To the extent that anyone is discussing the NFL in Los Angeles this week, they are talking about two things: (1) their fantasy football teams, which I could care less about, and (2) the increasing likelihood that an NFL team will be playing in L.A. in the near future, which I do care about because I live in L.A. and would love to see a few games in person every season.
Early speculation was that the Vikings might be the team to relocate here. But, even without a new stadium deal in place for next season, the Vikings ownership has already nixed that idea.
There was speculation about the Bills and Jaguars, but neither seems likely because of the prohibitively costly penalties for breaking their current leases.
The Rams were on the radar, but now appear to be off.
Focus then shifted to the Chargers, whose efforts to secure a new stadium in San Diego have been as futile as they are well-documented. But a recent tiff between AEG, the group that wishes to build a new stadium in downtown L.A., and the Chargers lawyers suggests that will be a difficult partnership.
So who else would be a target for a move to Los.Angeles?
The Oakland Raiders, formerly the Los Angeles Raiders (formerly the Oakland Raiders), that’s who.
And what is the response of the overwhelming majority of Los Angeles citizens who care? It’s a three-word response: “Please, God, no.”
Sure, there are still plenty of die-hard Raiders fans here in L.A. If you’d like to see them in person, you can just go to the Southwest Airlines terminal at LAX on a Sunday morning when the Raiders are playing at home and you can see an oddly dressed, face-painted group of people boarding the L.A.-to-Oakland flight. Or you can go to the Southwest terminal at Oakland airport later that same day to find the same crowd, only now inebriated and their face paint smeared like the mascara of a teenage girl stood up for the prom.
Those fans can continue to cheer for the Raiders all they want. But understand this — they need to do it from a distance. If someone is going to build a $750 million stadium in Los Angeles, it’s not going to be for Al Davis, his consistently mediocre (but always very fast!) team and their occasionally frightening, occasionally dangerous fans. No, it’s going to be for a team without those image problems and with a recognizable face to put on billboards.
The Rams and Sam Bradford? Check.
The Chargers and Philip Rivers? Check.
The Raiders and Terrelle Pryor? No, thanks.