Rams owner Stan Kroenke seems to be intent on building a new stadium in Inglewood. Missouri Governor Jay Nixon seems to be intent on building a new stadium in St. Louis. Both circumstances could become very useful for the NFL.
As explained by Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Nixon’s Plan A has become keeping the Rams in St. Louis. Plan B has become positioning St. Louis to lure another franchise to town.
Per Miklasz, Nixon has identified “core principles” for the stadium project, including placing the stadium “in an area of existing blight,” compliance with environmental regulations, payment of competitive wages for construction, meaningful re-use of the Edward Jones Dome, ownership of the stadium by the public not the team, and no new taxes.
Miklasz also reports that Nixon has made it clear to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell that the project is “serious,” and that Nixon is fully engaged in the process.
None of it may matter to Kroenke, who already has made it clear that he’ll build a stadium in Ingelwood, a project that Mayor James Butts made clear on Thursday’s PFT Live on NBC Sports Radio that Inglewood fully intends to build the kind of stadium that will lure one or two NFL teams.
Eventually, it could be a win-win-win-win — even if it doesn’t feel that way for St. Louis for about a decade or so. First, L.A. gets the Rams. Second, the Rams get L.A. Third, the NFL gets a new L.A. in St. Louis, which would become the perennial leverage point for teams that want new stadiums in their existing cities. Fourth, St. Louis gets a new team — eventually. Maybe.
The last time an NFL team left St. Louis, it took seven years to replace the Cardinals with the Rams. This time around it could take longer. Maybe it will never happen at all. Until it does (even if it never does), St. Louis becomes the “or else” in every stadium negotiation in every current city where the NFL does business.
So lose the Rams, gain the Raiders. Or whichever team eventually, and inevitably, finds itself unable to get a new building in its current town.