For a few years now, there has been talk of Los Angeles either getting an expansion NFL team or a current team calling the city its new home. Commissioner Roger Goodell has long wanted a team back in LA, and now it appears closer than ever that one is coming. Now, there is the possibility that the Arizona Cardinals would have to switch over to the AFC with NFL realignment if it happens.
Right now, it actually seems like the St. Louis Rams, San Diego Chargers, or Oakland Raiders are the prime candidates to move to Los Angeles, but nothing is certain. At some point or another in their history, all three teams have spent time in the city already.
The San Diego Chargers spent just one season there, but the Oakland Raiders were there for 12, and the St. Louis Rams were there for 33 years. Even though the Rams were in Anaheim, they kept the "Los Angeles" name until 1994.
Now, the change for the Cardinals could happen if the Chargers and Raiders decide to share a stadium. Due to television deals between the NFL and NBC, CBS, and Fox; either the Raiders or Chargers would then have to move to the NFC.
What would happen is a likely switch of one of those teams from the AFC West to the NFC West. To keep some rivalries alive, it would likely mean the Cardinals heading to the AFC West then. Jason La Canfora made great points in an article for CBS Sports.
"Could well be the Chargers and Raiders both move in 2016. It would take two game-day facilities to do so -- sources at The Rose Bowl have continued to tell me they cannot support two teams at the same time -- and it could be both teams would use their current training facilities for practices for the first season in LA. Some in the know have speculated the Chargers, in exchange for getting the keys to LA, end up moving to the NFC, with perhaps the Cardinals going to the AFC West, which would maintain the Raiders' rivalries with the Chiefs and Broncos, for as much as that is worth."The Phoenix Sun Times makes a good point that the Seattle Seahawks could also be a team that switches over. The Seahawks were a part of the AFC West about 13 years ago, but it doesn't really seem to matter at this point.
Looking at the geography of it all though, Seattle and St. Louis do make a bit more sense.
- St. Louis is closer to Kansas City than Arizona
- St. Louis is closer to Denver than Arizona
- Arizona traveling to Denver and KC would have them bring about a lot more miles annually than many other NFL teams
Right now, NFL rumors have the St. Louis Rams and Arizona Cardinals as the front-runners to move to the AFC West if the league is aligned. This would mean that a team still needs to move to Los Angeles though, and that requires a number of hurdles to get over before anything happens.
[Image via I Sports Web]