The Rams football team will roll into Miami on Nov. 1 for a confrontation with the upstart Miami Dolphins after their impressive 24-10 victory over the Chicago Bears in the first ever Monday Night Football game at SoFi Stadium.
As the team continues its playoff drive during the fan less COVID-19 season and is on trek for the payoff with a 5-2 record, the heavy lifting is being done in the front office by namely Chief Operating Officer Kevin Demoff.
Demoff is in his 11th year with the Rams and has been the point man for the transition from St. Louis to their Southern California home of Inglewood and it has been some chore.
Mind you that 2020 was the year that SoFi would open its doors for the first time, but then COVID-19 altered all those plans, or at least most of them.
Few thought we would actually get an NFL season, but there was at least some hope that fans would be able to root for their hometown team. That didn’t happen and as the coronavirus cases trends in the wrong direction it likely that fans will not be allowed to see the inside of the new saucer anytime soon.
“I think back to the very beginning January of 2015 when Stan Kroenke shared with the City of Inglewood the opportunity to redevelop Hollywood Park, the opportunity to build SoFi Stadium to bring the NFL back to Los Angeles and to bring it back to Inglewood and journey since then. The 22,000 residents who signed off on our initiative early in 2015 to help make this a reality and to the 12,000 people to come to this jobsite to help build SoFi Stadium to everybody who has been part of this journey, I am so grateful that we can stand on this field and say that the Rams now call Inglewood home,” Demoff explained to Inglewood Today during an exclusive interview prior to the season.
Demoff said that he did not anticipate that a pandemic would surface that would put a damper on all of the glorious plans.
“I don’t think that when we broke ground on this in 2016, when we had the welcome back event at the Forum that we would be opening up this building in a pandemic that has been challenging so many, but think that it is a great reminder in the midst of so much heartbreak and despair and illness in 2020 that great things can still be done and inspire people for the future.”
The future is still quite bright with the 2022 Super Bowl being hosted at the site and hosting the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2028 Olympics, hopefully World Cup, College Football Playoffs, and great concerts and all of the other major events that are scheduled for SoFi Stadium.
He echoed the sentiment of many people who want the pandemic to go away, but also pointed to the responsibility that each of us have to do our part.
“I think if anything this (SoFi) can be a beacon of hope for what awaits the world once we win this battle,” he added.
Demoff was a senior in high school when Al Davis pulled the plug on the Raiders opportunity to remain in Southern California and play their games in Inglewood.
“I remember thinking this saga is over and we are going to have NFL football for a long time to come and then that changed and you saw all of the starts and stops. I remember Irwindale in the City of Industry, Hacienda in Carson and downtown stadium and every other stadium project in between that failed. So to be sitting here and saying that we are playing in the first ever football stadium for the city of Los Angeles after decades of trying with some of the greatest minds and civic leaders Los Angeles has ever had. I am so grateful to San Kroenke for solving that riddle.”
The Rams was the first professional sports team in Los Angeles, so for the Rams to return just seemed so right for the NFL and the fans that have followed the team for generations.
It took tremendous fortitude and support of the other owners, support of the Inglewood community led by Mayor James T. Butts, Jr., legislators and everybody throughout Southern California to make SoFi a reality.
“I think we will all look back and say it was worth the wait, but what the NFL didn’t have at that time of that press conference in June of 1995 was they didn’t have Stan Kroenke to lead the charge,” Demoff said.
Demoff is now playing a significant role in delivering on Kroenke’s vision of the 298-acre sports and entertainment district in Inglewood that will serve as the future home of the Rams.
The ongoing project includes a 70,240 seat stadium, performance venue, retail district and office complex and is currently the largest entitled real-estate project in Southern California.
Since the Rams returned home to Los Angeles in 2016 – the team’s 50th season in Los Angeles after calling the region home from 1946-1994 – the Rams are committed to being a key contributor to the betterment of the Los Angeles community.