They call St. Louis the “Gateway to the West.” For the city’s Rams fans, that moniker may no longer feel like such a good thing. On Tuesday, after multiple rounds of voting, NFL owners approved — by a count of 30-2 — the plan to move the Rams back to Los Angeles. With this decision, after a 21-year absence, the National Football League is finally making its return to the City of Angels.
“I often said over those 21 years what we need is a great facility,” commissioner Roger Goodell said at a news conference about 11 hours after the meetings began. “I think what happened over the last years is we had two outstanding opportunities. Both of these stadium projects were outstanding.” In the end, however, it was Rams owner Stan Kroenke’s proposal to move the team to Inglewood — where a $1.8 billion stadium would be ready for the start of the 2019 NFL season — that ended up winning out.
While Kroenke understands how difficult this news may be for the fans of St. Louis, as NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport noted, he is excited for the road ahead. Said the Rams owner: “It’s not easy to do these things. They are purposely made hard … It’ll be a lot of fun for me to build in LA.” Of course, while major news stories focus on the approval of the Rams’ relocation, there is, in fact, more to the story. For, when it’s all said and done, the Rams may not be the only team to call Los Angeles its new home.
As “luck” would have it, it’s the Chargers that have received the first chance to make the move to Tinseltown. Per the NFL, San Diego’s team has a yearlong option to move to Los Angeles and join the Rams, who will make the immediate move for the 2016 season. If the Chargers decline, the Raiders will receive the same opportunity. Like the Rams, the Chargers can decide to play in Los Angeles in 2016. However, per Rapoport, the team must make that decision by the end of the NFL meetings, scheduled to go from March 20-23, 2016.
Should neither the Chargers nor Raiders wish to make the move to LA, they will find themselves with some extra cash — to the tune of an additional $100 million said Dolphins owner Stephen Ross, per CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora — to help build new stadiums in their respective cities. No matter how the chips fall, we’re certainly curious to see how this all plays out.
The Rams called the city of Los Angeles home from 1946 to 1994. Come next season, the team will make its much anticipated return, where it’s expected to use the Los Angeles Coliseum as a temporary home until Kroenke can get his stadium up and running in 2019. Will the Rams be the only team to make the move? That we don’t know. What we do know is that the NFL is finally heading back to Los Angeles. Unfortunately for those in St. Louis, it’s happening by way of the “Gateway to the West.”