The NFL voted yesterday 30-2 to allow the St Louis Rams the right to move back to LA for the 2016 season. This has been tried and retried for the 20 years since the NFL left LA in the 90s. The San Diego Chargers also get a one-year option to try the stadium. They have til a year from Friday (Jan 15, 2017) to exercise their option. Should they refuse, then the Raiders get the one-year option, lasting til Jan 15, 2018. I guess then the option reverts back to SD. The Rams? They were moved twice by the peripatetic Georgia Frontiere, the wife of Rams owner Carroll Rosenbloom, who died under suspicious circumstances in 1979 (he and Natalie Wood are sharing stories in the Great Beyond I’m sure). She moved the team from the LA Coliseum to Anaheim in 1980, and then to St Louis in 1995. I’m sure St Louis fans are pissed off, as well they should be, and there was the usual infighting amongst the city politicos about rebuilding/refurbishing the stadium, ranked as 7th worst in the NFL recently. Owner Stan Kroenke famously purchased 60 acres of land next to the defunct Hollywood Park race track a couple years ago, and poof, the team is on the move.
And therein lies the rub. Mark Davis, son of re-un-dead Al Davis, scourge of the Pete Rozelle, and the NFL in general, is picking up the battle cry to move to LA. Something that he has been trying to do while the City of Oakland hems and haws and forms committee after committee regarding stadiums for both their football team and baseball team. All the while knowing their basketball team is likely leaving as well.
Baffling to me is the fan indifference in Oakland at the hands of their owner, who for all intents and purposes is taking a giant steaming shit on their heads. Yes, there was jubilation as Davis rescinded his request to move yesterday. But, this is a stop-gap move. As seen in the ruling, Prince Valiant still has the option next year. And it’s not like this hasn’t happened before. The Raiders spent 13 seasons in LA (1982-1994), winning their last Super Bowl there in 1983.
So why are the fans pretty much leaving him alone? Denial? Short memories? I have no idea. Jed (tweets-no-more) York, who is the favorite whipping boy for local team ownership, did what no one else could, and that was to get a publicly-funded stadium built in the Bay Area. Granted, it’s not in SF, and it looks like a 10 year old’s erector set design, but the 49ers are still here (well, 37 miles from here), but that is sure a hell of a lot closer than the 400 miles that will separate the Oakland fans from their team. I guess the Raiders are hoping for the Stadium Fairy to poop out a stadium on top of the old one. It really isn’t that bad a site (well, don’t leave the premises on foot) and, without the Warriors using the Arena anymore, they can add more parking.