Support for relocation growing among NFL powers

Fans hold a 'Los Angeles Rams' sign during the Rams-Chargers game on November 23, 2014. Could both teams be heading to LA?
Donald Miralle/Getty Images

By Vincent Frank

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has been one of the steadfast supporters of relocating a NFL team to Los Angeles.

And while that hasn’t changed over the past few months, Jones recent comments should raise some eyebrows. After pretty much declaring there would be a NFL team in Los Angeles within five years of both the Rams and Raiders uprooting back in 1995, Jones is among those most surprised by the fact that its been 20 years since the nation’s second-largest media market has hosted a NFL team.

He doesn’t seem to think it will be too much longer before that changes.

This is different (from 20 years ago). What has changed is you have three teams that can move. Jones Said, via U-T San Diego. “One is ready to push dirt in Los Angeles. Heck, they might even be pushing dirt…That stadium is going to get built. I know that. I don’t know about any others, but that stadium will be built.

Jones was referring to St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke’s plan to build a stadium in Inglewood, California — right outside of downtown Los Angeles.

Without getting into too much detail regarding the plan, it seems that Kroenke has created a perfect storm to uproot his team back to L.A. In addition to securing land, the Inglewood City Council approved the stadium project earlier this year, a project that should see ground breaking for the new stadium take place in December.

With all signs pointing to the Rams moving back to California, the question then becomes whether another team will join them in Inglewood. The likeliest scenario at this point would be the Raiders moving back to Southern California with the Chargers working something out in San Diego.

From Kevin Acee of U-T San Diego:

Jones’ certainty about that project was as strong as any opinion offered this past week as NFL owners gathered in Phoenix for their annual spring meeting. But there is an undeniable momentum in the direction of L.A. that has not been present before.

Giants owner John Mara called the scenario of a team uprooting “more realistic” before he left the annual owners meetings in Arizona earlier this week.

Meanwhile, the NFL itself has potentially put forth a plan to vote on potential relocation at some point this fall. As Acee indicated, the deadline to file relocation paperwork is January 1st through February 15th. However, the expectation here has to be that any relocation would be put on the fast track, especially considering the widespread support it has garnered around the league.

While all three of the teams looking into potential relocation resolved stadium issues in their current markets for the upcoming season, none of them have long-term solutions set in place at this time. For the Raiders, it’s been a decades-long process that currently has the organization at odds with the local government in Northern California. If the Raiders are able to piggyback on the Rams plans in Inglewood, it’s a move that Mark Davis may very well make.

As it relates to the Carson plan between the Chargers and Raiders, that’s still in its infancy. It could be said that both teams were looking to use that as a power play against their respective local leaders to get the ball rolling on a new stadium.

While this might have worked to an extent in San Diego, the Raiders are no closer to building a new stadium in Oakland as they were before relocation talk started to heat up around the NFL about a year ago.

That could very well indicate that we will see both the Rams and Raiders playing in Southern California in time for the 2016 season with both playing in Inglewood in 2017.

If this past week’s owners meetings in Arizona are any indication, relocation to L.A. is closer now than ever before, if not imminent.

 

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