is not permitted in Lot 3, the Visitor Parking Structure, South Park Drive, Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard or Expo Center Drive.
In designated lots, tailgating is allowed only in individual parking spaces, in front or behind each vehicle. Tailgating equipment must not block pedestrian or vehicle access.
The use of multiple spaces without a vehicle is prohibited. A canopy not larger than 10 feet by 10 feet may be erected in front of or behind each vehicle.
Full tailgating policies can be found at therams.com/events/parking.html.
A FanFest on Christmas Tree Lane in Exposition Park will open at noon, five hours before the opening kickoff. It includes a Kids’ Zone, the live pregame broadcast from KSPN-AM (710) and opportunities to register to win exclusive Rams experiences. Team merchandise and concessions are available for sale.
The Corona Beach House at Gate 1 has premium beverage options and will open at 2 p.m., three hours before kickoff. During the regular season, fans can watch NFL RedZone, which shows every touchdown from every game. Fans must enter through Gates 1 or 28 to access The Corona Beach House.
The rest of the stadium’s gates will open at 3 p.m., two hours before the opening kickoff. The Coliseum has a no re-entry policy. If a fan leaves, he or she will not be allowed to re-enter.
Beginning at the start of the fourth quarter, street closures will include Exposition Boulevard between Figueroa Street and Vermont Avenue; Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard between Vermont Avenue and Figueroa Street and Figueroa Street between Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Hoover Street.
Uber and Lyft vehicles are not allowed to pick up passengers around perimeter road closures.
Rams coach Jeff Fisher said this week he typically plays his starters the first two or three series in the first preseason game.
In an interview Thursday, the final day he was made available to reporters, Quarterback Jared Goff, the first player chosen in the NFL draft, said the team’s coaching staff had not told him when he will enter today’s game in relief of Case Keenum and how much he will play.
One challenge the Rams will face is having their kickers — incumbent Greg Zuerlein and rookie free agent Taylor Bertolet — acclimate themselves to the Coliseum, special teams coordinator John Fassel said.
“There’s a depth perception at either end with the field goals,” Fassel said. “There is some weird sighting depending on which way you kick.”
Fassel said the Rams will need the preseason for whoever opens the season as kicker to become comfortable with kicking in the Coliseum.
Fassel said the team will try to have one more practice in the Coliseum between the end of the preseason and the start of the regular season.
Fisher said he wants Ram fans “to go home having lost their voices.”
“We want to hear them,” Fisher said. “We need that 12th man.”
The Rams will wear white jerseys with white pants while the Cowboys will wear Navy jerseys, team officials said.
The last time NFL teams played at the Coliseum was on Dec. 24, 1994, when the Los Angeles Raiders lost to the Kansas City Chiefs, 19-9, before a crowd announced at 67,642. The Raiders returned to Oakland in 1995 after playing in Los Angeles for 13 seasons.
Today’s game will mark the first time the Rams will be the home team at the Coliseum since Dec. 16, 1979, when they lost to the New Orleans Saints, 29- 14.
The Rams then defeated the Cowboys and Tampa Bay Buccaneers in road playoff games to reach Super Bowl XIV, which they lost to Pittsburgh in their only Super Bowl appearance during their initial time in Southern California.
The Rams played their home games at what is now Angel Stadium from 1980- 94 before moving to St. Louis.
—City News Service