What to read into Bob McNair’s comments

Without actually coming out and saying he prefers the Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers Carson stadium project over the St. Louis Rams’ Inglewood project, Houston Texans owner Bob McNair essentially threw his hat into the Carson ring on Wednesday during an interview with the Houston Chronicle.

According to McNair, a key factor working for the Chargers and Raiders and against the Rams is that St. Louis will deliver an attractive stadium plan sufficient enough to block the Rams relocation to Los Angeles.

“St. Louis, they have come up with a proposal that is getting pretty close, in my opinion, to being an attractive proposal,” McNair told the Chronicle. “And if they do come up with an attractive proposal, then in my view, my personal opinion, I don’t think the Rams will receive the approval to relocate. So that would mean then you’d have two teams, San Diego and Oakland, that would be going into Carson. They have a partnership to build a stadium.”

You can read the entire story here.

To anyone who has been closely following the twists and turns of the National Football League back to Los Angeles story, that isn’t much of a surprise. McNair, a member of the six-owner Committee on Los Angeles Opportunities, has long been considered a Carson lean. And that jives with the belief that the committee is heavily in favor of the Carson project.

And the fact he came out publicly with his support fits with what a league official told me last month: As we get closer to decision time – the NFL hopes to decide who ends up in Los Angeles when owners meet in Houston January 12 and 13 -more and more owners will show their support for one project or the other.

So, while McNair’s opinion counts, it’s still just one of 32 opinions that will ultimately decide who ends up in Los Angeles. And he carries no more weight than Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, who came out in support of Inglewood last month, or Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson, who supports Carson.

Remember, the winning bid requires 24 votes.

That isn’t meant to lessen the significance of what McNair said – because he does have clout – just a reminder that he is one man with one vote. And that’s something to keep in mind as more and more owners begin stating their preference.

As someone with a dog in the hunt told me recently, both sides are keeping tabs of votes. And both are confident they know who supports them. And until someone speaks up and says something different than expected – or someone previously on the fence expresses support for one or the other project – there is no reason to over-react to what McNair, Richardson or Jones say. Their positions have been well established.

Meanwhile, as it relates to what McNair said about the St. Louis stadium effort, while McNair might be right the proposal may ultimately sway sufficient support to Carson, that doesn’t mean the Rams will automatically sign off on the St. Louis project.

Owners can block Kroenke’s move to Los Angeles, but they can’t force him to agree to the deal currently on the table in St. Louis. It will be interesting to see exactly how the league handles that situation, should it come to that.

But that is an issue for another time.

First, either the Carson or Inglewood project must achieve the 24 votes. Presently, neither side can confidently say they have the necessary support.

Maybe that will happen in January in Houston.

Any fallout from that – and there will be – will be dealt with afterward.