The first half of 2015 critical to NFL in Los Angeles

By Vincent Bonsignore

With the NFL announcing there will be no relocation to Los Angeles for 2015, it didn’t end L.A.’s hopes of being the home to an NFL team as much as it delayed them.

Someone is coming to Los Angeles, maybe as soon as 2016. And with the St. Louis Rams, Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers all fighting for local stadium resolutions while also eying Los Angles as a new home, you have three teams potentially vying for two spots in Tinseltown.

You also have three cities understanding Los Angeles is a viable relocation alternative, and the obvious motivation to get something done locally lest they lose their teams to L.A.

All of which makes the first few months of 2015 very much critical to the Rams, Raiders, Chargers and Los Angeles.

A starter’s gun went off two weeks ago when the Rams, Raiders, Chargers and the NFL agreed to no move to Los Angeles in 2015. And it should be a wake-up call to local leadership in St. Louis, Oakland and San Diego.

In essence, the NFL pushed a pause button while also ominously raising their hand above the re-start button.

The message is clear: You have 12 months to figure your stadium deals St. Louis, Oakland and San Diego. And in that time, we are going to figure out a stadium deal in Los Angeles that works for the NFL and two teams that move there.

Now let the race begin.

As it relates to St. Louis, the high-powered task force Missouri Governor Jay Nixon appointed is scheduled to brief him in January on a stadium idea to keep the Rams in St. Louis.

With Los Angeles lurking as a  new home for the Rams, the sense of urgency to get something done is obvious.

In Oakland, the Raiders have very little traction in terms of a new stadium in the Bay Area considering all the political and financial obstacles standing in their way.

And while the Chargers hope to remain in San Diego, there is nothing to suggest they are any closer to securing a stadium deal today than when they began their fight 12 years ago. In fact, you almost get the feeling the Chargers are biding their time seeking a new stadium while also monitoring the availability of the open Los Angeles market.

Here is the rub: While Los Angeles won’t have a team in 2015, the first six months of 2015 will be extremely critical whether someone relocates here in 2016.

Local leaders in St. Louis, San Diego and Oakland are on the clock at the moment, and with Los Angeles emerging more and more as a legitimate relocation destination it will be fascinating to watch how seriously the threat is taken over the first half of the new year.