Professional football hasn’t been played in Los Angeles since December 24th, 1994. On that day, the Los Angeles Raiders lost to the Kansas City Chiefs at the Coliseum in front of 64,130 fans. Across town at Anaheim Stadium, the Los Angeles Rams also played their final home game in the City of Angels, losing to the Redskins in front of 25,570 fans at Anaheim Stadium.
There are very good reasons why professional football in Los Angeles stopped being played 21 years ago as the Raiders returned to Oakland and the Rams moved east to St. Louis. However, it seems as if ever since December 25th, 1994 the NFL has always flirted with the idea of returning. Sometimes it was serious. Other times it was merely a bargaining chip for local owners to get sweeter deals at home.
Now, it’s much more than just an idea. Now, it’s only a matter of who, when, and how many.
The NFL’s Race to Los Angeles is officially underway… with not one, not two, but THREE teams all officially looking to relocate with Los Angeles as their hopeful destination.
The San Diego Chargers, Oakland Raiders, and St. Louis Rams have all taken the necessary steps on the first day they were eligible to apply for relocation. Ironically, all three have played at least one season in Los Angeles with the Raiders and Rams leaving after the 1994 season and the Chargers playing their first AFL season in LA in 1960.
By the way, the cool cost to move to Los Angeles for one of these franchises? $500 million.
So where do we go from here? Approval for relocation requires a 2/3 vote from NFL owners, meaning a team needs 24 votes to have their move sanctioned by the league with owners’ meetings happening January 12-13. That is going to lead to some interesting politicking by these three franchises that will rival what we’re seeing from Democrats and Republicans leading up to the 2016 election. The Raiders and Chargers have long been dance partners here while the Rams might be on an island.
And it doesn’t even answer the question of whether one or two teams will be able to relocate, depending on what could happen with the specific stadium situations each team is seeking. Whatever happens, it’s extremely unlikely that all three teams are going to be able to call Los Angeles home, leading to at least one very awkward situation for one of these teams and its fanbase.
In the end, the decision as to who wins the Los Angeles Lottery may come down to one of the least trustworthy leaders in America to try to build a consensus among NFL ownership: Roger Goodell. Can Goodell be able to navigate this complex issue and bring the league’s 32 owners together to find a viable solution for Los Angeles, these three prospective franchises, and the league as a whole?
We might be better off settling this the only way Los Angeles knows how – with a reality show. The Bachelor: NFL Los Angeles, anyone?