Based on the discrepancy in the fan bases of the New England Patriots and the Los Angeles Rams, there’s a good chance that on Super Bowl Sunday, you’ll hear sporadic “Beat L.A.” chants from inside Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
That famous slogan originated in the 1982 NBA Eastern Conference final, when Boston Celtics fans chanted it at the Boston Garden for the Philadelphia 76ers when it became apparent the Sixers would beat the Celtics to play the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA Finals.
It didn’t work, as the Lakers beat the 76ers in six games.
But the Celtics and Lakers met in the Finals three more times in 1980s, re-stoking a rivalry that was all the rage when the two met on six championship series in the 1960s.
When you think of the Boston-L.A. rivalry, you think of Magic and Bird, Red Auerbach and Jerry West, Bill Russell and Elgin Baylor. The easternmost major city in the United States versus one of the westernmost major cities in the 48 contiguous states. Blue collar versus white collar. A bastion for higher education versus the capital of glitz, glamour and celebrity. Hell, even — sadly — white versus black:
The Celtics lead the all-time championship series with the L.A. Lakers 8-3, but they’re just 2-3 after winning all six Finals matchups in the 1960s.
The rivalry has only just recently expanded beyond the NBA. The Bruins and Kings of the NHL have never met in a Stanley Cup Final, the Patriots have never met an L.A.-based NFL team in the Super Bowl until now, and the Red Sox had never faced the Dodgers a World Series until the two met this past October (the Sox won in five games).
Of course, the Rams wouldn’t be the first L.A. team to fall to the Patriots in these playoffs. The Pats crushed the Los Angeles Chargers in the divisional round just a couple weeks ago.
Prior to that meeting, Patriots receiver Julian Edelman posted this on YouTube:
So, here we go again…