As the Rams struggles continue; relocation looms


Amongst all the headlines and missed opportunities for the St. Louis Rams in three short weeks, the gorilla in the room still resides front and center, relocation. The potential for relocation will continue to be a highly discussed topic this season and the Rams’ slow start has only accelerated talks. Meetings scheduled for October and December by NFL franchise owners and the league offices will be the place of these discussions, and it would appear that Rams owner Stan Kroenke may be losing ground in his bid to move to Los Angeles.

The plan always appeared to be for the Rams to be uprooted and settle in Los Angeles in time for the start of the 2016 season. Logistics, stadium construction and competition from two other franchises, the San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders, have assured that will be very improbable.

Pro Football Talk has reported that Kroenke and company are missing the support of many influential owners that are willing to oppose his California dream. One of those owners is Jerry Richardson, owner of the Carolina Panthers. Richardson in his own right doesn’t hold any more weight than any other owner, but he happens to be the head of the NFL’s L.A. committee.

Sep 13, 2015; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Rams fans cheer on their team during the second half against the Seattle Seahawks at the Edward Jones Dome. The Rams defeated the Seahawks 34-31 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

The report goes on to say that Richardson and his team believe that the Chargers and Raiders are more viable potions to move under the leagues relocation policy. Part of that is due to the strong plan the city of St. Louis has put together to keep their franchise, and noting the Rams long history in St. Louis that has now reached 20 years.

When asked about the likelihood of the NFL returning the Los Angeles area Richardson said it seemed like there was very little doubt.

"‘We have every reason to believe that re-entry of the NFL into the Los Angeles market will be successful.” Richardson said. “ Additional work needs to be done before we move forward, but we are confident in our process.” (Mike Florio, PFT)"

Regardless of the franchise that desires to relocate, they will need at least 24 owners to approve the move. CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora said Sunday that none of the three teams, Rams/Chargers/Raiders, had enough support to carry the required votes for relocation. Part politics, part business it would appear both the Chargers and Rams might have enough votes in their favor to block the other franchise from moving.

La Canfora also notes that St. Louis has some big names in their corner including Dallas Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones and New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft.

The long and short of it is the Rams still have the best chance of relocating and a solid chance of remaining in their current city. Kroenke has secured the land, business partners and money that make his situation highly favorable. But the city of St. Louis has put together the most complete plan of the three cities at risk of losing their NFL franchise to keep the team. The proximity of the Raiders and Chargers to the new market also keeps them in the mix to help preserve their fan bases.

If one thing is certain, this fight will surely drag out well into the season, and could even break into the preparation stages of the 2016 season. Kroenke may purposely delay in hopes the St. Louis plan falls apart, the Chargers/Raiders earn a new stadium in their cities or his projected plan at Hollywood Park simply becomes inevitable. Either way, the NFL will return to Los Angeles within the next two to three years. The only question that remains is who represents the once flourishing market.