There remains a surreal reality-meets-Hollywood aspect to L.A.’s ongoing stumbling pursuit of an NFL team, one that lately could confuse even those of us who know the difference between right, wrong and broken dreams.
Hopefully, no one at the NFL watches HBO until “Hard Knocks” starts in August. It might cloud their decision to actually bring a team back here — the first since both the Raiders and Rams changed their addresses after the 1994 season.
Enter the latest episode of “Entourage,” where agent-gone-crazy Ari Gold (Jeremy Piven) is money-hungry to bring himself fame as he figures out a way to form an NFL ownership group fo L.A. that includes two very real candidates: Casey Wasserman and Jeffrey Katzenberg.
Weren’t they already involved in ….
“Billionaire boys club day. I love it!” says Gold in the HBO series’ episode “Tequila Sunrise” that debuted Sunday (with several more replays this week).
So Gold has his meeting, with Wasserman making an appearance as well as San Diego Chargers linebacker Shawne Merriman.
Says Gold: “I want, and everyone in this town wants, an NFL team playing in a brand-new state-of-the-art facility within five years, all right? I think with the power and the money at this table, we can get it done in three. Now is the time for L.A. to have an NFL team and I am the right guy to lead the charge to make this happen.”
When asked how Gold would run the team with their money — he’s trying to milk at least $20 million per investor — he said: “Like I do here at the world’s largest talent agency. I bring in the best, I attract the best. I’ve always done that … Sign checks — big ones. And if not, regret not being a part of this for the rest of your lives.”
Now match that up to the quotes that appeared in Saturday’s Whittier Daily News (linked here), where Ed Roski says he’s still committed to building his City of Industry stadium, even if there’s a second stadium proposal for downtown in the works.
“It will happen,” said the Majestic Reality CEO, even though he says the NFL’s labor problems coming up has slowed progress on his proposed $800 million, 75,000-seat stadium, which is fully approved for construction.
“Our expectation was to be further along than we are right now,” the 71-year-old said. “Unfortunately for us, the labor contract right after the Super Bowl became a focus for the NFL. So it definitely has slowed the process down.”
Is Ari aware of this?
(Does it matter? Ari once had a quote in the series: “Call me Helen Keller because I’m a f—ing miracle worker!”)
In real life, Wasserman has said he’d join Tim Leiweke in trying to get a $1 billion NFL stadium built near Staples Center.
Roski declined to talk specifically about the downtown stadium concept, of which few details have been released.
“We are just focusing on our deal,” he said. “We think we have the location that services all of Southern California.”
In 2003, Roski was working to bring an NFL team to the Coliseum, a similar venture in Carson was revealed — that was the pet project of agent Michael Ovitz.
Which seems to be the character that Gold is now portraying. We think.
Unless Larry David, as George Steinbrenner, wants to step in and add his two cents.