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NFL Los Angeles relocation decision: We have a deadline and it's coming up fast

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After months of toying with the idea of kicking the can down the road on Los Angeles relocation, the NFL has finally set a deadline for a decision to be made. That deadline is January 13, 2016. And in case you lost track of time, that's just over a month away.

A proposal is expected by all three teams -- the Raiders, Rams, and Chargers. They will be voting on which of the two projects to approve -- either the Rams in Inglewood or the Raiders and Chargers shared stadium plans in Carson.

Though Rams owner, Stan Kroenke, said this week that he would welcome another team to share his new stadium, neither the Raiders nor Chargers are expected to break their plans in Carson. In addition, according to ESPN's Jim Trotter there is "zero chance" Dean Spanos and Kroenke get in bed together.

Which project is approved will come down to votes. A total of 24 votes out of 32 owners will be needed for an approval. At this point, neither of the two projects has enough votes to be approved which means something has to give between now and then.

The NFL will hold owners meeting on January 12-13 in Houston Texas. At the end of those meetings, they will have a decision as to which team or teams will be headed to Los Angeles.

That isn't the only deadline, though. The first deadline comes at the end of this month. Officials from each of Oakland, San Diego, and St Louis will make their proposal to keep their teams.

"The first thing the membership is focused on is 'what can the home markets do?'" NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said Wednesday.

As of now, the strongest proposal by far comes from St Louis which is working very hard to ensure they keep the Rams in town.

After that, the proposals from Oakland and San Diego are much weaker. Oakland has refused to put up any public money for a new stadium and all plans presented to the league thus far have not been deemed viable. Roger Goodell said this week that San Diego will also not be able to present a viable stadium proposal in time for the deadline either.

If the current city's viability to keep the team is taken into serious consideration, it would be the Rams who are denied relocation.

"At that point, (Kroenke) has to make a determination," Goodell said. "If they don't get the 24 votes to move, the ownership doesn't have the right to move. Then it's up to the owner about what to do make the decision in the local market. Nobody can force him to sign a stadium deal."

In other words, 'you don't have to go home, but you can't stay here.'

Once the league receives the plans from each city, the next deadline will be January 4 when the three teams will make their bids for relocation.

It has been a couple years since talk of the Raiders leaving Oakland for LA started heating up. And it's been nearly a year since that discussion turned to serious plans being put into place by all three teams. Now in just over 5 weeks we will have our answer.