As the NFL moves closer to returning to Los Angeles, the dominos are falling in a way that has some speculating that the Oakland Raiders could end up in St. Louis when all is said and done.
At this point, it appears inevitable that the NFL will have one or two teams playing in Los Angeles sometime in the next few years. New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft recently said that he believes there will be two teams playing home games in L.A. in time for the 2016 season.
The only question appears to be which teams will make the move. Right now there are two stadium proposals backed by the owners of NFL teams — one by the St. Louis Rams, and another that’s a joint venture between the Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers.
The NFL has a problem here.
Rams owner Stan Kroenke’s stadium proposal, a $1.86 billion, 80,000-seat stadium with a retractable roof on land in Inglewood, is farther along than the other, leaving little doubt that he wants to move the Rams west. At the same time, St. Louis is the only one of the three cities in danger of losing a team that has a firm proposal for a new stadium — a $985 million project on the riverfront.
While most acknowledge that there are still a number of ways this can play out, one scenario in particular appears to be gaining steam and would seem to satisfy everybody if both the Chargers and Raiders are unable to get new stadiums approved in their current cities:
- The Rams would build the Inglewood stadium and move to Los Angeles.
- The Chargers would become the second tenant in the Rams’ stadium.
- The Raiders would move to St. Louis and play in the the new riverfront stadium.
Peter King recently discussed this scenario on “The Dan Patrick Show.”
“Just my gut feeling,” King told Patrick. “I think you get the Rams and the Chargers sharing a stadium that Kroenke will manage and own. And then I think you get the Raiders moving to St. Louis … It just makes a lot of sense.”
King added that he doesn’t see the Raiders getting a new stadium in Oakland and he doesn’t know if the NFL wants the Raiders back in Los Angeles.
Adding fuel to the fire are recent comments by Kraft in an interview with Nick Wagoner of ESPN.com. Kraft said the NFL has “an obligation” to have a team in St. Louis if the city comes up with a good plan and “a strong financial package.”
Of course, the biggest problem with this scenario is that there is no indication that the Raiders would even consider moving to Missouri if they can’t move to L.A. However, if the Chargers decide to switch sides and join the Rams’ initiative, the Raiders may not have much of a choice.
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