The Los Angeles Chargers and Los Angeles Rams are reportedly preparing plans for practicing and playing home games outside California after Santa Clara County informed the San Francisco 49ers they couldn't operate in the county amid rising COVID-19 concerns.
Yahoo Sports' Charles Robinson reported Friday the NFL has "had communications" with both the Chargers and Rams, who play in Los Angeles County, about a possible rapid relocation. The Niners have moved to Arizona and will host the Buffalo Bills at the Cardinals' State Farm Stadium on Monday night.
A source provided further details to Robinson about the evolving situation:
"[NFL] operations may not be able to continue [in California] soon and considering where we're at in the schedule, dramatic changes like the 49ers' relocation of operations could encompass the remainder of the season. That could be the case for all of the teams [in California]. The situation is being monitored and how it will impact the rest of the season is a little fluid right now. But the best thing everyone can do is just prepare for any eventuality."
Los Angeles County hasn't surpassed the COVID-19 thresholds necessary for the higher level of restrictions that include a ban on contact sports, but rising infection and hospitalization rates in L.A. could cause that to change "possibly as early as next week," per Robinson.
Both the Chargers and Rams play at the newly opened SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California. They each have three home games remaining on their regular-season schedules.
- Dec. 6 vs. New England Patriots
- Dec. 13 vs. Atlanta Falcons
- Dec. 27 vs. Denver Broncos
- Dec. 10 vs. New England Patriots
- Dec. 20 vs. New York Jets
- Jan. 3 vs. Arizona Cardinals
If the L.A. teams are forced to relocate, the NFL may have to make further schedule adjustments to finish the campaign on time after multiple coronavirus-related adjustments in recent weeks.
Robinson noted both teams are seeking "backup plans that could include the use of another NFL facility in neighboring states."
Besides the Cardinals, other teams in the western United States include the Denver Broncos, Las Vegas Raiders and Seattle Seahawks. The Dallas Cowboys, Houston Texans, Kansas City Chiefs, Minnesota Vikings and New Orleans Saints are additional options if moving more toward the central U.S. is put on the table.