Roger Goodell is making it clear that the NFL, not individual teams, will be in charge of any NFL team's hopes to inhabit the prospective stadium in Los Angeles. He sent a memo to all 32 teams on Friday laying out the ground rules of any such move. This according to Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times. In the memo he also shows some optimism that a team will be in LA in the near future.
"Although substantial uncertainties remain," Goodell said in the memo, "stadium development in Los Angeles has advanced to the point where the prospects for a new facility are better than they have been in many years."
The Raiders have been one of the most talked about teams to return to the city they called home for 13 years from 1982 to 1994. The city in which they won their third and final Super Bowl championship. The city in which there is still a strong Raiders fan following.
The Raiders most likely competing suitors are the Rams and Chargers-- both of whom have their own stadium issues. The Rams appear to be trying to get out of their lease in St Louis and the city of San Diego can't seem to get it together to build a new stadium to replace the dilapidated Qualcomm Stadium. The Chargers also have a problem with fan attendance. Even though the club is competitive every season, the stadium is not selling out consistently.
Any team, whether it be the Rams, Raiders, Chargers, or otherwise, will be given a small six week window between January 1 and February 15 of 2013 to apply with the NFL to be the team chosen to move to one of at least two possible Farmers field locations in Los Angeles. With the Commissioner stating the league's decision on which team gets the go-ahead will come as early as the owners meeting in March of 2013.
However, Goodell adds "If no application is received for the 2013 season, we will consider when and under what circumstances clubs may apply for consent to relocate in a future season."
This puts the decision of moving to Los Angeles in the hands of Goodell and the NFL. The residual effect is it could significantly reduce leverage from any teams who are either restricted from applying or are not accepted for the move to Los Angeles. That leverage could be the only leg that Mark Davis and the Raiders have to stand on to get the city of Oakland to act on a new stadium complex. Davis has said he would rather stay but without a new stadium, he has no qualms about moving to greener pastures.
Goodell has maintained that he encourages teams to share a stadium if at all possible. His preference for the Raiders and 49ers to share a stadium has held off the NFL's full financial support of the Raiders building a new stadium for them to solely inhabit. This also works against the Raiders as one of his guidelines in the memo insists teams "Evaluate all stadium opportunities in its existing market." This means the shared stadium in Santa Clara must be a complete non-option as opposed to simply be an option the Raiders would prefer not to explore.
He continues to promote the two-team ideal with the LA stadium, saying "Any stadium seeking investment support from the 32 member clubs should preserve a viable option of being able to host two teams at appropriate times and on appropriate terms."
The guidelines laid out by Goodell in the memo, as Sam Farmer points out, is to keep a team from deciding independently to relocate to LA and "squatting on the market" while playing in either the Rose Bowl or LA Coliseum until the new stadium is built. However, if approved, the team must secure a temporary home (in one of those locations). It will simply be at the league's discretion.
Goodell wrote that issues such as approval to relocate, assessment and terms of a relocation fee, financial commitments from the league for stadium construction, and Super Bowls awarded must come from the full membership of teams. Any such approval would require a three-quarters vote of membership, or at least 24 teams.
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