With the deadline for teams to file relocation paperwork looming in February, and both the Rams and Raiders very interested in playing in Los Angeles in 2015, the league addressed the situation briefly during last week's owner's meeting in Dallas, league sources said.
Eric Grubman, the
NFL executive overseeing the LA initiative for the league, spoke during
the meeting and acknowledged that there were multiple teams with the
intent of moving to Los Angeles as soon as next season, and explained
that there remained multiple options for when and where those teams
might relocate within the LA region, sources said.
all else, Grubman stressed what has already become painfully clear to
officials of the teams seeking to move to LA, which is that the NFL will
continue to dictate this process and it will be the league's decision
which team or teams, and on which timeline, they move to Los Angeles.
owner Stan Kroenke, whose strong desire to get to LA as soon as
possible is well known in league circles, was watching particularly
intently as Grubman spoke, sources said, and Rams officials remain
frustrated with the pace of the process.
While the Chargers have
less outward interest in getting to LA as the Rams and Raiders do, the
willingness of those other clubs to move -- neither of which has a
stadium lease beyond this season -- has placed additional pressure on
San Diego's owners to navigate this situation and be prepared to
relocate themselves if need be.
Ultimately, the degree to which
the NFL can find a stadium deal it feels like will benefit all 32 teams,
while at that same time placating Chargers' ownership as much as
possible, is part of the complicated balancing act going on, and, even
if a move to LA does not occur by the start of next season, it is seen
as a forgone conclusion that some team is playing in the Rose Bowl on an
interim basis by 2016 while a new stadium is being constructed.
was reported here months ago that the league office was well aware of
the intent of multiple teams to move to Los Angeles by 2015, and, if
left to their own devices, those clubs would in fact be hastening their
movement. However, the NFL has full control of the process via the votes
necessary to gain the right to relocate, as well as the determination
of relocation fees, etc.
Raiders owner Mark Davis has flirted
with the idea of moving to San Antonio, though that continues to be
viewed as a remote option at best and impossible at worst (it would be
very difficult to get two thirds of the owners to sign off on such a
move), and there are not new stadium options for the Rams and Raiders at
their current homes, which are seen as palatable at this point, though
the possibility remains both could end up with little choice but to seek
one-year extensions of their leases if the NFL is not prepared to put
one of them in Los Angeles for next season.