If you didn’t know, there are three NFL teams hoping to relocate to Los Angeles, California: The St. Louis Rams, San Diego Chargers, and Oakland Raiders. However, of those three teams, only the Rams have a website dedicated to their return to Los Angeles. Not a bid for their arrival — for their return. This means that a move by the Rams out of St. Louis will certainly be an emotional affair.
Although the Chargers and Raiders have made cases — and pretty good ones — as to why they should be granted a new life in Southern California, all eyes are on the Rams at this point.
Will the Rams enjoy a vibrant homecoming, or will the way back be lost to the franchise forever?
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 5, 2016
Deadspin writer Barry Petchesky argues that by filing papers for a Los Angeles relocation, the Rams effectively crapped “all over the city of St. Louis.”
“The Rams’ full application to move to L.A. [is] brutal. It denigrates the entire city of St. Louis painting its economic future in bleak terms, and declares St. Louis incapable of supporting an NFL team.
“It is one thing to know that owner Stan Kroenke wants out of St. Louis. It is another thing entire to see put down on paper, in such stark terms, his argument that St. Louis is a second-tier-and-falling American city.”
Perhaps if the Rams had never called another city home, this would read like an attempt to burn as many bridges as possible in one document. In some ways, one supposes it is. However, if you’re old enough to remember a time when there was a Los Angeles Rams, these statements can be read in an entirely different way.
To put it bluntly: The grass on the other side of the fence was not so green after all.
Even worse, by jumping to the other side of that fence, the Rams left something akin to a black hole behind. The absence of an NFL team for two decades has been hard on Los Angeles football fans. It’s been great for teams within the league, though. According to CNN Money, one of the main reasons L.A. was without a professional team for so long was the bargaining power it lent other NFL teams.
“No new stadium? Fine, we’ll pack our bags and go to Los Angeles!” Such a threat was very successful in raising hundreds of millions of dollars for NFL team owners and their respective franchises. However, we seem to have come to a breaking point.
Three teams are determined to move to Los Angeles, and the spot will inevitably go to one of them. As of now, the Rams seem to be the favorite. However, this may not be as sure a bet as some think.
3 NFL teams applied to relocate to Los Angeles https://t.co/EwfUvw1EDp pic.twitter.com/fZiEiGMSfJ
— Fortune (@FortuneMagazine) January 6, 2016
Just as the Rams are dead set on a move “home,” the St. Louis is playing the role of stubborn old battle-ax, one determined to keep the marriage alive, even if it proves to be a loveless one from now on.
ABC News reports after the Rams filed relocation documents on Monday, the St. Louis stadium task force issued an immediate response.
“We’ve anticipated this filing from the Rams for more than a year. It’s why we started working in November 2014 to produce a viable St. Louis stadium proposal for consideration by the Rams and the National Football League.
“That proposal was delivered last week to the NFL and team owners, and we feel extremely confident that it will be well received as the league weighs its options in the weeks ahead.”
Translation? “Over our dead bodies, Rams.”
— Rams Fan Zone (@Rams_FZ) January 6, 2016
Added to this, the Chargers and Raiders seem to have gone the tag-team route. Of all 32 NFL teams, the Raiders and Rams currently play in the oldest stadiums in the league. Neither Oakland or San Diego seem particularly interested in fighting for their teams with the relative tenacity that St. Louis has demonstrated. As such, accepting the Chargers or Raiders might prove to be less of a headache. A move might actually fulfill a justifiable need for either of these teams, the two of which submitted a joint proposal for a move to the Carson suburb of Los Angeles.
Unlike these teams, the Rams seem to be leaning less on immediate need (regardless of how hard they slammed St. Louis), and more on the power of relative nostalgia.
It’s certainly a dramatic situation that’s unfolded between St. Louis, Los Angeles, and the Rams. It could be seen as allowing a cheating ex back into the home, or it could be seen as a rekindled marriage at the expense of a jilted mistress. There’s also the outcome where a door shut firmly in the face of a once-beloved ex.
Just how will this NFL soap opera play out? We won’t get an idea until the league meetings on January 12-13. That gives everyone a week to make their guesses as to which team is most likely going to represent Los Angeles from 2016 on.
— SI Wire (@SI_Wire) January 6, 2016
Do you think the Rams should be given a second chance in Los Angeles, or should the vote favor another team (Oakland Raiders or San Diego Chargers)? Share your thoughts below!
[Image via screen grab of YouTube video]