The NFL will review the Rams' L.A. Stadium plan next week.

Is Football On the Way Out Of St. Louis?

Next week the Rams, the Raiders and the Chargers are all going to meet with the owners of six other NFL teams, outlining their proposed stadium plans to bring NFL football back to Los Angeles.

Meanwhile in St. Louis, the company that wants to build a new stadium there is suing the city to stop a citywide vote on public funding on a new stadium. So, to answer the question in the title up there: Yes. Football, at least for now, is heading through the Gateway to the West and parking itself in California like those first settlers did so many years ago.

The Rams are as good as gone and even if the six owners in charge of the moving process voted against it, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has made it clear that he doesn’t feel they have the power to stop them. The Rams sued the NFL before to move out of L.A. to St. Louis in the first place in 1995, and the NFL backed down, not wanting to lose in court.

It won’t take that type of move, or even the threat of it this time. The NFL wants back in Los Angeles and they love Stan Kroenke, the owner of the Rams. He owns his own land and wants to pay for his own stadium. It’s happening. No one can stop it even if they want to, especially the city of St. Louis.

This offseason, the Rams converted their lease on the Edward Jones Dome to year-to-year, after the city failed to live up to the original lease agreement signed in 1995 with the team. In that agreement, the Rams home field was, based on agreed upon conditions, supposed to remain in the top 25 percent of NFL stadiums.

In an effort to keep the Rams in town, the St. Louis Regional Complex and Sports Authority has come up with its own plan, a 64,000 seat open-air dual-use stadium next to the waterfront. The only problem is that it would require the Rams to foot half the bill for its construction. The other half would come from the city. Which is where the vote comes in since the people of St. Louis, you’ll be shocked to learn, have no desire to spend any money on a new stadium for a billionaire. In effect, St. Louis has sued itself to stop people from voting the stadium plan down outright.

Meanwhile, the only problem with building a stadium in Los Angeles is whether there’ll be one or two. Kroenke’s stadium in Inglewood has already passed all the local hurdles it needed to for construction to begin.

The Raiders and Chargers have had a tougher time, with AEG giving up on plans to build a Raiders-Chargers stadium downtown. It was replaced by a $1.7 billion proposal to build a Raiders-Chargers stadium in Carson next to the 405 freeway. The city has yet to vote and the Raiders and Chargers will both have to foot the bill for the $150,000 it will take to do a fiscal and land-use analysis report.

At the same time Oakland and San Diego haven’t given up on keeping their teams and unlike St. Louis, seem to have a legitimate shot of doing so.

Almeda County supervisors have joined with all three of Oakland professional sports teams, the Raiders, the Athletics and the Warriors and are working on a significant update to the existing Oakland Coliseum with no taxpayer money at stake. They’re calling it Coliseum City and it will build two new stadiums and develop the entire 120-acre site, funding it through business and personal seat licenses.

While Oakland’s plan is financially feasible because it includes two teams (the Raiders and the A’s) and Kroenke is building his own stadium with his own money, the Chargers need financial help to do it and the San Diego taxpayers, like those in St. Louis, are not going to foot the bill. Because of that, the city is looking at building a new stadium next to the Chargers’ current home at Qualcomm Stadium that the Chargers and the San Diego State Aztecs will share. In addition, it will host the Holiday Bowl, the Poinsettia Bowl and High School championships. It also helps that the NFL will give San Diego $200 million to help build the stadium and keep the Chargers.

All that is in the planning stages and, luckily for the city of San Diego, it appears that they’ll be in a better bargaining position after next week’s meeting when Kroenke’s plan will almost assuredly be approved by the six-owner committee. Patriots owner Bon Kraft and Giants owner John Mara have both already publicly stated that the NFL will be back in Los Angeles in 2016.

So, L.A., you’re about to get your team back.

About Adam Greene

Adam Greene is a sportswriter, photographer and humorist. You can email him (and you should) at adamgreenetfm@gmail.com

About Adam Greene

Adam Greene is a sportswriter, photographer and humorist. You can email him (and you should) at adamgreenetfm@gmail.com

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