Ah yes. Much like death, taxes and cheesy reality shows on FOX, so comes along a story of yet another potential suitor, looking to return the NFL to Los Angeles.
It was reported last week that the San Diego City Attorney's office had warned, in a letter to an ownership group looking to bring the NFL back to LA, that any publicity about a potential move from San Diego could hurt ticket sales for the upcoming season.
Apparently, the Chargers announced that the Anschutz Entertainment Group had contacted them to gauge their interest in moving to a 64,000-seat stadium the group hopes to build on the edge of downtown Los Angeles.
The Chargers have a lease with the city of San Diego until the year 2020, but have an out clause for December 1 of this year, provided certain criteria are met.
Of course, the Chargers management is spewing the typical spiel about being "focused on fielding a winning team and finding a publicly acceptable way to become economically competitive in San Diego for many years to come,'' blah, blah, blah, etc., etc.
Now, while I don't really want to get into the specifics of the whole San Diego moving north to LA issue, it does make me wonder what it is with that city that there is this seemingly dire need to place another football team there.
Now, I have to ask – and perhaps I'm the only one that feels this way – but, hasn't it pretty much been determined that Los Angeles is the Fredo Corleone of the NFL? I mean, what can you say about a city that has lost not one, mind you, but two NFL teams. Granted, though the owners of said franchises have both been rumored to be playing with less than full decks at times – a rumor that you will never hear this scribe dispute – the fact remains that La-La land has La-La-lost the NFL twice – and twice within the span of a year to boot.
Yeah, yeah – I know that LA is the second biggest television market and all that, but so what? That's like saying that just because Mike Tyson is the biggest draw in professional boxing that he deserves a title shot and, uh . . . oh, um, nevermind.
Anyhow, for the sake of the argument let's just pretend that we're going to put a team back in Tinseltown. Immediately, one major question comes to mind - should the opportunity present itself, where does said team come from?
Aside from the aforementioned team in San Diego, what other current franchises could you possibly move? The most viable candidate – attendance-wise – is Arizona, who in 2001 averaged a league-low 38,414 (though the Chargers only finished five spots better – 26th overall – with an average home attendance of 59,355). And, while I'm sure that the prospect of having a perennial top-five team (in the draft, that is) might be enticing to some, I can't envision Jack Nicholson or Dyan Cannon passing up their Lakers tickets for that.
As an aside, I just have to say that if the fans in Arizona can't even muster a paltry 40,000 asses in Sun Devil Stadium for eight Sundays a year, then perhaps they don't deserve a team. Heck, good ol' Municipal Stadium had 70,000-plus every Sunday for years, but that didn't keep Honey's dad from packing up and moving to Baltimore, did it?
Then of course, there's the possibility of still more expansion. With a 32nd team set and ready to begin their first season of play this fall in Houston, you can't very well justify adding a new one (not to mention the – at least – one more you'll need to balance out the league). Let's face it, the talent pool in the NFL – as in every other sport that has over-expanded in the last 10-plus years – is horribly diluted. When "He Hate Me" is cracking an NFL roster, you know something is horribly wrong out there.
Who knows, though? While I can't imagine expansion as a viable alternative, you just hate to see teams picking up and moving, regardless of how crappy the fan base may be. I guess having the team you rooted for since you exited the womb stolen from you for no particular reason other than one man's own greed and/or stupidity makes one a little more sensitive to the issue.
Finally – and this may just be my own opinion – but does California really need another pro sports franchise? Aside from the three NFL teams already there, you have five major league baseball teams, four NBA teams and two NHL teams. And that's not even counting the WNBA or the myriad of minor-league squads that call sunny California home. Personally, I can think of a handful of cities that deserve an NFL franchise more than a two-time, two-time failure like Los Angeles (Portland, Oregon and Cincinnati immediately come to mind).
Hell, I'd rather see the NFL try their luck in Canada and put a team in Toronto before they throw another team out in LA.
All in all, I guess it really doesn't matter. It seems like no matter which way you turn, there's going to be another group looking to bring the NFL back to LA, and I imagine there will continue to be until one of them is successful. Is it the end of the world? No, of course not. There are certainly more important things in the world to worry about than the plight of the NFL's vacancy in Hollywood, but sometimes it just makes me scratch my head and wonder.
The funny thing is, with all of these random groups coming along and trying to get a team back there, you rarely, if ever, hear "Joe Football Fan" out in LA complaining all that much, do you?
Just some food for thought . . . hope you enjoy.