When it comes to returning a team to Los Angeles, the NFL loves to talk about doing it. When it comes to actually doing it, the league rarely if ever takes any tangible steps.
Former Lakers star Magic Johnson has joined in on the talk about the NFL coming back to L.A. Which means either he knows something or he simply believes at face value the chatter that typically leads to no action.
“I think for the first time, I truly believe we’re going to get a team,” Johnson said Tuesday at the joint Raiders-Cowboys practice, via Yahoo! Sports. “Finally. Everybody is on board. The city is on board. The business community is on board. The NFL is on board. Finally we have momentum. In the next couple years, at least in the next 24 months, I think one team will be coming. I don’t know what team that will be, but I believe in the next two years we’ll have a team.”
The most obvious candidates for relocation are the Raiders and Rams, especially since both teams currently have year-to-year stadium leases.
“It would be great to have the Raiders back in L.A., I would love for that to happen,” Johnson said. “But that’s going to be up to Mark [Davis] and the Raiders and the NFL. But I would love to have the Raiders back in L.A., where they belong. We just want a team, we want a team in the worst way.”
But how badly does the NFL want to put a team in L.A.? For years, the league has waited for the right deal, which likely means the deal that will pay the NFL a ridiculous windfall. More recently, talk of the league building its own stadium has gained momentum.
Meanwhile, the Chargers could be poised to recruit at least eight other teams to block a move, since 24 total owners must approve any relocation effort. The Chargers understandably don’t want to share the Southern California market, and they’d also like to have the option to move there themselves if/when long-stalled efforts to build a new venue in San Diego finally are abandoned. With the league perpetually waiting for the right deal, the pitch to the other teams would be simple — “This isn’t the right deal.”
And so it seems that the NFL will continue to be two years away from returning to Los Angeles, indefinitely.