Dozens of false starts and failed plans marked the NFL’s two-decade absence from Los Angeles, and now there will be more waiting before a permanent home is ready.
The palatial, $2.6-billion stadium that is being built for the Rams and Chargers in Inglewood, originally projected to open in 2019, will be delayed almost a year, to the start of the 2020 NFL season.
Developers, who broke ground on the project in November, blamed the postponement on record rainfall during the excavation phase of construction.
“The continuing rains really knocked us for a loop,” said Bob Aylesworth, principal in charge for the Turner/AECOM Hunt joint venture that is building the stadium. “It was a very unforgiving two months for the project. And speaking from a building perspective, it really couldn’t have come at a worse time.”
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell informed the league’s 32 team owners of the delay during a conference call Thursday.
Last year, the league chose the Inglewood stadium as host venue for Super Bowl LV in February 2021. However, NFL rules – always subject to change – do not allow a venue to host that marquee event in its inaugural season. So the league, which has its annual May meeting in Chicago next week, would need to issue a waiver to keep the game in L.A.
Inclement weather brought work on the sprawling project to a standstill for two months earlier this year. The rain fell at a crucial stage of construction when work centered on digging the enormous hole — 5 million cubic yards of dirt were excavated — in which the stadium will sit.
At times, the site looked like a lake, with water standing 12 to 15 feet deep. After the downpours, the excavated area had to be drained before work could resume.
As the rain continued during the winter, concern grew in NFL circles about the schedule to complete the stadium that will be the centerpiece of Rams owner Stan Kroenke’s 298-acre sports and entertainment district.
Plans for the project anticipated that about 30 days would be lost to rain during the three-year construction period. Instead, it lost twice that in two months. Nearby Los Angeles International Airport received 15.4 inches of rain from November through February.
Developers offered several reasons why the two-month delay can’t be made up over the next two years, among them an already ambitious timetable that left little room for surprises and the lack of scheduling flexibility for a stadium housing two teams.
“If this had been a one-team facility, perhaps we could have made up work or at least petitioned the league to allow some of the games of the  season to be scheduled away from Inglewood,” said Dale Koger, senior vice president and managing director for Legends Project Development.
Kevin Demoff, Rams chief operating officer, said it’s “paramount that this building is a world-class experience for fans from Day…