So why did Cowboys owner Jerry Jones decide not once but twice this past week to talk about how close the NFL is to returning to L.A.? We may have a theory. Or at a minimum a hypothesis.
Or at a bare minimum the product of a couple of glasses of wine on a Saturday night while re-watching the first two episodes of Breaking Bad.
The league doesn’t seem to be interested in Ed Roski’s shovel-ready site in the City of Industry, the flavor-of-the-month location at Chavez Ravine would take years and millions of dollars and inevitable litigation to secure, and the effort to do a deal with AEG near Staples Center appears dead on the Farmers Field vine.
But what if Jones’ comments were a message to Phil Anschutz, the owner of AEG? What if, by saying that it’s “more imminent than any time since we haven’t had a team in Los Angeles” and that it’s “a little bit of a black eye for all of us to have had this many years and not had an NFL team in Los Angeles” and that “[t]here are people, there are locations, there are people that are interested — viable people — that could help us put this thing together,” Jones is letting Anschutz know that the time is coming for a deal to be done?
Many believe the NFL won’t return to L.A. until the “right deal” can be done, which possibly means “the deal by which we make a ton of money and our ‘partner’ gets hosed.” Anschutz won’t let himself get hosed. If the NFL doesn’t want to do a deal that works for everyone, Anschutz simply won’t do a deal.
And if a deal isn’t done with Anschutz, we may still be talking about when and if the NFL will return to L.A. in another 18 years from now.
With the Chargers perhaps finally getting restless (and likewise nervous about one or two teams moving to the fringes of their market) and with the Rams due to become free agents after the 2014 season, the time to do a deal could be now.
And Jones’ comments could be aimed at getting Anschutz to wait just a bit longer.