Bringing an NFL team to Los Angeles has been the collective dream of the NFL and millions of Los Angeles residents since the Rams and Raiders moved to St. Louis and Oakland in the mid 90’s. That dream hit a small bump in the road this week when the Minnesota Vikings agreed to a deal with the state of Minnesota to build a $975 million dollar stadium.
Five other teams have been rumored to move to LA. The Buffalo Bills and Jacksonville Jaguars are both options, but the Oakland Raiders, St. Louis Rams and San Diego Chargers are the teams up for a possible relocation that are on everybody’s minds.
But moving one of those three teams would not be good for the organizations, their current cities or the city of Los Angeles.
The Raiders, Rams and Chargers all left L.A. originally because they couldn’t get a new stadium or were playing second fiddle to another team; so having one team and a brand new stadium will work this time right?
Have you ever broken up with someone, then after a period of time decided to get back together? How did that work out for you? Not well? Well that’s what LA is dealing with here.
All three teams are just using the “we’ll move the team to LA” argument as a bargaining chip to get new venues out of their current cities. The Chargers are in negotiations to get a new stadium, and for the NFL, a move by them would not be worth losing a market like San Diego when there are other options available. The Chargers have the easiest out when it comes to getting out of their current stadium lease, but owner Alex Spanos doesn't want to move the team and has already passed on opportunities to do so.
The NFL can’t afford to lose a market like St. Louis either. Rams current owner Stan Kroenke is also in negotiations to renovate the Edward Jones Dome and recently submitted a new proposal. Even if that proposal is rejected, a deal would still go to an arbitrator before all hope would be lost for the city of St. Louis. Any agreement would renew the Rams' lease through 2015.
Then there are the Raiders……….
During a pre-season game against the 49ers last year, a game which saw multiple fights in the stands, two men were injured in shootings in the parking lot outside of Candlestick Park in San Francisco. One was a 49er fan shot by a Raider fan, and the other was a Raider fan SHOT BY ANOTHER RAIDER FAN!!
When the Raiders were in Los Angeles their logo was a flag for gang violence across the LA area. And with the severe beating of San Francisco Giants fan Brian Stow by two LA Dodger fans last year, it would not be in the NFL’s or the cities best interest to bring that culture back to LA.
This leaves the “other" teams rumored to move to Los Angeles: the Bills and Jaguars.
The Buffalo Bills? That could work for all parties. The Bills have seen lowered attendance with a bad economy in tiny Buffalo, but owner Ralph Wilson refuses to move his team. And the NFL wants a team to be a gateway to expanding interest to Canada, and Buffalo is their best option with the Bills planning on playing at least two home games in Toronto each of the next few years.
So the Jaguars are it? Really? The Jags? YES!!
Jacksonville is a college town that has never fully embraced the Jaguars. In 2009, seven out of eight home games were not televised because of low ticket sales and most of home games in 2010 were under threat of being blacked out as well. Like the rest of the teams in negotiations with Los Angeles, the Jaguars are trying to get a new stadium to stay home, but for the NFL, moving from small town Jacksonville to big market LA would be a huge boost to an already flourishing league. There are some nasty and expensive loopholes the team would have to jump through to move, and the only reason the NFL is hesitant with the idea is because of a theory that fans who were kids when the Jaguars joined the league in 1995 are now old enough to have children, bringing a larger fan base to the team…….. A nice thought, but everyone needs to be realistic.
So Los Angeles, I give you your Los Angeles Jaguars (or whatever ridiculous name you change it to) please treat them better than you did your last three teams. Don’t make the NFL regret dating you again.
J. Lance Moose is a contributor and lead football writer for CraveOnline Sports. You can follow him on Twitter @JLanceMoose, and subscribe on Facebook facebook.com/CraveOnlineSports