The sad truth of the NFL is that teams move from time to time. Most cities remain solid as a rock. The only thing there fans know of heartache are wins and losses. Other cities do become devoid of a team.
When this happens the betrayed fans in such cities can only sit and wait for the promise of football returning one day. For some, that day never comes.
And who does benefit from losing a team, the owners and, of course, the people in the teams final destination.
However, this doesn't happen on a whim. Aging facilities, poor revenue streams, and little fan interest all factor in to a franchises departure.
Lets take a look at the Top 10 NFL Team Moves that caused the most pain and suffering.
Give yourself a gold star if you can locate these towns on the map. For those of you who don't know, Decatur is a small city in the middle of Illinois and Portsmouth is on Ohio's southern border with Kentucky.
The Portsmouth Spartans moved to become the Detroit Lions in 1933. There was a feeling of detachment in the town but not since football wasn't as popular back then the mood quickly faded. Not to mention the team was only 5 years old, far too young to build deep roots.
What about Decatur? Please, for them it was like moving down the street. You now know the Decatur Staleys as the mighty Chicago Bears, Monsters of the Midway!
If anything, the general consensus was that they should be playing in a major city that the town already identified with.
Final Verdict: "When location matters"
Speaking of the Windy City, have you ever heard of the Cardinals? Trust me, this won't be the last time you hear about them on this list.
Believe it or not, the Cardinals are actually the oldest official NFL team (estd. 1898). The team poked their head around the Chicago area for a few years then, after 40 years old trying to compete with the Bears, they split town for Missouri.
In that time the Carinals won 2 championships, the Bears won 7. The sibling rivalry was too much for the redheaded birds. Long story short, fan support was low (refer to LA Lakers fans vs LA Clippers fans) and they flew away. No pun intended. The eventually settled in Arizona.
Final Verdict: they sure do love Da Bears in Chi-town
Boston, one of America's premiere sports cities. Bean Town was on the map way before this great decade of theirs.
The Boston Redskins were run by a wild owner much like Al Davis, whatever he wanted is what he got. You'd think he had it all where he was, not the case. There was a lot of things of the mind of the Boston sports fan and football wasn't one of them.
The Boston Bruins helped make up the original six of the NHL and won the Stanley Cup in 1929. If that wasn't enough, the 'Skins also had to go up against the heart of soul of Boston, the beloved Red Sox. You guessed it, little fan support.
The creation of the Boston Celtics and their subsequent dynasty helped keep New England happy all the way up to the day when a football team returned, calling themselves the Patriots.
Final Verdict: Great football was worth the wait, right Tom Brady?
What the heck are you talking about? The Cardinals are still in St. Louis, they play baseball in Busch Sta....oh, the football team.
It's been mentioned that the Cardinals are the NFL's oldest team, they are also the biggest laughing stock as well and they really lived up to their billing in St. Louis.
The team posted records as ugly as their uniforms. They did have some pretty good teams but still failed to win a single post season game while they played there.
The franchises ownership remains terrible to this day but they did realize the potential of the untapped market of Phoenix, AZ.
Final Verdict: life long Cardinals fans for two weeks
The Dallas Texans shared the Cotton Bowl with the NFL's cross-town competition Dallas Cowboys for three seasons.
While the team averaged a league-best 24,500 at the Cotton Bowl, the Texans gained less attention due to the league's relatively unknown existence. In the franchise's first two seasons, the team managed only a 14–14 record.
In their third season, the Texans strolled to an 11–3 record and a berth in the team's first American Football League Championship Game against the Houston Oilers, winning 20–17 in double overtime.
Despite having a championship team in the Texans and a Cowboys team that managed only a 9–28–3 record in their first three seasons, the Dallas–Fort Worth media market could not sustain two professional football franchises. Hunt became interested in moving the Texans to either Atlanta, Georgia or Miami, Florida for the 1963 season.
Mayor of Kansas City Harold Roe Bartle extended an invitation to Hunt to move the Texans to Missouri. Bartle promised to triple the franchise's season ticket sales and expand seats at Municipal Stadium to accommodate the team.
Final Verdict: They retained America's Team and that's good enough
Going once, going twice, and sold on THREE separate occasions, that is the legacy that the NFL has endured in Los Angeles.
The Chargers, Raiders and Rams had all played there for a period of time. Each is now in a different city.
After World War II, the Rams found a new home in the LA Coliseum after leaving Cleveland. 1946 was the same year Cleveland got the Browns, this will be relevant as the list goes on, but back to Los Angeles. They were an instant hit and rather successful.
The Chargers spent all but their first year in Hollywood before heading a little further south to San Diego. The Raiders only lasted 13 seasons before returning to Oakland.
But the promise of stadium renovations to the LA Coliseum never came and one by one, the teams left. Bitter Raiders owner Al Davis crawled back to Oakland hat in hand while Rams owner Georgia Frontiere moved the team to her hometown of St. Louis, Missouri.
Final Verdict: The town doesn't have room for the NFL. The Lakers are the best show in town. If LA needs their football fix they look no further than the USC Trojans who are closest thing to pro's as you'll find in the NCAA.
Love Ya Blue! The Houston Oilers were one of the founding teams of the old AFL and won the now-defunct leagues' first two championships.
In the early 1990's, Adams lobbied the city for a new stadium—one with club seats and other revenue generators present in recently built NFL stadiums.
However, mayor Bob Lanier turned him down almost out of hand. Houston residents were wary of investing more money on a stadium so soon after the Astrodome improvements, and the city was still struggling to recover from the oil collapse of the 1980s.
Adams, sensing that he was not going to get the stadium he wanted, began shopping the Oilers to other cities. At the end of the 1995 season, Adams announced that the Oilers would be moving to Nashville. City officials there promised to contribute $144 million toward a new stadium.
At that point, support for the Oilers all but disappeared. Houstonians wanted to keep the team but did not want to give Bud Adams any more money for what he did.
The 1996 season was a disaster for the Oilers. They played before crowds of less than 20,000 and games were so quiet that it was possible to hear conversations on the field from the grandstand.
After the season, the city agreed to let Adams out of his lease a year early, allowing Adams to move the Oilers to Tennessee.
Final Verdict: Football returned in 2002, but it didn't really return...if you know what I mean.
Prior to the 1980 season, Al Davis attempted unsuccessfully to have improvements made to Oakland Coliseum, specifically the addition of luxury boxes.
That year, he signed a Memorandum of Agreement to move the Raiders from Oakland to Los Angeles. The move, which required three-fourths approval by league owners, was defeated 22–0 (with five owners abstaining).
When Davis tried to move the team anyway, he was blocked by an injunction. In response, the Raiders not only became an active partner in an antitrust lawsuit filed by the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, but filed an antitrust lawsuit of their own.
After the first case was declared a mistrial, in May 1982 a second jury found in favor of Davis and the Los Angeles Coliseum, clearing the way for the move.
With the ruling, the Raiders finally relocated to Los Angeles for the 1982 season to play their home games at the Los Angeles Coliseum.
Final Verdict: Al Davis gets what he wants, fan support meant little to him.The plus side was the Raiders eventually returned to Oakland.
"If it could happen here, it could happen anywhere."
the Cleveland Browns home, Municipal Stadium, was falling apart. Then-owner Art Modell wanted a new facility to keep up with the modern stadiums of the league.
In the early 1990's Cleveland was going through a construction boom. The Rock n' Roll HoF and a new science museum were constructed. The other professional teams of the city were built new homes.
The Cavaliers got the Gund Arena (now Quicken Loans Arena). The Indians got Jacob (now Progressive) Field, leaving the Browns to pick up the bill at the old Municipal Stadium by themselves.
On November 6, 1995, with the team sitting at 3-4, Modell announced that he had signed a deal to relocate the Browns to Baltimore, Maryland in 1996—a move which would return the NFL to Baltimore for the first time since the Baltimore Colts relocated to Indianapolis, Indiana after the 1983 season.
The very next day, Cleveland voters overwhelmingly approved the aforementioned tax issue to remodel Cleveland Stadium. It was too late.
Two owners did vote against the Browns relocating, one of which was rival Pittsburgh Steelers owner Dan Rooney. The Dawg Pound rioted during the final game as fans exited Municipal Stadium for the last time.
In the settlement, the city of Cleveland got to keep the Browns name, colors, and history as well as the promise of a new franchise in 1999.
Final Verdict: It was painful but it could have been prevented, every team in Cleveland was getting a new stadium, every team accept the Browns.
Trust me, Modell didn't move the team on a whim just to screw the city, he made a hard financial decision with his back against the wall. Whose really to blame here?
In 1983, when relations with the city of Baltimore and then-owner Robert Irsay were strained, the mayor approved $15 million dollars to be put forth to renovate the Colts home, Memorial Stadium.
Irsay was thinking bigger, he wanted a new stadium with luxury boxes and better seating. It was during this time that Indianapolis developers were lobbying the NFL for an expansion team to fill their newly constructed RCA Dome.
Even though Irsay vehemently denied shopping the team around, plans leaked out that he visited the RCA Dome on several occasions.
When the news reached Baltimore, the Maryland legislature was moving to seize ownership of the Colts by eminent domain.
The city of Indianapolis, upon hearing the news, offered the Colts a $12,500,000 million loan, $4,000,000 training complex and use of the $77.5 million, 57,980 seat RCA dome.
Robert Irsay stated the move was a "direct result" of the eminent domain bill. team council Michael Chirnoff said "They not only threw down the gauntlet, but they put a gun to his head and cocked it and asked, 'Want to see if it's loaded?"
After Irsay agreed to the deal, the Indianapolis Mayor called John B. Smith, his friend, neighbor and chief executive officer of Mayflower Transit, and 15 trucks were dispatched to the team's Owings Mills, Maryland training complex at 2:00 AM on March 29 because it was feared the franchise would be seized early the following morning.
Workers loaded all of the team's belongings and the trucks left for Indianapolis. By 10:00 AM, the Colts were completely gone from Baltimore. Each of the Mayflower trucks took a slightly different route on the way to Indianapolis.
This was done to confuse the Maryland police, who could've been called on to put a stop to the move. Once each van was at the Indiana state line, it was met by Indiana state troopers, who escorted each van to the Colts new home in Indianapolis. Talk about a dagger to the heart.
Final Verdict: Baltimore was ready to give the Colts everything only to have their team taken away in the middle of the night.
Imagine waking up on Christmas Day, walking downstairs and realizing you had been robbed while you slept. That is the pain Baltimore lives with to this day.