In any campaign that relies on the eventual casting of ballots, candidates can either promote their own attributes or trash those of the alternative. In the quest for the 24 NFL ownership votes needed to secure a golden ticket to Los Angeles, Rams owner Stan Kroenke has opted to do both.
But the negative campaigning focuses not on the other L.A.-area projects as much as it focuses on the other potential location for the Rams. And in trashing St. Louis on his way out the door, Kroenke may be trying to make it impossible for him to stay in St. Louis, if he doesn’t get the 24 votes to move.
“Any NFL Club that signs on to this proposal in St. Louis will be well on the road to financial ruin, and the League will be harmed,” Kroenke’s application for relocation said, via David Hunn of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
At a time when the NFL fears that a one-year delay in resolving the L.A. situation will result in a degrading of the fan bases in St. Louis, San Diego, and Oakland, Kroenke has made it clear that there definitely will be a degrading of the fan base in St. Louis, if the Rams don’t move now.
Here’s where it gets even more intriguing. According to Ben Frederick of the Post-Dispatch, the Rams tried to keep the submission secret, in defiance of the league’s relocation policy. Only after multiple requests did the Rams disclose the information to the Post-Dispatch.
Regardless of whether Kroenke leaked it or tried to hide it, he had to have known it would come out. And he had to have known it would make it hard to stay in St. Louis. And at some level he had to want the owners to realize this before deciding whether to let him leave.
So Kroenke thinks the league will be harmed if the Rams stay in St. Louis. Kroenke’s submission now ensures that the league will be harmed even more. Unless Kroenke no longer owns the Rams.
Which brings us back to the outside-the-box-or-just-plain-kooky notion that a swap of the Rams and Chargers may be the only way to get this done. If Kroenke and Chargers owner Dean Spanos trade pink slips (and if Kroenke gives Spanos a huge pile of cash), Kroenke can take the Chargers to Inglewood and Spanos can become the new favorite son of St. Louis.
Alternatively, it could mean that Kroenke may have to sell the team, if he doesn’t get the 24 votes to move. As some have speculated, he could then eventually buy the Broncos from the Bowlen family, given that Kroenke already owns the Denver Nuggets and Colorado Avalanche.
However it plays out, Kroenke’s aggressive move to get out of St. Louis underscores the fact that, as the owners get together next week, anything can happen. And pretty much everything will.