I don't spend too much time trying to post the back and forth on the St. Louis Rams potentially moving to Los Angeles here. Most of it is relatively insignificant details, and with limited time, I prefer to keep TST moving and focused on football. But after a while, enough news clogs up the pipes and it's time for some Rams to LA drano.
The owners are in New York today convening over the Los Angeles topic, in fact. Here's what's led up to today's meeting in recent news:
St. Louis Citizens Will Be On The Hook...Big Time
St. Louis Magazine dropped a huge story last evening that discovered the citizens of St. Louis would be paying $215 million more than was previously announced. That is many millions to be, yanno, off by.
This is, though, not surprising as the current MO for stadium construction is to fleece the taxpayer through and through to provide for the needy. And by needy, we mean incredibly rich and not needy at all and why are we giving them our money to take more of our money again? Some St. Louis politicians are starting to ask that very question, especially when St. Louis has plenty of civic problems that could use more immediate attention (read: funding).
The "I"s vs. the "We"s, Part I: Active Opposition
Per multiple sources, a group of influential owners strongly opposes the relocation of the Rams to Los Angeles. That group includes Panthers owner Jerry Richardson, who is emerging as a leader of the NFL’s L.A. committee.
As one source put it, Richardson and other owners view the Chargers and Raiders as more eligible to move under the league’s relocation policy, especially since it appears that St. Louis has cobbled together a viable plan for building a new stadium and keeping the Rams in the place they’ve been for the last 20 years.
Also, a move by the Chargers, who have tried for more than a decade to build a new stadium in San Diego, is viewed as the least disruptive to existing fan bases.
This doesn't change anything. The bottom line has always been that there's a schism in the philospohies of several of the owners.
Some, let's call them the individualists, want to be able to run their team however they want. Want to set up their own sponsors? Want to call their own shots? Want to move the team wherever and whenever they'd like without the intruding hand of the league interfering? They sure do. Kroenke's obviously in this camp.
Others, the collectivists, recognize that the league operates the cartel like any other cartel which limits the growth of some of the bigger franchises while propping up some of the smaller ones. This are the rising tide lifts all boats crowd. Richardson's in this camp, so it's not at all surprising to see him reportedly oppose Kroenke singlehandedly altering the NFL map.
The "I"s vs. the "We"s, Part II: Ain't No Such Thing As Friends, Only Associates
Jim Thomas had a solid nugget to report last week with news that Chargers Owner Dean Spanos had actually approached Rams Owner Stan Kroenke about a joint partnership going in on a land deal on the Inglewood site. Kroenke simply bypassed Spanos' part of the partnership and grabbed the land outright.
Of course, that kind of move isn't exactly the kind of trust-building exercise that develops a working relationship that would see the Chargers and Rams as joint tenants in the Inglewood space down the line, one would think. It's likely why we're at the point where fellow owners sound like parents trying to get siblings just to coexist:
"If we have to end up sorting it out and voting … that may be how it gets resolved," said Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay. "But hopefully there will be a lot of discussion behind the scenes where it works out that all parties are happy."
"Ultimately, that’s probably how this is going to get done … We do want to try to have a fairness and deals go through that make sense and have people compromise and have it be a workable situation. I think we’ll find a solution and move forward."
Stadium for Rent!
And the big news on the St. Louis stadium front was that the stadium has a name: National Car Rental Field. Rental Field. A field for rent.
A rose by any other name...