Super Bowl: Kroenke's LA Rams on a very different path to Arsenal

LA Rams Arsenal Kroenke GFX GOAL

Arsenal and the Los Angeles Rams are both owned by Stan Kroenke but that's right about where the similarities end.

One team's young coach has already established himself as a legitimate gamechanger, one of the sport's brightest young minds who has already seen assistants plucked away by clubs wanting just a small dose of his magic.

The jury is still out on the other coach as he looks to prove that he can be the man in charge on the biggest stage.

One team has built a reputation of bringing in players no matter the cost, doing whatever it takes to load up on as much talent as possible.

The other is no longer capable of signing the world's elite and recently watched a player once deemed their superstar walk away without a replacement.

And, most importantly, one team is on the precipice of winning their sport's most coveted trophy while the other looks far, far away from those days.

In short, the Rams are a team built to win now and in the future, while Arsenal remain a team in the wilderness.

So when Kroenke watches his Rams take on the Cincinnati Bengals in Sunday's Super Bowl in the multi-billion dollar stadium he helped pay to build, Arsenal will most certainly be the furthest thing from his mind.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang Barcelona GFX
Getty Images

For Arsenal supporters, it's felt that way for a very, very long time.

The Rams and Arsenal aren't the only sports franchises owned by Kroenke, who also owns the Denver Nuggets, Colorado Avalanche and Colorado Rapids. But they are the two biggest, the two with the most worldwide appeal.

And, as things stand, they find themselves in vastly different places in their respective sports.

The Rams are one game away from ascending to the top of the NFL, having established themselves as one of the sport's top teams since making the move from St. Louis to Los Angeles in 2016.

That move was a controversial one, much like any that sees a team ripped from its community, but you can't say it hasn't been successful.

In Los Angeles, the Rams have captured the glitz and glam of a true Hollywood team. Their home, SoFi Stadium, might just be the finest sports arena in the world. It cost over $5 billion to build. For clarity, that's over four times as expensive as the cost to build the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

The team that plays there, meanwhile, is one that has brought in plenty of expensive starpower.

Since moving to LA, the Rams have made numerous win-now moves, sacrificing money and future assets for a chance at glory. They've traded away draft picks and used up every cent of the salary cap to bring in star players whenever the opportunity has arisen.

Just this year, they've brought in key contributors Odell Beckham Jr, Von Miller and Sony Michel to join a team that already had stars like Cooper Kupp, Jalen Ramsey and Aaron Donald, all of whom are arguably the best players in the world at their respective positions.

But the big move was trading for Matthew Stafford, and it's that move that has gotten them this far.

SoFi Stadium GFX
Getty Images

Stafford, the team's starting quarterback, had spent his entire career with the lowly Detroit Lions but, when the opportunity arose for the Rams to bring in a true franchise quarterback, they didn't waste it.

The Rams traded Jared Goff, their former starter, along with a 2021 third-round pick and two first-round picks in 2022 and 2023 to bring in Stafford. And here they are, one game away from a title with Stafford leading the charge.

Arsenal, on the other hand, have been unable to attract a similar level of talent in recent seasons. Sure, they've splashed the cash to sign players like Ben White, Martin Odegaard, Aaron Ramsdale, Thomas Partey and Nicolas Pepe, but there are few that would argue any of those players are truly the best in the world in their position.

The Rams are in the Super Bowl for the second time in four seasons while Arsenal are struggling to truly compete with the elite of the Premier League.

In terms of coaching, the Rams also have one of the best in the business in Sean McVay.

The 36-year-old became the youngest head coach in modern history when he was hired in 2017 and, in the years since, he's built the Rams into a juggernaut.

He took the league's lowest-scoring offense and turned it into a machine, changing the perception of the Rams within just a few short years.

He's also changed the perception of how the league views young coaches, with several of his assistants being hired away by other teams looking for the next McVay.

Sean McVay LA Rams GFX
Getty Images

Several of McVay's former assistants are now head coaches of top NFL teams, including Zac Taylor, who will face McVay as the Bengals' boss on Sunday.

Matt LaFleur, meanwhile, helped the Green Bay Packers dominate the regular season, while Brandon Staley has totally retooled the Los Angeles Chargers across town.

In the NFL, coaching trees are a big deal and teams are always looking to find a guy that has spent the last few years learning under the main man. Right now, McVay certainly is the guy as he's emerged as the NFL's Pep Guardiola, if you will.

Meanwhile, Mikel Arteta's rise to the Arsenal job came partly because he came with that Guardiola shine. Arteta had long been earmarked for management, sure, but it was his stint as Guardiola's top assistant that truly thrust him into the spotlight.

Arteta has had to guide Arsenal through one rough patch after another. Since the years leading up to Arsene Wenger's departure, Arsenal have always been a game or two away from crisis mode, and every manager in charge has had to try and manage those crises while keeping pace with the Manchester Citys and Liverpools of the world.

Article continues below

So far, that's been impossible. Even this season, Arsenal have faced a bumpy road, with the recent exit of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang leaving the club without its superstar. No replacement was brought in, though, as the Gunners didn't show any Rams-like ambition to sign a talented striker.

As things stand, Arsenal sit sixth in the league with games in hand and very, very real chances of securing a top-four finish. Doing so could serve as the springboard needed to push this club right back into the top of English football, where Arsenal fans will feel they belong.

Until then, they'll have to watch on as their sister club competes for their own trophy a whole ocean away, hoping that the ambition shown by the Rams can somehow find its way to London sooner rather than later.