Two NFL teams are returning “home."
The Raiders’ attempts to get public financing for a new stadium in Oakland, along with sharing a stadium with Bay Area rival San Francisco 49ers, have failed. The St. Louis Rams also have been trying unsuccessfully to get public financing on a new football stadium.
For the Raiders, it’ll mean leaving their original Northern California home for a return to Southern California, where they played from 1982-1994. And for the Rams, it’ll mean returning to Los Angeles—where they left in 1994.
The move has been endorsed by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.
“Los Angeles is the nation’s second-largest TV and radio market, and we’re thrilled to once again have two NFL teams there,” Goodell said. “We may try to generate more publicity and revenue by encouraging celebrities to attend games.”
This would most likely include actors Jack Nicholson, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Catherine Zeta-Jones, along with singer Barbra Streisand and even musician Eddie Van Halen (who was born in the Netherlands but grew up in Pasadena, Calif. and still lives near Los Angeles in Studio City).
Goodell said they even have been trying to get Jennifer Love Hewitt to attend some games, but so far the Texas-born star of Ghost Whisperer has declined. “Ms. Hewitt’s a die-hard Dallas Cowboys fan,” Goodell explained.
In a move mirroring what the New York Jets and Giants do, both L.A. teams will share a $729 million stadium being built in Anaheim, near where the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim currently play. Until the stadium is completed in 2013, the Raiders will play in the L.A. Coliseum, while the Rams will play in the Rose Bowl.
“These temporary homes are fitting,” Raiders owner Al Davis said in an exclusive interview with Bleacher Report. “The USC Trojans play in the Coliseum while the UCLA Bruins play in the Rose Bowl, and since the Raiders and Rams will once again be crosstown rivals, these temporary places will generate excitement.”
Davis added, “Maybe even some of our Oakland-based fans will travel down to the games.”
Chip Rosenbloom, majority owner of the Rams and son of the late owner Georgia Frontiere, said Los Angeles fans are certain to appreciate an NFL game available every Sunday. Whenever one team’s playing a road game, the other team will have a home game.
Fans in Oakland and St. Louis are sure to be upset about losing NFL teams again, but Davis says if he knew then what he knows now about McAfee Coliseum, where the Raiders currently play their home games, he never would’ve moved in the first place.
“Those stupid Berkeley hippies lied to me and never delivered on any of their promises,” said the brash owner. “They’ve probably been listening to too much Green Day music and not enough to reason.”
Rosenbloom, meanwhile, was apologetic to St. Louis fans.
“I’m sorry it didn’t work out long-term here in St. Louis, but that’s the way it goes,” Rosenbloom said. “Maybe they can use Edward Jones Dome as a future home should the NFL ever choose to expand. Or maybe they can use it for one of those many worldwide memorials Al Sharpton wants to have for Michael Jackson.”
Both teams will retain their team nicknames and colors. The Rams, though, plan to abandon the millennium blue and new century gold they adopted for the 2000 season and will return to the royal blue and yellow look.