Days Of Relocation Different Now

Rumors about the Vikings' chances to move to Los Angeles continue to swirl, but the landscape of the NFL has changed since franchises just picked up and moved without recourse.

All the recent talk about an existing team moving or being groomed for relocation to the Los Angeles football market has come full circle within the past six weeks. Once again, Red McCombs, a transplanted Texan, has attempted to take center stage of the NFL world.

There is not a doubt that the NFL is looking to gain momentum in its quest to place a team in Los Angeles -- the second largest market appears primed to gain exposure once again. This time the ball has been placed in the hands of the Minnesota Vikings and San Diego Chargers, as both teams are considered leading candidates to pack up the moving vans and head to Beverly. Okay, maybe not Beverly, but to a new, cozy renovated home for a football team in sunny California.

While the Chargers remain the frontrunner in the derby of franchise free agency, the Vikings are Cardinals remain in the picture, a clouded one that the league has spun into the behind-the-scenes poker game. One problem with the scenario is that the league is running the game. It is the dealer and the game is being played on its table. The situation is quite different from the occurrences of teams jumping ship on their communities, only to move into a brand new venture full of promises and renewed hope.

How much has the game changed? The man that orchestrated the Cleveland Browns' move to Baltimore in 1995, Andy Moog, now heads a committee to seek, identify, and negotiate the potential target team to land in Los Angeles. Once considered an evil entity in the league, Moog's existence tells one frightening tale. Want more money? Need luxury boxes? Forget about history and heritage, the NFL wants you in Los Angeles.

While league personnel will stand and staunchly state that they do not want teams to leave their respective communities, the league will claim that a community fan base will not be left in the cold without a team if the team is supported. For the Vikings and the league, it is time to dump the false statements being spewed and discuss the options of the organizations that have been targeted and spoken about in almost every rumor leaked out by the league in regards to the Los Angeles area football desires.

The Vikings are a target, whether the league, the media or the owner of the team will admit to such a legal and moral issue. The Vikings' stadium lease is strong, a significant financial penalty would be forthcoming for an attempt to move or negate the lease, but in the money game of the NFL, a move is possible. The owners in the NFL are strongly against expansion, which would be another avenue to place a team in the Los Angeles market. Team ownership groups are already complaining about the number of teams in the league, and they also have issues with the watered-down depth and talent available.

With billions of dollars to invest, a few hundred million is a small amount to pay to secure a franchise in the Los Angeles market.

Smart money says that the Vikings remain in Minnesota. Smarter money says that a new owner may be only a phone call away, as McCombs begins to realize that his money bags will not be filled by orchestrating a move to Los Angeles if many owners in the league have their way.

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