I try not to get too involved anymore in the situation around the Rams and their lease on the Edward Jones Dome. Whatever's happening with it -- and not much is happening with it apparently -- is happening in a completely different world at this point. I don't know what's going on with it, and most people dedicating air time to it, are just speculating.
Which is why I was surprised to hear Rams-stadium talk from a couple unusual outlets this week, from two people not prone to gossip and speculation.
Ok, maybe I'm being too generous with the first example, SI's Peter King.
King's been beating the Monday Night Football versus Game 5 of the World Series drum all week. Yes, it's poor timing for the Rams having just lost the starting quarterback and facing a prime time matchup against double-digit favorites while the beloved hometown Cardinals figure to be double-digit favorites in the local ratings.
At any rate, King pivots from that to speculating about the Rams leaving the empty seats in St. Louis, lured away from powerful interests in Los Angeles.
This is just him speaking from his gut. He's not operating on much, if any, information here, and he makes that clear. Still, it's a little Florio-esque ... "I think/wonder/could" talk thrown in there. And ultimately, he notes that he thinks the Rams will stick around under the Arch.
It's not the most obnoxious of hot takes about the Rams and the Dome, not by a long shot. And I get that there's a story there when a struggling team gets its first MNF game in seven years only to have to compete with the local baseball team possibly closing in on a championship. But why include the relocation talk if there's nothing there to talk about, especially for local football fans already carrying the weight of more unmet expectations?
Well, one reason might be that the team's ownership is leaving a vacuum to be filled with speculation, as pointed out by Post-Dispatch Rams beat write Jim Thomas.
You know one thing that continues to perplex me is why Stan Kroenke doesn't at least say something along the lines that he wants to do everyhting possible to make this work in St. Louis, that he's committed to doing so. (And by saying that, it doesn't mean he's promising anything.) In the back of my mind, it makes me wonder if he's looking for greener pastures somewhere.
He's got a point here, a very good one.
Not to be unappreciative. Kroenke's opened the wallet for local fans, buying up tickets to avoid embarrassing blackouts, writing checks for big time coaches and free agents (it's not Stan's fault the free agents are busts) and contract extensions for cornerstone players. We know this.
But why not throw out a few simple platitudes for a city subsidizing the team? It doesn't close the door on the NFL's favorite stadium negotiating play, moving to Los Angeles, as Thomas notes.
Like I said above, I don't get too worked up over the relocation talk anymore. There's apparently not much happening on the stadium front, and there absolutely nothing we fans can do about it anyway. I'm far more concerned with the direction the on-field product has taken.
No talking point is going to stop the speculation about the Rams' future location. Only a signed lease to a fixed up Dome or the deed to a new stadium, somewhere, is going to do that.
However, a public platitude from the owner would be nice ray of sunshine in another stormy football season in St. Louis.