Saturday, December 20, 2014

No NFL team moving to Los Angeles for 2015, report says


Until we have some actual progress involving an NFL team moving to Los Angeles, maybe it's best to stop the breathless speculation about which teams will move there.

There won't be a team moving to Los Angeles in 2015. ESPN.com's Adam Schefter said commissioner Roger Goodell told the Oakland Raiders, San Diego Chargers and St. Louis Rams – the three hottest candidates to move to L.A. if that ever happened – that there will be no team in Los Angeles next season.
Until we have some actual progress involving an NFL team moving to Los Angeles, maybe it's best to stop...

This news shouldn't surprise you, because the NFL has a clear strategy for Los Angeles. The league lets the market stay open (no team has been there since 1994), does nothing to discourage numerous reports which say that this is the year a team is coming to L.A. (there were reports this year that two teams might even come, which the NFL must have enjoyed tremendously) and then the NFL can use that negotiating power to get cities to publicly finance new stadiums.

This is what the league has done repeatedly for two decades. And it's working, so why change now?

If the NFL, which makes so much money despite not being in the Los Angeles market that it gave Goodell a bonus of more than $40 million in 2013 just to get rid of its cash, wanted to be in L.A. it would have been done years ago. Quit with any other discussion about that market and an NFL team. Again: If the incredibly profitable NFL thought it was important to have a team in Los Angeles, there would be a team in Los Angeles. Period. That's it. Anything that runs contrary to that statement is intellectually dishonest.

Maybe the NFL will finally change its agenda and put a team in Los Angeles one of these years, but nobody should be pretending it's a priority for the league. The Raiders don't even have a home yet for next year because their stadium lease is up, they might be playing their last game ever in Oakland this weekend, and already the NFL has ruled out them returning to L.A. If that doesn't tell you how little the NFL cares about getting a team in that market, nothing else will.

So next year, when there are more reports that an NFL team going to L.A is really, really, really going to happen this time, you might want to remember that the NFL doesn't care if it happens or not. Though, it does care that there are reports saying it might happen. It's probably better for the league if that market remains vacant, but we should all understand that by now.