Could St. Louis emerge from Rams relocation case with an expansion team?

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at St. Louis Rams
Getty Images

The folks in St. Louis have a tiger by the tail. And they are pulling, hard.

The end result could be a new NFL team in St. Louis, eventually.

As the powers-that-be come to grips with the power they don’t have in a Missouri court that will conduct a trial of the litigation challenging the move of the Rams to L.A., the possibility of an expansion team as part of a potential settlement of the case has been floated in league circle with the stature and influence to float such concepts.

Although Rams owner Stan Kroenke has agreed to indemnify the rest of the league for whatever the verdict may be — and although the lawyers have told the other owners that the indemnity commitment is ironclad — there’s a concern that the eventual judgment in the case could be big enough to get Kroenke to try not to honor it. Thus, if and when other owners are looking at the possibility of paying for all or part of the compensatory damages (and possibly punitive damages) awarded to the St. Louis plaintiffs, a new team for St. Louis could be dangled as a way to wrap up the case.

That doesn’t mean it will be, but there’s an acknowledgment in league circles of the possibility that giving St. Louis a new team could help resolve the case.

The reality, as some in league circles now concede, is that the case should have been settled months if not years ago. Once the NFL exhausted all avenues for forcing the fight to arbitration, the lawyers representing the league should have alerted the league to the very real possibility for home cooking in Missouri state court by a judge who has shown no hesitation to speak truth to power.

The league at large woke up to the current predicament when the trial judge ruled in July that financial information from multiple owners must be disclosed in anticipation of a potential award of punitive damages. And there’s definitely some frustration regarding the failure of the lawyers who have been handling the case to not press the panic button sooner.

That’s one of the most important responsibilities of the outside lawyers from large firms who charge over $1,000 per hour and who relish the opportunity to represent what they call “cost-insensitive clients.” They need to be willing and able to realize when the case is going off the rails, and they need to say something sooner than later.

Currently, it’s too late to avoid a trial. It could soon be too late to avoid a massive verdict. And while the league seems to be content to willing to take its luck at the appellate level, that process only kicks in after a Seinfeld finale-style trial featuring multiple owners being placed under oath and asked aggressive questions that may potentially twist them in knots and expose them to widespread scrutiny, criticism, and embarrassment.

If the NFL would promise a new team within, for example, five or 10 or 15 years, the league would likely find another place to park a new team, bumping the league from 32 to 34 franchises. That would disrupt the simplicity and symmetry of the current configuration of teams, but the league lacked those things for decades before 2002.

The spread of gambling will create an urgency to increase inventory, and one way to do that is to increase the number of teams. If it helps the tiger keep its tail from being amputated, there’s all the more reason to consider it.

56 responses to “Could St. Louis emerge from Rams relocation case with an expansion team?

  1. Sure, St Louis would pay for said stadium in 10 to 15 years, meanwhile this case is held up in the appellate process, and 20 years from now you get a team that will take how long to become relevant. Send the the St Louis Bills or pay them the money!

  2. Nope. They had two chances already. Rams were at the bottom or near the bottom in attendance their last 11 seasons in St. Louis.

  3. The Bills have a rabid fanbase, I don’t think they’re going anywhere. If they expand, I wouldn’t be too surprised if they add one to each division. Maybe not the first year, but I would expect 40 teams eventually.

  4. Austin will be the other city that gets an expansion team eventually. It’s filling up fast with transplants and major companies. Jerry Jones will balk, but Texas could handle 3 pro franchises. (If you consider the Texans a pro franchise).

  5. Arrogance from the lawyers to the owners is why they’re in this predicament. The rarified air they live in has them believing they’re bulletproof…

  6. Please god no! The divisions are perfect with 4 per. I remember when some disowns had more than others…it’s great as is….and 2 teams the Cardinals and Rams couldn’t survive there…really a 3rd.

  7. xenu says:
    October 9, 2021 at 5:25 pm
    The Bills have a rabid fanbase, I don’t think they’re going anywhere. If they expand, I wouldn’t be too surprised if they add one to each division. Maybe not the first year, but I would expect 40 teams eventually.

    6 0 Rate This


    Umm, the Minnesota North Stars had a rabid fanbase. It has nothing to do with a rabid or non rabid fanbase. It has to do with money.

  8. It’s easy to blame the lawyers, but it’s hard to tell rich arrogant owners what to do. This whole mess falls squarely at Kroenke’s feet and it’s awesome that his arrogance is going to cost him both directly and via the indemnity agreement.

  9. So the league didnt believe st Louis could support a team before and now you think they would be ok expanding the league and bringing in what they believe to be a failing market? No chance of this happening at all. The other owners make MASS amounts of money with an expansion franchise, it would be silly to give that up and hurt their business as a whole.of course this is where people will say St Lous can support a team but that makes no difference since if the NFL doesnt believe it can support a team this ridiculous idea goes out the window.

  10. How about this. They call the expansion team the St. Louis Arches. (Get it?)
    And they get the first pick in the draft to take Arch Manning!

  11. I’m not sure an area’s ability to “support a franchise” (number of fans) is the issue. It seems more an areas willingness to bribe the team with absorbing the cost of a new stadium. If the bribe isn’t big enough the franchise threatens to leave… and sometimes does.

  12. PFTSelectiveCensorship: The low attendance was during the worst team decade in NFL history. Plus the last 5 years the Rams were threatening to move and that’s not a great way to sell tickets. Add on top of that the baseball Cardinals consistently winning divisions, NL Pennants or World Series Wins.

    St. Louis Rams home attendance ranking by percentage:
    2006: 14th (8-8)
    2007: 16th (3-13)
    2008: 23rd (2-14)
    2009: 24th (1-15)
    2010: 23rd (7-9)
    2011: 25th (2-14)
    2012: 27th (7-8-1)
    2013: 24th (7-9)
    2014: 26th (6-10)
    2015: 32nd (7-9)

    Could we have done a better job of supporting the St. Louis Rams? Yes. But the Rams could have also tried to put a decent product on the field.

  13. xenu says:
    October 9, 2021 at 5:25 pm
    The Bills have a rabid fanbase, I don’t think they’re going anywhere. If they expand, I wouldn’t be too surprised if they add one to each division. Maybe not the first year, but I would expect 40 teams eventually.

    Ask the city of Cleveland how having a rabid fan base helped them keep their team in the mid 90s.

  14. I’m sure I read somewhere that St Louis wants nothing to do with the NFL. Kroenke masterminded this. It’s on him.

  15. People are saying that St Louis doesn’t deserve a team. Kroenke put a terrible team out there so people didn’t show up. They were sold out for 5 straight years when they had a great team. Went to 2 super bowls in that time. Just give the city and county between 500 million to 1 billion. Help with infrastructure schools and POLICE to help with crime. NO TEAM!!!

  16. Kroenke should have just said his team is worth 3 to 4 times more being in LA. People in St Louis wouldn’t have liked it but it would have been the truth. Instead he and LT’s trash the area going out. Now look what it is going to cost him. Jerry and the BOYS.

  17. If you’re a 2 time loser maybe it would be better to take the settlement money and improve your city

  18. If you add 1 team you’ll need to add 8 to keep the symmetry of the divisions. St Louis, Oklahoma City, Portland, Albuquerque, Alabama, Salt Lake City, Sacramento and I don’t know, Oakland? could all be in play

  19. Did the NFL promise a franchise when the LA Rams were ripped away from the fans in LA when they were dragged to St. Louis back in the 90s? St. Louis doesn’t deserve anything from this. Maybe a franchise at some point, but not as a promise to give them comfort for what happened when the Rams rightfully came back to LA.

  20. nah I’d rather see Jerrah on the stand after a few Johnnie Walker Blue, that would be entertaining lol

  21. I imagine a promise of an expansion team would soothe a lot of St. Louis fans. Unfortunately St. Louis has had 2 teams in the recent past and the owners didn’t think they were treated right so they left. Whats to keep this from happening again?

  22. fergyme says:
    October 9, 2021 at 6:50 pm
    Did the NFL promise a franchise when the LA Rams were ripped away from the fans in LA when they were dragged to St. Louis back in the 90s? St. Louis doesn’t deserve anything from this. Maybe a franchise at some point, but not as a promise to give them comfort for what happened when the Rams rightfully came back to LA

    Actually, the new franchise that became the Houston Texans was originally intended
    to be placed in LA.
    But LA didn’t give the NFL what it wanted for the franchise so Houston got it’s replacement for the Oilers moving to Tennessee.

  23. For all those yelling about St. Louis losing two teams you have to understand the circumstances under which the football Cardinals left.

    St. Louis City and St. Louis County are two totally separate entities with different leadership. By the mid 1980’s Bill Bidwill was tired of being poorly treated by Auggie Busch and wanted his own stadium. St. Louis City proposed an open air football stadium just south of Busch Stadium II while St. Louis County proposed a soft roof dome in Maryland Heights. The mayor of the City of St. Louis and the chief executive of St. Louis County got into a nasty battle of egos and torpedoed each other’s stadium proposals. In disgust Bill Bidwill rightfully left town while they continued their fight.

    After that all other sports venues have been built with cooperation of the two entities even though they are all located in St. Louis City. The Enterprise Center (where the Blues play), the TWA/Ed Jones Dome, Busch Stadium III and the proposed National Car Rental were all done with City and County cooperation. We’ve learned our lesson.

  24. So, why should St. Louis get any guarantees from the NFL? Their move from St. Louis to Arizona would be one thing but Georgia Frontierre’s move in the night to St. Louis was so much like Behring’s effort to move the Seahawks and he almost succeeded. Sour grapes from most St. Louis fans here when they didn’t deserve the Rams in the first place.

  25. Ask the city of Cleveland how having a rabid fan base helped them keep their team in the mid 90s.

    Name a city that lost a team that the NFL promised an expansion team right away. There isn’t one. Modell broke the lease and the city fought hard and commissioner stepped in made settlement which involved an expansion team. So it’s not out of the realm of possibility fit the NFL to give ST Louis a team

  26. A more righteous complaint would be the Seattle Supersonics being ripped off by the NBA.

  27. Can Chicago get an expansion team after the Bears move to Arlington Heights? I hope so!

  28. They should literally give them a team.
    St. Louis would own it. and run it for their own profit. Similar to Green Bay.
    That way the stadium could be public funded and everyone would be happy about it.

  29. Two possible scenarios here. (1) instead of expanding, the NFL relocates the Chargers to St Louis (they aren’t wanted in LA). The NFL sweetens the pot by waiving the $650 Million re-location fee that Dean Spanos owes for moving the Chargers, and the Chargers might have actual fans show up at their games (75% of the tickets sold at Chargers games are bought by brokers, who peddle the tickets to out-of-towners
    (2) Expand by at least 2 teams, St Louis, most likely San Antonio…or San Diego or Portland.
    I think scenario 1 to be more likely.

  30. St. Louis is going to lose when this gets to appeals and an unbiased out of state judge looks at it fairly.

    The simple truth is the city broke the lease once they did that they should of had no standing in this court to sue. For this wondering St. Louis was required to keep the stadium at a certain level in the lease and they did not the rams had an outside firm do an estimate on how much it would cost to bring it up to par and the city refused. Once that happen the city forfeited any right to sue period.

  31. touchback6 says:
    October 9, 2021 at 5:00 pm
    Ladies and gentlemen, your St. Louis Bills!


    To clarify, I’m desperately rooting for this because it would help BB not to have to deal with Josh Allen in the division the next 15 years.

  32. I hate to say it, but I think if St. Louis got an expansion team, the next city they would aim for is London, they’ve wanted to put a team in London for so long just because of the attendance numbers from the one game a year they have there!

  33. For those STL locals who blame team performance, remember that half the teams will lose every year.

    Take a step back and imagine you own part of a sports team. If the business plan for your pro-sport team completely crumbles because of team performance, then you are destined to eventually fail. Yes, winning helps immensely but winning/losing is a complete unknown and you have to be able to survive whatever comes like all the other NFL teams.

    If STL fans blame team performance, then they shouldn’t have an NFL franchise because there is no guarantee the next team will be any better no matter how much the owner tries.

  34. It sounds to me the league is coming to grips with the arrogance of Kroenke. Even on appeal there is no guarantee of victory by them/him. Remember the Supreme Court has already turned down the case when it came to arbitration. It is my understanding that the Chargers ownership is becoming a mess and that issue will need to be resolved. The league has it’s hands full.
    Everyone is assuming that St Louis wants and would take an expansion franchise. I am not so sure that is true after dealing with the league on this issue. Unfortunately, the City make take their portion and waste it as this city is prone to do.

  35. If St. Louis gets a team it will be the Chargers. Kroenke is on the hook for the bill and I am sure that he would pay for the Chargers to leave LA and move to St. Louis so that he can have LA all to himself.

    Whatever team comes to St. Louis sign me up for 2 season tickets. Despite what Kroenke said there are a lot of NFL fans in St. Louis. We felt betrayed by former Missourian Enos Stanley Kroenke.

  36. An expansion team will be terrible. St. Louis has demonstrated it will not support a bad team.
    Would someone be willing to be an owner?

  37. They should get the next expansion team and a stadium identical to Sofi stadium in LA paid for by the NFL. This would stop the NFL from doing anything like this again.

  38. Cincinnati Bengals lease is up in a few years.this city will not give them anything. Bengals are moving to St. Louis.

  39. The Chargers moving doesn’t sound that bad. They started out in LA before moving to San Diego so why not leave LA a second time? Quite the pattern LA has here. LA stole the Rams from Cleveland, and the city didn’t cry a peep when they moved to STL. LA stole the Raiders from Oakland (but whined and cried a tsunami when they left). In fact, according to the Los Angeles Almanac, the city has lost 17 professional football teams since 1944. Quite the impressive record, yet somehow fools keep thinking the city can support a pro team. I give the current Chargers residence 5 years before they move AGAIN, and 10 before the Rams move AGAIN.

  40. I have the perfect solution: Since St. Louis has lost 2 NFL teams, lets give them a constant loser and it’s owner: The Washington Football Team owned by Dan Snyder can now be the St. Louis Football Team owned by Dan Snyder! That way, Washington D.C. can get a future expansion team with a chance of being a winning team.

  41. The Tom Brady posting on here must be related to Stan Kroenke or works for him. Sounds like the comments that were said in court on behalf of the Rams/Kroenke.

  42. St. Louis should go cry in the Budweiser over the Cardinals losing to the Dodgers. I wouldn’t give that city a team before they put a team back in San Diego and Oakland.

  43. This is all deservedly on Kroenke and the other NFL owners. St. Louis was still paying off the new dome they built in the mid-90s, and city/county leaders were willing to build them another new stadium to keep the team.

    If Kroenke, et al, had just been honest throughout the process then this wouldn’t have happened – or it would’ve been a different kind of legal battle. And let’s not forget that he had to pay $650 million to the other owners to relocate – the other owners approved of the move so that they could get their chunk of change.

    The league doesn’t care about fans or the cities they leave, it’s all about the owners getting some money.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.