NFL in LA? This Time? Please? Maybe?
The Los Angeles Times has a series of articles this week on LA surviving ten years without NFL football. Today's edition in the series, is about former 49ers and Browns executive Carmen Policy, and how he might be the savior LA has been looking for to bring us back a team. Come on! Enough already! How many more saviors can we take? Add Carmen Policy to a list that includes Jerry Jones, John Elway, Larry Ellison, Eli Broad, Ron Burkle, Ed Roski, Tim Leiweke, Casey Wasserman, Mike Ovitz, Michael Eisner, Peter O'Malley, Mark Ridley-Thomas, Al Davis (again), Ken Behring, Alex Spanos, John Moag, Jim Irsay, and countless others as people who supposedly could have brought the NFL back to LA at some point. It hasn't happened yet.
Right now LA doesn't have an NFL team for two reasons. 1.) There is no NFL-ready stadium in LA and 2.) There is no obvious team to move to LA.
Los Angeles decided to make the first part complicated, by killing all stadium plans except the Coliseum, and forcing the NFL to wait 10 years until the neighborhood improved from dangerous slum to "not all that bad" area near revitalized downtown. With the Rose Bowl plan impressing virtually no one, and the Carson plan unable to shed its "toxic dump" label, we all thought the Coliseum was the surprise leader in the stadium sweepstakes until the city of Anaheim decided to swoop in and force a bidding war. While LAist wasn't thrilled with the initial idea of our NFL team in the O.C., we're slowly warming to it. If Anaheim is really just LA Angels country, then we could deal with a Rams knockoff.
As for the second part, the Times suggests that the NFL really doesn't want a team in LA, so everyone else can use our city as leverage. While LA has probably helped close to a dozen teams get new stadiums, we don't completely buy the argument. There are always cities clammoring for NFL teams, whether they're in San Antonio, Hartford, Louisville, Birmingham, Norfolk, Las Vegas, or Portland. And whichever city loses a team to LA, would probably become a front-runner to get the NFL back. Look at Baltimore, St. Louis, Cleveland, and Houston if you don't believe me.
So which team can move to LA? Unfortunately, there aren't any real obvious suitors right now. The Chargers were a possibility until their apparent marriage counseling with the city of San Diego proved successful. The Colts seemed on the verge of coming here, until the the local governments in Indiana reached a deal for a new $690 million dome. It still needs to be approved by legislative bodies, but the point is that the framework is there. Arizona has its new stadium finally. And we can't see the Vikings ever leaving. All that leaves is a small crack for the Saints, if the state of Louisiana stops subsidizing the Superdome. It's possible, but even LAist won't bet on it these days. After all, the Saints have leverage.