It’s been presumed that two teams will return to Los Angeles. The only question is which of the two teams that once were in L.A. will go back.
The question may have changed in recent weeks.
Per a league source with knowledge of the situation, the NFL may ultimately move only one team to Los Angeles. And that would happen not as a short-term thing, but as an indefinite move that could result in a second team never going to Los Angeles.
The shift comes from the league’s intense desire to get it right in L.A. Although it would be a lot easier to build a stadium with private money if 20 games per year are played there, instantly assigning two teams to a market that for 20 years has had none may not be the best way to reconnect with Los Angeles.
If only one team goes, that team likely would be the Rams, since owner Stan Kroenke already has plans in place to fund privately a one-team stadium in Inglewood. The proposed project in Carson hinges on two teams: the Chargers and the Raiders.
A one-team market in L.A. likely would hinge on working something out for the Chargers in San Diego, which may not be easy to do without public money. It could be even harder if the Chargers are dead-set on leaving — and if owner Dean Spanos has the votes to block Kroenke from moving to L.A. alone.
Meanwhile, Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times reports that the L.A. relocation process soon will shift from league-office personnel to a key group of owners and Commissioner Roger Goodell.
The so-called Committee on Los Angeles Opportunities (they need a clunkier name for it, I think) consists of Steelers owner Art Rooney II, Patriots owner Robert Kraft, Panthers owner Jerry Richardson, Chiefs owner Clark Hunt, Texans owner Bob McNair, and Giants co-owner John Mara. Ultimately, 24 owners will have to agree with whatever this group recommends, but there’s currently no reason to suspect a rebellion.
Unless the recommendation is that the Rams will get L.A., the Chargers will stay in San Diego, and the Raiders will continue to float aimlessly. At that point, Spanos and Raiders owner Mark Davis could cobble together nine votes aimed at blocking the move, which could eventually force Kroenke to move in violation of the league’s relocation policy — perhaps setting the stage for another high-profile NFL loss in a court of law.