To little surprise, owners were circumspect when talking on the record about the possibility of one or more teams moving to Los Angeles within the next 12-24 months. Even though the league privately believes that the Chargers, Rams, or Raiders will move there within that time frame, it makes no sense to pull the pin publicly and prematurely on the grenade.
Giants co-owner John Mara initially tried to downplay talk of a move before essentially confirming our report from Sunday.
“I think it’s a lot more complicated than that,” Mara said. “There are other teams that are interested, and that’s going to be a complicated situation to sort through. . . . Do I think we’re going to be in L.A. within the next few years? Yeah, I think somebody’s going to be there.”
The primary options for a permanent stadium location appear to be Downtown at L.A. Live (the AEG project), Rams owner Stan Kroenke’s 60 acres at Hollywood Park, and one or two other spots that have not been publicly disclosed. Giants co-owner Steve Tisch took a break from cracking Ebola jokes to mention that owners were briefed on “a couple of locations in Carson.”
For his part, Commissioner Roger Goodell uttered words but ultimately said nothing about the situation.
“I’ve always been reluctant until we have a solution to project where we are,” Goodell said. “There are reasons for optimism, but that can change quickly also. Until we have a solution that we’re all comfortable with, and the ownership’s voted on it, I’m not going to make any comment whether that’s realistic or a high probability or not.
“What we want to do is make sure we’re doing the work to evaluate those alternatives, understand those alternatives, and if there’s an alternative that makes sense, bring that to the membership. Until we do that I couldn’t make any projections about whether we’re close or not. To me, at the end of the day it’s not about whether we’re closer, it’s about whether we get there.”
He’s right, because being close potentially hurts the short-term interests of the teams who haven’t moved yet. In the end, the team(s) that go to L.A. must pull an Irsay-to-Indianapolis abrupt departure.
With only three viable candidates to move, it can’t look like a move of any of them is inevitable, or every one of them will be confronted with a media and P.R. mess. So the NFL will keep the cards close to the vest until the time comes to load up the truck and move to Beverly. Or Downtown. Or Hollywood Park. Or Carson. Or Chavez Ravine.