About that February 15 relocation deadline

By now we already know the NFL has nixed any team from moving to Los Angeles for the 2015 season. But nobody said anything about forbidding anyone from simply filing relocation papers – essentially declaring their intentions to eventually move to Los Angeles.

The window for that declaration began on January 1st and closes on February 15, and that  brings up an interesting question about the St. Louis Rams and their owner, Stan Kroenke, who recently partnered with a California based land developer to build an 80,000-seat football stadium on the site of the old Hollywood Park race track in Inglewood.

Could Kroenke simply go rogue and force the NFL’s hand by filing relocation papers on or before next Sunday?

And in the process, taint the waters so permanently in St. Louis it would create such a negative public relations mess for the NFL, the league would simply allow him to move rather than make him play one more year in front of angry, jilted fans?

The short answer is there really isn’t anything stopping Kroenke from doing just that.

But it’s extremely doubtful.

The people I’ve talked to within NFL circles don’t believe it’s likely – or in his best interest – that Kroenke pulls an end around at this point. In fact, with the NFL openly supporting Kroenke’s moves thus far relative to the league’s Los Angeles specific relocation guidelines, and with a  source confirming to me last week Kroenke has begun the process of building bridges with fellow owners to garner the necessary support for an eventual move, the Rams seem on such sufficiently solid ground it makes little sense for Kroenke to jeopardize his plans by going off grid.

The more likely scenario is Kroenke continues to work behind the scenes with his fellow owners, lets the political process play out in Inglewood – while simultaneously monitoring the the stadium efforts back home in St. Louis – and when he’s comfortable he has all his ducks in a row, acts accordingly.

No sense in ruffling NFL feathers – remember, he will need 24 votes from fellow owners to be approved for relocation – or poisoning the waters in St. Louis anymore than it’s already been poisoned.

No matter how badly Kroenke wants to be in Los Angeles – or how soon – and no matter how much sense his Inglewood stadium plan makes, he still has to work with the NFL and within their guidelines.

 

 

  • Michael Grande

    Go Rouge, Bring back the Los Angeles Rams 2015 #nolameduck

  • Gerald Reynolds

    Vinny, your a wonderful reporter and what you stated for the PC crowd makes sense but it is not necessarily so. Al Davis in 1982 did just this and moved to LA and the league had no recourse he beat them in court and the anti-trust rules as they are prohibits restraint of trade or collusion to control a market. Which is exactly the case Kroenke would have against the league if they took any action to punish or stop him from moving and they know that. Despite al the sabre ratting by Rooney and company they would be in for an extreme uphill climb to in an anti-trust case based on that.

    • Vincent Bonsignore

      Not ruling out going rogue, just not sure that’s a road Stan wants to travel. Might not be needed either.

  • rwmgd2

    Actually you stand corrected. Stan does not need league approval and both he and the league knows that. There is already plenty of precedent set to allow the move regardless of the current rules and lip service the league spouts off. Regardless of the so called “poisoned waters” no matter what Stan does the waters are already stirred up. What matters most and the bottom line is what makes Stan and the Rams more money. In L.A the Rams are worth roughly $3 Billion and in St. Louis they’re worth about $950 million. Money talks and Stan is no fool.

  • Peter Martha Pastorelli

    He’s going to file and that doesn’t mean he’s going rogue or ruffling feathers, just exercising his rights. The NFL can nix whatever they want, but they can’t keep him from pursuing the process legally. Haven’t you read his new lease with the CVC? It says they will begin their year to year tenancy in April, “in the absence of intervening events”. Yes, he’s going to file. You heard it here.

  • Richard Taylor

    What happens if the ST. LOUIS RAMS win their division next year (unlikely but possible) or are a wild card winner? Will the NFL allow Kroenke to move his team to LA, or anywhere, for that matter? Is it safer, then, for the NFL to find some reason to allow the team to move now, before the 2015 season? I’ve read the tea leaves (I paraphrase, but NFL sources say Davis would not be allowed to move the Raiders to LA because he lacks a background in real estate and high finance, ahem) and I believe the NFL has been in on the whole LA stadium business from the beginning. Remember the suggestion the NFL might build the stadium and lease it out? Clearly the league wants in, Kroenke can get them in, and St Louis is an anchor about their neck. Is it possible the league gives Kroenke the go-ahead, he moves, the league raises all kinds of hell but secretly smiles proudly at their own audacity and duplicity? In other words, are the Rams in play right now?