Lately the discussion of the NFL moving back to Los Angeles had been heating up more than ever. There are three teams currently in the mix to jump back into the LA market - the Chargers, Raiders, and Rams. All of those teams are real possibilities but they are also using the possibility they will split for tinseltown as leverage to get a new stadium in their current cities.
This is not a new strategy. Not in the slightest. It has been 20 years since the Nation's second largest market was without an NFL team. And every single year of those twenty years, an NFL team has hinted they will fill the void should their current city not build them a new stadium
This graphic put out by the Los Angeles Times lays out that timeline perfectly.
The Raiders left town in 1994
1996 Buccaneers joined the Seahawks
1997 49ers and Seahawks
1998 With the Raiders just three years from leaving LA were already linked to a return and have been linked to LA every year since. Along with the Vikings and the expansion team which would land in Houston as the Texans.
2000 Cardinals were once again linked to LA and now the Chargers would come in. They, like the Raiders, have been linked to LA ever since.
2002 The Rams joined the party with the Raiders and Chargers as the three teams who all once inhabited Los Angeles and all three have been rumored ever since. The Cardinals also came up again for the last time as they got their wish for a new stadium
2005 The Saints name popped up but that was short lived
2006 Welcome back, Bills
2007 49ers again make an appearance before plan get rolling on their new digs which opened last season.
2011 The Buccaneers threaten to leave for LA
2013 With Los Angeles talking stadiums, the Falcons, Dolphins, and again the Bills' who were seriously threatening to leave for somewhere, whether it be LA or Canada. New ownership is keeping them in Buffalo.
2014 And then there were three. The same three that have been linked to LA since 2002 - the Chargers, Raiders, and Rams. Three former LA teams talking a return.
With the owner of the Rams buying land in Los Angeles and talk of a stadium in the works, the Rams are making the most blatant overtures to convince St Louis they are very serious about once again calling Los Angeles home. After that, it's between Oakland and San Diego.
Whichever city can get their plans together for a new stadium keeps their team. The city who doesn't, will most likely watch their NFL team head to Los Angeles and eventually shack up with the Rams.
The threat of Los Angeles as a destination has worked many times in the past. And it will work again. And this time, unlike the previous threats, this is no bluff. One or two of these teams will leave for LA. The other(s) will get the stadium they have been wanting from their current city. And they all win.