The Raiders and the Rams both fled Los Angeles in 1995, and in the subsequent 16 years, Tinseltown has gone without a football team. But finally, this dark period in the city's history may be coming to an end. This week, the L.A. City Council unanimously approved the financial framework of a deal between the city and Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) to build a $1.2 billion, 72,000-seat football stadium in downtown Los Angeles near the Lakers' Staples Center. The proposed Farmers Field is still 10 months away from being a sure thing — an environmental impact report still needs to be completed — but construction could begin as soon as June 2012, with the stadium opening in September 2016. There's one other catch: The construction project can't begin in earnest until an existing NFL team agrees to move to L.A. So if the city signs up a team, it may not have to wait for the stadium to be built — football could be coming to a temporary home like the Rose Bowl or Coliseum as soon as next season. Is it time for pigskin lovers in the City of Angels to celebrate?
They're getting closer: Things are looking good for L.A., but remember, the city still needs a team, says Ryan Hudson at SB Nation. "There is no clear plan on how the NFL would bring football back, and which team would be the one moving there." Sure, there are some likely contenders — various commentators have fingered the Raiders, Rams, Vikings, Bills, Jaguars, and Chargers as possible candidates — but it's unclear which, if any, of these teams might really be up for making the move.
"Los Angeles City Council unanimously approves financing for $1.2 billion NFL Stadium"
Signing up a team should be easy: Sure, AEG and the city seem to be betting that "if you build it, they will come," says Brad Gagnon at The Score. "But let's face it: they'll come." Plus, you've got to like that this whole project will be financed entirely by AEG and from tax and lease revenue generated by the proposed development. It's a smart bet that NFL teams will like this shiny new stadium, too — and line up to play there.
"L.A. one step closer to an NFL return"
Let's just hope it's not the Raiders: The neighboring San Diego Chargers, who already have a fan base in the area, are the most likely team to move to Los Angeles, says Bill Plaschke in the Los Angeles Times. But the Raiders are lurking in the shadows, threatening to come to town and "make a mess of everything." L.A. "may still feel like a Raiders town," but the city can no longer handle the black and silver. The Raiders were toxic, "with gangs adopting their colors and thugs roaming their stands and crazy Coliseum tailgate parties that once included the cooking of a dog." We need a fresh start, not a regression to ugliness.
"Hey Raiders, don't even think about moving back to town"