If it was a football play, it would be stopped in the backfield for a loss of yardage, every time it was called, because it is so telegraphed.
But that doesn’t stop the Los Angeles card from being thrown every time an NFL owner tries to extract money from his local government.
It was Charlotte recently, now it’s moved down Interstate 85 to Atlanta, where the Atlanta Business Chronicle reports that Falcons owner Arthur Blank has told area officials he had been approached by L.A. interests who want to move his team there.
The Falcons just so happen to be in the middle of wrangling for public money to build a new stadium to replace the Georgia Dome, an acceptable if soulless barn which hosts many other events in addition to Falcons games.
“It’s incumbent on us to make sure we don’t lose the franchise,” Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal said Tuesday. “What it does is emphasize the fact that having a major football team like the Atlanta Falcons is a sought-after commodity. I recognize that fact.”
According to the report, Blank “reportedly” told Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed of the interest from L.A.
But Deal seemed to say Blank hadn’t done that directly, suggesting the implied threat that is so common from people who don’t want to dirty their hands by wringing your wallets dry of cash themselves.
“Arthur Blank has never played that card, and I give him credit for that,” Deal said, adding: “I have not had any direct conversations about this.”
No one has to have direct conversations, so long as word gets out, “reportedly” or otherwise, about the threat of dropping the big one on an NFL market.