The next few months are crucial for the NFL.
With St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke proposing a stadium in Inglewood, and the owners of the San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders backing a competing project in Carson, the stars are aligned for something to happen. The league could be on the verge of solving a 20-year riddle and returning to Los Angeles.
Then again, this could all fall apart just like every other plan.
Some predictions about what we will see unfold in the next several months as it relates to the NFL in L.A.:
Prediction: There won’t be any major developments coming out of the Aug. 11 NFL owners meeting in Chicago.
Roger Goodell has informed clubs there won’t be any votes at this meeting. So it’s not as if we’ll get a strong indication which way the owners are leaning. They’ll probably emerge with comments that are generic and familiar, such as, “It’s encouraging that we have two viable options in Los Angeles,” and, “We’re closer to returning than we’ve ever been, but there’s a lot of work to be done.”
On Aug. 10, representatives from the cities of San Diego and St. Louis will make presentations to the NFL’s committee on L.A. opportunities. This will be the first time most owners will hear full presentations on the two proposals.
Eventually, the league will compress and move up (to the fall) the window for teams to file relocation applications, but that’s unlikely to happen at the August meetings. Currently, that six-week window opens on Jan. 1, but that doesn’t give a relocating team much time to set up shop in its new city.
The league will get a lot of the necessary background work done before teams formally announce they plan to leave their current markets. On the L.A. committee are the chairmen of the NFL’s stadium, finance, labor and broadcast committees, so those committees will be kept up to speed on what’s happening.
Prediction: The focus of October meetings in New York will be the home markets, but owners will only hear from two of those three cities.
St. Louis and San Diego have put together serious proposals — although the Rams and Chargers aren’t impressed. But Oakland is lagging in a big way, so much so that representatives from that city likely won’t even be invited to New York for the meetings.
If the league does invite Oakland, it will be so that owners can see what little progress that city has made.