Is a Los Angeles NFL Team a Reality or a Hollywood Dream?

Matthew YazoContributor IFebruary 17, 2012

It's that odd time of year in Los Angeles.

The weather fluctuates between hot, cold, muggy and rainy from a day to day basis.

Baseball is around the corner and the Lakers are slugging along in what is an already strike-shortened season. College football is in its recruiting phase and hockey was still hockey.

Meanwhile, the echoing thoughts of an NFL stadium and an NFL team seem to be dying on the vine as the political process of union negotiations and economic influence claw away at any timely or productive means of getting shovels in the ground.

There was also the all important issue of what team this stadium would be for.

Will there ever be a stadium? Will there ever be a team? Will there every be an NFL game played in Los Angeles ever again?

Or is it all Hollywood dreams?

The San Francisco 49ers had secured their stadium and ended all flighty rumors of a Los Angeles relocation effort.

The Minnesota Vikings were frantically trying to coordinate a stadium effort to stay in Minnesota.  

The Jaguars' new ownership was boasting to stay in Jacksonville so long as there was enough mustache wax to go around.

The previous front runners, the San Diego Chargers—despite various propaganda efforts which incorporated meaningless Chargers games on Los Angeles radio stations among other coverages and even television broadcasts—turned out to be the team that nobody wanted in the wake of the return of the doomsday duo, AJ Smith and Norv Turner.

This leaves two teams as the neo-leaders in the race to Los Angeles: the St. Louis Rams and the Oakland Raiders.

Full circle, we have once come again.

The Rams are now in their second team-rebuilding effort in roughly five years, which does not bode well for any legitimate competition on the field of play. The Raiders are without Al Davis for the first time since their colors were Silver, Black and Purple and F. Wayne Valley was the man on the marquee.

These are two teams who had historical and tremulous relationships with the city and fanbase of Los Angeles.

One was never quite that successful and moved to Orange County before leaving California altogether.

The other brought a championship before bringing all sorts of political espionage along with it.

There is a reason that there has been no NFL team in Los Angeles for almost 20 years now. That reason is mostly because the culture of the city does not provide a demand for it.

Los Angeles is a very post-modern city.  It's real boom days started only about 100 years ago.

It's a city and a fanbase that embraces the glitz and glamour of things and enjoys its sports teams as high flying champions, as exemplified by the might Lakers, also known as "The Show." The NFL was a one day a week effort that required a lot of hoopla to rally around.

In Los Angeles—as opposed to Green Bay, Pittsburgh and Boston—sports didn't dictate the city, the city dictates the sports.

This is in large part why the NFL has not rushed back to Los Angeles. This is why two teams have vamoosed with little residue left behind other than a rabid Raider base in East Los Angeles and a few Rams hats shoved in a garage somewhere in suburban Fullerton.

So the question is, who really holds the cards here?

Do the Rams and Raiders qualify as two franchises that could make or break the City of Angeles and their new Stadium of Dreams?

Or were the Raiders and Rams just as hopeless as some wide-eyed blonde venturing out to Hollywood in some grim hope to land a background spot on "Marry Poppins on Ice"? Was Los Angeles salivating for the NFL so badly that they'd take any no-name off the b-casting list from a canceled realty TV show?

Who was more desperate? The franchises, the city or the league?

There is no win-win when sports meets politics.  

One side always has to leverage the other and make a case for itself.  Rarely do such massive decisions start and end with a simple meeting and a few handshakes.

And if the Raiders and the Rams were to move—again—what would that say about the football towns of St. Louis and Oakland?

Oakland, as we know, seems to get squashed by San Francisco in just about every category possible at every turn.

St. Louis has always been a baseball town first and would stand to lose two franchises in the Cardinals and the Rams if this were to transpire.

Did any of this matter enough to thwart a relocation effort one way or the other?

How would these two franchises, or any franchise, fair in a city that features sunbathing at Super Bowl parties?

Maybe some poor kid in Gorman—a town on the last northern outpost of the county—cared about an NFL team because he heard so much about dreams as travelers came in and out of his town up and down I-5. Maybe this kid has heard one too many rumors coming from that sports vortex called San Diego about the glory of the NFL in Southern California.

Maybe, just maybe, the rumors of the NFL returning to Los Angeles might one day, be ultimately true and he could, indeed have a team of his own to root for.

Such things were, after all...the stuff of dreams.