The Chargers currently reside not in San Diego or Los Angeles but in limbo, caught between their current home and their former home that could become their future home.
As a practical matter, they can’t stay there for very long.
The Chargers won the right to relocate on Tuesday, but it feels like a loss. It feels like a loss because they would be moving not on their own terms but on someone else’s, sharing space with the Rams in Inglewood.
And before they can move to Inglewood, the Chargers have to work out a deal with the Rams and owner Stan Kroenke. Given the recent example of the manner in which Kroenke negotiates with a city he claims to love, how will he negotiate with a partner who also will become a competitor?
Lost in the flow chart the NFL devised on Wednesday in giving Kroenke the first golden ticket to L.A. is the fact that he now controls whether the second golden ticket ever will be used.
Using the second ticket means that Kroenke will be sharing the market, competing with another franchise for hearts, minds, and dollars. Unless the dollars to be generated for Kroenke by making his new stadium available to a competitor will outweigh the benefit of hoarding the nation’s No. 2 market, he’d be crazy to give up the biggest — and most overlooked — asset that his partners have given to him, whether they realize it or not.
Full control of the Los Angeles market.
Sure, the owners can try at some point to force him to take on the Chargers, Raiders, or someone else under terms the owners dictate. But the man who just finagled 24 votes when no one expected it would need only nine to block any effort to change the new status quo.
That’s the new status quo. The Rams and Kroenke own L.A. And the Rams and Kroenke ultimately may not want the Chargers or the Raiders to move in.