In a few years, Jared Goff will throw passes to Rams receivers in a new stadium in Inglewood.
On Thursday, during a team tour of the stadium site, the ascending star quarterback fired spirals to appreciative construction workers safely perched a level above what will be the playing surface.
“You can truly see the shape of the stadium,” Goff said. “That’s what’s kind of surprising to me — to see actually how far along they are.”
The stadium, originally scheduled to open in time for the 2019 season, is on track to be completed in 2020. The original projected cost of $2.6 billion is now reportedly closer to $3 billion. Rams owner Stan Kroenke is financing the stadium, where the Chargers also will play.
Rams coach Sean McVay canceled the final day of a mandatory minicamp so players could tour the Inglewood site and Playa Vista preview center, where potential suite and season-ticket buyers can visit.
“When you think L.A., and you think about the magnitude of this city, this kind of feels like what you’d expect,” McVay said as he looked up and surveyed a stadium that will seat more than 70,000 for football and can be expanded to accommodate about 100,000 for other events.
The stadium will host the Super Bowl in 2022 and the championship game of the College Football Playoff in 2023, is expected to have a role in the 2026 World Cup and will be part of the 2028 Olympics.
Players and coaches rode buses from the Rams’ Thousand Oaks training facility to the Inglewood site. They were given custom Rams hardhats, bright yellow safety vests and protective gloves and glasses.
“Welcome to your new home,” Kevin Demoff, the Rams’ chief operating officer and vice-president for football operations told the team as it gathered in a conference room for a video presentation.
Players and coaches then reboarded buses that drove them through part of a 300-acre parcel that is dotted with construction cranes and also will be home to a 6,000-seat performance venue, office and studio space for NFL Media, restaurant and retail space, a lake and a hotel, and residences.
The buses eventually descended a ramp 100 feet to the field level of the stadium, where players, coaches and Kroenke took in the view as round-the-clock construction continued.
With the annual turnover of NFL rosters, many players who toured the site probably won’t be on the team when the Rams move out of the Coliseum and into the new stadium in 2020.
Defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, who signed a one-year, $14-million contract in March, said that NFL players appreciate nice stadiums.
“You can look at it from the standpoint of guys want to look good, feel good,” said Suh, who studied construction management at Nebraska. “And obviously, if you’re coming to an amazing stadium each and every single home game, you know, you’re excited to be in front of the fans in an amazing facility.