A new NFL season has kicked off once again and with it brings hope and promise for all 32 teams who are all fighting for the ultimate prize in the NFL; a Superbowl trophy. There are many different story lines coming into this season. Will the Baltimore Ravens be able to repeat as Superbowl champions? Will Adrian Peterson be able to come through on his promise of rushing for 2,500 yards this season?
But one of the more under the radar topics being brought up again this season is will the NFL ever have a team in Los Angeles ever again?
Los Angeles is the largest city in the country not to have a professional football team right now and since the Rams and Raiders left in 1995 to their respective cities; St. Louis and Oakland; Los Angeles has been without a professional football team.
But one team owner who is very optimistic about the NFL moving a team to Los Angeles sometime in the near future is Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones. “I feel more imminent about a team being in here, that it’s more imminent than any time since we haven’t had a team in Los Angeles” Jones said when the Cowboys opened up training camp this past summer in Oxford, California. Jones also went on to say that “The owner’s don’t mess up much but we haven’t gotten this one right. There’s people, there’s locations, there are people that are interested, a lot of people that can help put this thing together.”
One person that is trying to help move a team to the L.A. area is Los Angeles councilman Tom LaBonge who has already begun writing letters to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell urging him to bring back a team to the largest city in the country without an NFL team. In a recent press release by councilman LaBonge, he stated “We’ve waited far too long to root for the home team. Our collective excitement for the new NFL season is dampened by Los Angeles’s lack of a team”.
There are other signs of significant progress of possibly moving a team to Los Angeles because last year the Los Angeles City Council approved a proposal to build Farmers Field downtown that would enable a team to move to the city. This new stadium is going to be located in downtown L.A. and is expected to be finished by 2016.
There are some major obstacles though that the NFL and other L.A. city council members who are strongly for moving a team to the L.A. area must deal with. One of the major hurdles is L.A. mayor Eric Garcetti.
In a recent interview for the Los Angeles Times, Garcetti said “I think having the NFL in Los Angeles is a priority, but I also know that a lot of people have strived for a long time. And we’ve been very clear that we won’t do ‘anything’ to have the NFL.”
Garcetti is by no means opposed to having a team back in Los Angeles but he has mentioned over and over again that it will be on the city of Los Angeles’s, Garcetti’s, and individual team owners terms. ““I’d love to have a team, and I think it’s important for us to grow our ties to the NFL. They want to be here. But this really comes down to the individual decisions of team owners.”
One thing that will help give evidence to the L.A. Council and other NFL team owners that the NFL should move a team back to Los Angeles is the successful history of the teams that once called the city of L.A. home. The first team that called Los Angeles home was the Rams who are now located in St. Louis.
From 1949-1955, the Los Angeles Rams appeared in 4 NFL Championship games and one NFL Championship in 1951, they won seven straight NFC West division championships from 1973-1979, and appeared in their first Superbowl in 1979. While the Rams were still playing in L.A., they had another team come to town.
The Raiders had great success in the city as well. They won a division title in 1985, won Superbowl XVIII,and they hired the first African American coach Art Shell in 1989. The Raiders also drafted Bo Jackson who is know as one of the greatest athletes of all time and dazzled fans during is time with the Raiders.
Looking at the history of the NFL in Los Angeles and the overwhelming excitement of NFL fans in Los Angeles to have a team back in their city, It seems possible the NFL will move a team back sooner than later.
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