RAMS RETURNING TO LOS ANGELES
houston» The St. Louis Rams are moving back to Los Angeles, and the San Diego Chargers will have the option to join them in a compromise approved by NFL owners Tuesday night.
The Oakland Raiders, who also wanted to move to the area, could take the Chargers’ spot if they stay in San Diego, commissioner Roger Goodell said.
The Chargers and Raiders wanted to share a new stadium in Carson, Calif., and the Rams wanted to move to nearby Inglewood, but neither option got the 24 votes needed for approval. After a day of negotiations in Houston, the owners approved the St. Louis move 30-2, with a first option for San Diego to share the $1.8 billion stadium Rams owner Stan Kroenke is building in Inglewood.
The decision ends the NFL’s 21-year absence from the nation’s second-largest media market.
“I often said over those 21 years what we need is a great facility,” Goodell said. “The reason the two teams left in the 1990s … was they didn’t have an adequate stadium. I think what happened over the last years is we had two outstanding opportunities. Both of these stadium projects were outstanding.”
The Chargers and Raiders can continue to negotiate with their home cities, and the league will contribute $100 million if either team builds a new stadium in their current markets.
“I will be working over the next several weeks to explore the options that we have now created for ourselves to determine the best path forward for the Chargers,” chairman Dean Spanos said.
Ray Perez, a 28-year-old Raiders fan from Sacramento who goes by the moniker Dr. Death, traveled to the Houston meeting in his usual Black Hole garb, was cautiously optimistic after hearing the news.
“I will not be completely, fully thrilled until the ink dries on paper and we know we’re staying in Oakland in a new stadium,” Perez said. “I’m very happy, very happy. But I’m not going to be overjoyed until we sign a stadium deal to keep the Raiders in Oakland with our own stadium.”
The Chargers play 120 miles southeast of Inglewood at Qualcomm Stadium. The Raiders played in Los Angeles from 1982-94 and currently split a facility with baseball’s Athletics. It is the last remaining NFL-MLB stadium.
“Relocation is a painful process. It’s painful for the fans, for the communities, for the league in general,” Goodell said. “In some ways a bittersweet moment, because we were unable to get the kind of facilities done we wanted in their markets.”
The Rams — based in the L.A. area from 1946-94 — will play in a temporary facility — probably the Los Angeles Coliseum — until the new stadium is ready for the 2019 season.
“Today, with the NFL returning home, Los Angeles cements itself as the epicenter of the sports world,” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said in a statement. “We cannot wait to welcome the Rams, and perhaps others, soon.”
No NFL franchise has moved since the Houston Oilers went to Tennessee in 1997. The Raiders and Rams both left Los Angeles after the 1994 season.
Footnote. Cincinnati Bengals defensive backs coach Vance Joseph, a former University of Colorado player, was hired as the Miami Dolphins’ defensive coordinator under new coach Adam Gase.
Hollywood Park Land Company executive Chris Meany unveils an architectural rendering of a proposed NFL stadium in Inglewood, Calif. Nick Ut, The Associated Press