NFL ‘Plan C’ for L.A.: Oakland looks like odd team out

250px-Oakland_Raiders.svgAs the National Football League enters the stretch of the 2015-16 season, the saga of which team or teams will move to Los Angeles seems less and less mysterious, starting with this near-certitude: The Oakland Raiders aren’t likely to be leaving town anytime soon.

A series of unflattering media reports have depicted Raiders owner Mark Davis as clueless and outmatched by his responsibilities, with relatively few financial resources. Even if Davis had the best press in the world, however, he would have huge obstacles to overcome. Unlike the owners of the San Diego Chargers and the St. Louis Rams — the other teams in the L.A. triangle — he has no leverage with his home-town officials. Between their own budget headaches and a long history of scraping with Mark Davis’ late father, previous owner Al Davis, Oakland officials have no interest in offering a subsidy of any kind to the team and appear indifferent to the team departing.

Meanwhile, the Raiders’ and Chargers’ announcement earlier this year that they wanted to build a shared $1.7 billion stadium in Carson in southwest Los Angeles County is far less advanced than Rams owner Stan Kroenke’s planned $1.8 billion Inglewood stadium project. Kroenke has all has necessary environmental OKs to begin construction, and as the league’s second-wealthiest owner, the multibillionaire has no need to hunt for public subsidies or partner with other teams.

If Kroenke is willing to flout league rules and move a team without permission from three-quarters of team owners — as Al Davis did when he moved the Raiders from Oakland to Los Angeles in 1982 — he has clear sailing ahead. But if the league puts up enough obstacles to a unilateral move — say, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell trying to withhold TV contract money or threatening some other highly punitive action — Kroenke would be forced to reconsider. As the past three years have shown, Goodell is the most unpredictable commissioner of a major U.S. sport in memory.

No team has enough owner support to relocate — yet

CarsonStadiumDayAerialw_r620x349Pro Football Talk, generally the best connected of any media covering the NFL, looks at a possible — perhaps likely — scenario. It appears to be what Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan was talking about last week after owner meetings in New  York City when he referred to a “Plan C.”

With Chargers owner Dean Spanos definitely having the nine votes needed to keep Rams owner Stan Kroenke out of L.A. and Kroenke likely having the nine votes needed to keep Spanos out of L.A., the future of the NFL in Los Angeles could hinge on the ability of Spanos and Kroenke to work something out. …


Some owners actively oppose Kroenke’s desire to move the Rams, believing that Spanos has tried long enough to get a new stadium in San Diego, and that St. Louis is on the verge of crafting a viable stadium proposal to keep the Rams. But if at least nine owners feel strongly enough about Kroenke getting the L.A. market to vote against the Chargers, the situation will remain at impasse, with both teams in limbo.


A brokered deal would hinge, as many such arrangements do, on money and/or other considerations. With each owner able to block the other from moving, one owner needs to persuade the other owner to drop his opposition. In addition, then, to the relocation fee that would be paid to the league generally, the owner who moves to L.A. may have to make a large, separate payment to the one who doesn’t.


Likewise, the arrangement could include other terms. For example, if Spanos accepts that the Chargers will stay in San Diego and the Rams will move to L.A., the league could agree that only one team would be in L.A. …


It’s becoming more and more clear that something will happen, sooner than later.

Owners eager to set up team in L.A.

Meanwhile, the eagerness of the other owners to get a team in Los Angeles is difficult to overstate. Last week, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, Pittsburgh Steelers owner Art Rooney Jr. and Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay all told reporters in multiple interviews that it was quite possible the NFL would have a team playing in the nation’s second-largest market in 11 months.

It seems unlikely that the league would allow two teams to play in temporary quarters at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum or at the Rose Bowl in the same season. So NFL insiders offer this scenario as increasingly plausible: Kroenke gets the necessary support in a January vote to allow him to bring the Rams back to Los Angeles — after he makes a big enough payoff to Chargers owner Dean Spanos to drop his interest in Los Agneles.

The NFL has long liked the idea of teams sharing new stadiums, as the New York Giants and Jets do in the Meadowlands facility in northern New Jersey. So perhaps “Plan C” is for the Chargers to sign on as a secondary tenant in Kroenke’s Inglewood stadium. But that’s an awfully complex negotiation to finish by the January vote at which NFL owners want to take decisive action.

Chris Reed

Chris Reed

Chris Reed is a regular contributor to Cal Watchdog. Reed is an editorial writer for U-T San Diego. Before joining the U-T in July 2005, he was the opinion-page columns editor and wrote the featured weekly Unspin column for The Orange County Register. Reed was on the national board of the Association of Opinion Page Editors from 2003-2005. From 2000 to 2005, Reed made more than 100 appearances as a featured news analyst on Los Angeles-area National Public Radio affiliate KPCC-FM. From 1990 to 1998, Reed was an editor, metro columnist and film critic at the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin in Ontario. Reed has a political science degree from the University of Hawaii (Hilo campus), where he edited the student newspaper, the Vulcan News, his senior year. He is on Twitter: @chrisreed99.

Related Articles

The most important function Gavin Newsom could perform

The L.A. Times ran an amusing story about Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom’s frustrations at holding his useless position. Gov. Jerry

Gov. Brown, Legislature seek road funds

No question California’s roads are close to those in Iraq. The only makes car repair shops happy. Gov. Jerry Brown and

Progressives look to shame Gov. Brown over high rate of child poverty

When Jerry Brown returned to the governor’s office in 2011, Democrats largely accepted his argument that with revenue down and