At first blush, it looks like an unequivocal commitment. Like so often when it comes to the Los Angeles leverage game, however, careful inspection of the words suggests that the door is open — even if only a little bit.
Chargers owner Dean Spanos, speaking to Albert Breer of NFL.com at the quarterly ownership meetings in Boston, explained that the Chargers want to remain in San Diego.
“I’ve said this the last 10 years,” Spanos said. “The Chargers belong in San Diego. That’s where we want to be. We’re going to continue to try to get something done in San Diego.”
At some point, however, the Chargers’ wants will give way to their needs. The combination of San Diego’s unwillingness to help build a new stadium and the looming possibility of one — and possibly two — NFL teams moving in just 90 miles up the road could at some point prompt the Chargers to become at least one of the teams to make the fairly short jaunt.
The Chargers are one of the few teams with the annual ability to abandon their lease via a payment that reduces each year. Spanos made it clear that, to get something done in San Diego, a payment from the public coffers will be needed.
“It’s very difficult to get public money in the state of California, but in our marketplace, we need a public contribution to get something done,” Spanos said. “Everybody’s aware of it. We just need to find the right formula that works for everybody, and it has to be fair for everybody. The politicians know what needs to be done. We just need to get something and make it work.”
Perhaps Spanos feels optimistic because the 49ers have found a way to ditch one of the worst stadiums in the NFL for a swanky new venue that will host Super Bowl L. Still, at the current rate of governmental action, the Chargers could eventually get that new stadium and host another NFL title game when the it’s time to play Super Bowl C.