It has been 20 years since Los Angeles last staked claim to an NFL team, but the league appears to be taking steps toward making L.A. a pro football hotbed once again.
According to Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times, the NFL has assigned executive vice president Eric Grubman to "stadium development, the return of a team presence to the Los Angeles area, the league's strategic investment fund, and other key strategic initiatives."
Not only does bringing a team back to L.A. make sense due to the size of the market, but Grubman sees plenty of opportunities for a new stadium as well, per Farmer: "The building blocks are there. There remain multiple sites available. So the focus is demanded."
When will the NFL return to Los Angeles?
L.A. certainly seems to have everything the NFL could possibly want in a city, but there have been a great deal of stumbling blocks over the years.
The failure to come up with a stadium plan is chief among them, which is why it makes sense for the NFL to have Grubman explore that situation. Doing so essentially removes all doubt and makes it crystal clear that the NFL wants an L.A. franchise in the near future.
Farmer points out that the St. Louis Rams, the Oakland Raiders and the San Diego Chargers are all on year-to-year leases, making them potential candidates to make the move.
If the NFL doesn't go in that direction, though, well-known NFL agent and Forbes contributor Leigh Steinberg believes that expansion is the way to go.
I have never favored ripping teams out of the heart of a loyal fan base. Professional teams are not purely private businesses—they ask for the loyalty of fans as if they were quasi-civic treasures. Only if they cannot stay in business, should they be allowed to move. So I would advocate expansion. ... Southern California could support two franchises as it does with baseball, basketball, and hockey.
The fact that the Southern California area has multiple franchises in every other major American sport makes it even more mind-boggling that the NFL still hasn't found a way to get back into the market.
Ever since the Rams and the Raiders left in 1994, it has been assumed that it was a matter of when rather than if the NFL would come back to L.A.
It still hasn't happened 20 years later, but NFL commissioner Roger Goodell's intentions are clear now that he has placed one of his right-hand men in a role specifically meant to explore the viability of an NFL franchise in L.A.
There is no telling when it might happen, but one can only assume that it is a matter of time before NFL football returns to the City of Angels.
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