The NFL wants back in when it comes to Los Angeles and the commissioner admitted Ron Burgundy’s city just isn’t prepared to do everything needed to keep its professional football team.
So, if you do the math, the Chargers are on the verge of typing Interstate 5 in Mapquest and pointing the Mayflower moving vans north.
Asked at the NFL winter meetings just outside of Dallas if he agreed that San Diego would not be able to do everything needed to keep the Chargers, Roger Goodell was both honest and ominous.
“It certainly appears that’s the case, yes,” the commish admitted.
There are still plenty of hurdles left to be cleared, most notably three-fourths of the league’s owners need to approve any potential move and the Chargers actually need a place to play when they get to Hollywood.
The league has already scheduled a vote next month in Houston on the possibility of moving one or two teams to the Los Angeles area, either Inglewood or Carson. The three teams with roots in LA, the Chargers, St. Louis Rams and Oakland Raiders are all in the conversation and would like to pack up for the nation’s second-largest media market.
The league, meanwhile, has confirmed it will request that each of those three cities put together their best proposal involving “certainty” in stadium issues to keep their respective teams by Dec. 28.
“Certainty means no further votes required,” Goodell clarified. “That there is a deal that is fully approved, that there are not complications that are unforeseen, that this project can be completed. It’s that simple.”
And just that simply, Goodell essentially dropped the guillotine on 55 years of history in San Diego.
The actual teams themselves can not ask to relocate until Jan. 4, the day after the regular season ends, but the Chargers have already confirmed they will do so.
None of those franchises have the votes to secure the move, however.
“Right now it’s a little hard to see one of the proposals getting 24 votes,” Indianapolis owner Jim Irsay said. “Things can change, but look: We’ve had this three-quarters rule that’s been in existence for a long time. It’s a strong foundation of our league. …If we were voting today, I don’t see anything getting 24 votes.”
Irsay believes to get to a three-quarters vote, two teams will need to move and share a stadium like the Jets and Giants do with MetLife Stadium, something the Chargers are fine with.
The Chargers and Raiders have already teamed up for a stadium proposal in Carson, and Rams owner Stan Kroenke is putting forth a stadium plan in Inglewood and isn’t adverse to sharing with Dean Spanos’ team.
“There’s a stronger feeling, probably, toward two,” Irsay said. “I don’t think anyone is averse to two.”
The office of San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer released a statement in response to the developments Wednesday night:
“Commissioner Goodell reiterated the NFL wants certainty in stadium plans from home markets, and alluded to accomplishing that without a public vote. To be perfectly clear, the Mayor remains unwavering in his commitment to a public vote on a stadium, and is prepared to work with the team on a feasible plan that would be put before voters if they remain in San Diego in 2016.”
By Goodell’s own definition, that’s too little and way too late.
— John McMullen is a national football colum00nist for FanRagSports.com and TodaysPigskin.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @jfmcmullen — Also catch John this season on ESPN Southwest Florida every Monday at 3 PM ET; on ESPN Lexington every Thursday at 6:05 ET, and live every Tuesday from 2 to 6 PM ET at the Golden Nugget Casino in Atlantic City for the NFL Wraparound on ESPN South Jersey.
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