Amid all the jubilation Tuesday in Inglewood after the city council approved a plan to build a football stadium on the site of the old Hollywood Park race track, it was easy to overlook the fact that adopting the plan doesn’t necessarily mean the NFL will end up in Inglewood.
It’s one of two stadium plans in play in the Los Angeles, with the Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers recently announcing a plan to build a new home they’ll share in Carson.
It’s well known the Inglewood stadium is the brainchild of St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke, presumably to be the new home for his Rams, who are free to leave St. Louis at the end of the 2015 season.
Unless, of course, St. Louis and Missouri leaders come up a plan to finance a new stadium for the Rams.
Which raises an interesting question.
What happens if Missouri approves a stadium before Kroenke files for relocation after next season?
NFL Vice President Eric Grubman, the league’s point man tasked with getting the NFL back to Los Angeles – told me that would present a difficult situation, but that he’s confident the NFL could navigate to a solution that it could be proud of, one that would uphold the values and principals of the NFL and be good for fans.
It leads you to wonder if a deal is being developed in which the Rams are allowed to move to Los Angeles and another team – say the Raiders – are directed to St. Louis?
It’s absolutely possible, but the word I get within the NFL is that St. Louis is being told to focus all its efforts on the Rams rather than look too far ahead.
For the moment, anyway, the league does not seem inclined to speculate about any sort of back filling, or directing another team to St. Louis should the Rams leave.
Kroenke’s involvement in Inglewood – he owns 60 acres of land on the site the stadium will be erected – and his flexibility to move at the end of next season suggests it’s only a matter of time before the Rams are back in Los Angeles, the region they once called home for 48 years.
And that may very well happen.
But it might not be a bad thing to pump the brakes on things a bit, because there is still a lot that has to break L.A.’s way for the Rams to return.
Missouri leaders are working feverishly to fund and build a new stadium to keep the Rams in St. Louis, and I can assure you the NFL is pushing the process a long.
The morning after Inglewood approved Kroenke’s Hollywood Park plan, Grubman – the man in charge with getting pro football back to Los Angeles while also retaining current teams in their current cities – was on a plane to St. Louis for a previously planned visit.
It’s one of many trips Grubman has made to St. Louis, where he is working closely with the two-man stadium task force of Dave Peacock and Bob Blitz to get a proposal on the table.
The question is, will a new stadium in St. Louis be home to the Rams or someone else?