In a letter addressed to Dave Peacock of the St Louis Stadium task force, Roger Goodell had a bone to pick regarding the NFL's portion of the proposed riverfront stadium:
Our review of the materials disclosed that the proposal being submitted for a vote of the Alderman is expressly premised on an irrevocable commitment by the NFL of $300 million to a stadium project in St. Louis...This premise is fundamentally inconsistent with the NFL's program of stadium financing.
He went on to elaborate that the task force was informed of the $200M cap that the NFL can contribute. This means one of two things:
1) Peacock and the task force deliberately didn't tell the city that there was a cap on NFL funding to the stadium - which I find very hard to believe. Peacock is working to keep the team in StL. Why would he submarine his efforts now?
2) The board of aldermen knew about the limit, but in the end didn't want the city to pay for it. So they told the NFL to show how much they really want to keep teams in their home cities. When you consider the politicking involved, this seems much more likely.
This is not so much a wrinkle as a massive divide that has sprung up mere weeks before the NFL will vote on who will be granted the L.A. market. A fundamental inconsistency popping up this late in the game bodes poorly for the city of St. Louis.
I'm not privy to the politics involved in these decisions, but it does seem to give Kroenke more negotiating power. The city is obviously going to be $100M short in funding. Kroenke is certainly not hurting for funds, but I don't see him as likely to cover that gap. It's entirely possible that Kroenke parlays that $100M into some tangible item - say a relocation of the project to nearby Maryland heights, where he could control the surrounding real estate.
With the Raiders and Chargers not wanting to split their partnership and their project becoming more appealing by the week, Silent Stan may not have a choice but to finally sit down in earnest with the city. Who knows where those conversations go. Maybe Kroenke sells the team. Maybe he refocuses on London. Who knows what's going on in his head.
I'm not even going to attempt to predict how this all plays out. That would be foolish of me. But I will say that absolutely nothing would surprise me. One thing is for certain. We all need to buckle up. Because the next month is going to be a helluva ride.