The Stadium Clause

mdzl_oph

I watched some videos from NFL Network and read some news columns from NFL.com and ESPN. It was quite comical by the end of my little foray into the news that the now Los Angeles Chargers were leaving San Diego after 56 years.

Why would I say it was comical? Because this story took so many different angles with anger being shown to the Chargers owner Dean Spanos and the city of San Diego. Downright hysteria from the NFL’s owners who now don’t want LA to have two teams.

I’ll explain the hysteria briefly. It seems from all that I’ve read and watched that the owners overplayed their hand. After they signed off on the Rams moving back to LA last year, they gave the Chargers and the Oakland Raiders an opportunity to move and share space with the Rams. Spanos had the first chance with Raiders owner Mark Davis to follow.

The catch was that Spanos only had one year to decide. The rest of the owners figured he wouldn’t bite and ultimately the Raiders would move back to LA, which is apparently what the rest of the league wanted all along.

My question is if that’s what you ultimately wanted, why would you give Spanos that opportunity? You see why I find this so funny?

Bottom line is the league is overreacting to a degree. After only one year of the Rams in Los Angeles, no one believes that the city can sustain two NFL teams. The Rams were a flawed team. You don’t trade for the number one pick and expect to be better than an 8-8 team. They ended up 4-12.

The Chargers weren’t any better and finished 5-11 this past season. The one thing that makes me laugh about this ‘worry’ that the league and the owners have is that a team can make a turnaround faster in football than in any other sport.

If you start winning in LA, you will get support. The Los Angeles Clippers are the best example of this. They were the laughing stock of the NBA for decades and are now a contender. If the Rams and Chargers make the playoffs next year, they will start to get attention.

To put this whole fiasco into its proper perspective. It all came down to the construction of a new football stadium. It’s happened many times before in the NFL’s history and it will continue to happen. Forget about whether the Chargers can make it in LA, when will this nonsense stop with a sports team and a city not being able to come to terms over a piece of property?

The only thing worse in my eyes is seeing billionaire owners bickering with millionaire players in collective bargaining. Taxpayer money should never be going towards the construction of a sports stadium. The citizens of San Diego made that choice in November by voting down a tax that would have funded a new stadium for the Chargers.

Plenty of blame to go around, but if you want a good laugh, this was a good start to the year. I can’t wait for the next overreaction and how it will affect billionaires who overplayed their hand.

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