NFL Films looks back at the day Rams, Raiders said goodbye

The Rams will host their home opener Sunday against Seattle, marking the first regular-season National Football League game in Los Angeles in 22 years.

But first, NFL Films will take a look back to the last game.

The second season of NFL Network’s Emmy-nominated documentary series “The Timeline” premieres at 5 p.m. Wednesday with “Last Day in LA,” which chronicles the final game day in Southern California for the Los Angeles Raiders and Rams — Christmas Eve of 1994.

The hourlong documentary, narrated by actor William Fichtner, looks at the reasons for the relocation of both franchises, and specifically at that final day. Among those appearing in the film and giving their unique perspectives on the situation are Rams Jackie Slater, Henry Ellard and Jerome Bettis, as well as Raiders Marcus Allen, Rocket Ismail and Tom Rathman. The film also includes agent Leigh Steinberg, who led an attempt to keep the Rams, and Charlie Isgar, who worked on virtually every stadium proposal at the Coliseum.

NFL Films’ Ken Rodgers, who made the critically acclaimed “Elway to Marino” and “Four Falls of Buffalo,” said the inspiration for his latest project was a story by Emily Kaplan of TheMMQB.com on that fateful final day of NFL football in L.A. and Anaheim.

“It was also my own experience of living in L.A.,” said Rodgers, who lived here from 1996 to 2001. “I used to get together with ex-pats from Philadelphia to watch Eagles games and was fascinated with how everyone who moved to L.A. cheered for their home team because there was no local team to adopt.”

Rodgers, director on the project, said the story of Dec. 24, 1994, has “equal parts outrage, sadness, gallows humor, even a good dose of that L.A. nonchalance.

“By focusing on how the day affected these players in different ways, we were trying to mimic the tapestry of emotions that surround the loss of NFL football back in 1994.”

The film is co-produced by Angela Torma, David Plaut and Bennett Viseltear. Rodgers said Fichtner was a natural choice as narrator.

“He’s a huge NFL fan and one of those ex-pats I was talking about -- a born and bred Buffalo Bills diehard,” Rodgers said. “He was equally interested in the hows and whys of that fateful day.”

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