Is The NFL Really Missed That Much In L.A.?

There are plenty of die-hard football fans in Southern California (that are not in San Diego) who would be happy to have an NFL team back in Los Angeles, a city that’s been without a team since both the Raiders and the Rams packed up and left town in 1994. But just as many of those die-hards (or at least the ones I know), when asked how necessary a team is to the city, say a couple of things:

  • “God, like traffic needs to be any worse for eight Sundays a year.”
  • “It’s nice having some semblance of decent games on without an expansion team to have to deal with.”
  • “They’re going to stick us with a bill for the stadium.”

In fact, it seems the only carping for a team to return to L.A. comes from the league itself and many of the local politicians, who seem to have better things to do. City councilman (and former lousy police chief) Bernard Parks is a big old advocate for using the L.A. Memorial Coliseum because he wants that money and the jobs for renovating it to help his district. Now, Sam Farmer of the L.A. Times is telling the Coliseum to give it up as a viable NFL team’s home — cut a deal with USC and get to the renovation already; the NFL has already said no to using the old stadium.


Problem is, no one’s gonna buy into a new stadium if the city gives in to the NFL and any prospective owner’s desire to have the public cough up for another monstrosity. Frankly, there’s other places that money needs to be going as far as public infrastructure goes. The city and its residents know better: so many people keep moving to L.A. with their own team loyalties, carried over and extended thanks to the Internet, cable, and Sunday Ticket, and there’s too many teams already in town to cough up half a week’s pay stub on. Why sacrifice the extra tax money and hitch a wagon to an expansion team, especially when the league probably doesn’t need to get any bigger right now? Particularly if it’s the one proposed out in the City of Industry, which isn’t near any sort of public transit? Please insert your favorite Angels nomenclature joke here; the Los Angeles something of Industry would be a running gag if that happened. What’s that you say? AEG had a proposal to build a park in downtown, near Staples? Sorry, Parks and the other politicos were too enamored of the Coliseum.

L.A. has been used by every belligerent owner as a threat for a better stadium deal at home — please see Tom Benson prior to Hurricane Katrina, and he didn’t dare consider it due to the absolute outcry post-storm — then the Saints’ resurgence in ’06 killed it. Lifting the Chargers out of San Diego isn’t likely and luring Al Davis back isn’t going to happen, no matter how nasty McAfee Coliseum gets (even after the Athletics leave.)

The NFL fans dying for a team in L.A. to call their own better hope Ralph Wilson kicks the bucket and some ownership group round there wins the bidding — but I’d say it’s safe that a fair enough amount of those die-hard, Angeleno native fans will be fine putting their Raiders and Chargers jerseys on every Sunday if that’s not the case.

More often than not you will find some columnist either rambling in print or on T.V. that L.A. isn’t a town of true sports fans or isn’t a true sports city because it doesn’t have an NFL team. Not true — most L.A. football fans are just a bit smarter about being taken for a boondoggle, despite the best efforts of the local pols.

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14 Responses

  1. I’m a big sports fan, we all know that. But I am adamantly against municipalities paying for stadiums. It’s time to start saying no to these freeloading billionaires.

  2. Here’s a deal: I’ll let Bernard Parks have his NFL team as soon as he comes clean on who ordered the hit (Suge Knight) on B.I.G., who shot B.I.G. (off-duty LAPD officer(s)), why B.I.G. was shot (to further cover for SK’s previous hit, ordered against ‘Pac), & in what way(s) the LAPD (as well Parks’s own daughter) were complicit in the assassination. Until such time as that happens — never — there will be no team in LA. None.

  3. The reason I really don’t want to see L.A. get a team is a rather selfish one: the NFL is nicely structured right now. We finally have 32 teams in 8 divisions of four apiece. Why fuck up that glorious symmetry and go back to the ugliness of days past?

    If it’s up to me, which it’s not, L.A. can have a team when it finds seven other cities who can afford one. Or it can wait until one of the existing teams gets fed up with low attendance and a disinterested fan base (*cough*Cardinals*cough*) and is looking for a more receptive home.

  4. Agree, expansion teams is too much – but relocating a team to LA? My buddy DJM is from LA, and while he’s a Colts fan right now I’m betting he wouldn’t mind having a team back in LA.

    But the problem is that football isn’t like baseball or even basketball – there are no “Marlins” or “Sonics” teams that have no fanbases that would really complain too much if they lost their team. The closest in the NFL would be the Cards. Therefore I agree, the NFL should just let LA make do without a team for now….

  5. You’re right on about the NFL in LA.

    I’ve gotten used to not having an NFL team in my life — and new stadiums should never be built with taxpayer dollars — make the owners/leagues pay for them themselves.

  6. Extra P., Gilbert – eventually, if cities start refusing to use tax money to fund the monstrosities, the owners will run out of cities to move teams. It would take a while, but maybe some of them will take a hint.

    Disco Stu – love the theory. Still wondering how Parks gets taken so seriously after running the LAPD so poorly (and he didn’t have to do much to do better, considering his predecessors.)

    Ajax – the symmetry argument is a favorite point of mine. Right now, the league has enough teams at a saturation point.

    SML – I don’t mean to say that L.A. shouldn’t ever have a team again. I just think that most of the people who would watch a team re-located to L.A. don’t want to be swindled to get it, and they shouldn’t be.

  7. The thing about L.A. is that we don’t care if we have a team, but we feel the NFL should. Let Jacksonville and Columbus and all those loser cities pay for a stadium, the NFL should be paying for a stadium just because they look stupid without a team in L.A.

  8. The only thing that makes sense is to move the Raiders. Yeah, I know it’ll never happen in Al Davis’s lifetime… so wait till he dies. The Raider fan base is already in place in LA, plus the Bay Area will still have a team. It’s a win-win all around.

    Another expansion team makes no sense.

  9. If LA gets a team that means I have to watch some awful team on the local channels instead of Colts/Pats. Which is exaclty what would have happened last week if the LA expansion team played Oakland or something.

    LA doesnt need a football team, really. USC is good enough for most of these people

    • fuck USC!!!!!!!!!!!, I hate College Football, why is USC good enough? nobody supported USC before Pete Carroll arrived

  10. The worst argument is “They already have a pro-team in USC” The Greater Los Angeles Area has 17 million people and half of them are Bruins fans. Either way, I’ve given up on a team coming to L.A. I’m 18 and in less than a year, I will have left this city for college and will have never watched a pro game in the 2nd largest city in America. But what can you do? Making tax payers pay for these stadiums is ridiculous, especially when it involved renovating the Coliseum for a greater cost than it would to build a new one. The bad thing about this is that an entire generation of football fans in L.A. have given their allegiances to other cities. I’m a 49er fan but I know Angelinos who root for 15-20 of the other teams because you just choose one when you’re 10 unless you’re a cholo and you like the RAYDURRRRRRRRRRRZ.

  11. […] get the Coliseum Commission to give up the fucking ghost and admit what the NFL said a while back: no pro team is coming to the Coliseum, so sign the 10-year deal and hand the operations over to the university, which is willing to pay […]

  12. […] absolutely no way Roski can or should ask for any sort of public funding, not in this city. Los Angeles residents don’t miss the NFL that much to foot the bill for part of a massive stadium complex and the sprawl that will go with […]

  13. Are you LA resident speak for yourself I love football and when XFL was here we had the largest fan base. Yes, I know that is not saying much because it was not the most popular league though. Yes, there are many LA football fans that would love to see true professional football in LA again. Many us are either Raiders or Chargers or 49ers fans at this time though we love to have are own team no mater who it maybe. Enough with calling USC are professional team. Who cares if Billianare backing it do you have the money to.

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