In the events before and right after the epic New England Patriots’ comeback in Superbowl 51, the buzz surrounding the NFL has not ceased.
On January 12, just a few weeks before the big game, the Chargers announced that the team would be moving to Los Angeles. Most fans and reporters don’t have the complete picture as to why, but are left to pick up the pieces.
The move came 364 days (January 13, 2016) after the announcement that the St. Louis Rams would be moving back to Los Angeles, the city they relocated from in April 1995 after playing there for 49 years.
The Raiders quickly followed suit, as they moved to back to Oakland two months after the Rams decided to up and leave. Now they are moving out to Las Vegas, where the expansion NHL franchise, the Vegas Golden Knights is set to play out its inaugural season in early October.
Rams owner, Stan Kroenke, is a St. Louis businessman, and most fans thought that the ties to home would keep the team in the city on the Mississippi River. However, stadium rights, a botched proposal for a new stadium and the economy of the city were not enough to sustain the team for long enough.
For football fans in St. Louis, this would be the second time a team had left them behind. In 1988, the Cardinals relocated to Arizona.
But I have a question about all of this noise going on with these relocations: Why are they going back to a place they used to play at, knowing why they left in the first place?
The football fan in me immediately wants to blame ownership for all of these moves. As a Washington Redskins fan myself, I find that their owner, Dan Snyder has not done much good for the franchise since he purchased the team after the death of the previous owner, Jack Kent Cooke in the late 1990s. Concession prices and terrible traffic are all that is left behind, but that is beside the point.
People are very angry about these teams moving while owners leave their fans behind.
Just ask this Chargers fan how he feels:
However, I come from the understanding that business, especially ones on such a scale, dealing in the billions of dollars, can be a fickle and divisive venture. After all, we are talking about money being tossed around that can equate to most countries’ GDP for a decade or more. There is a reason why California by itself has one of the biggest economies on the planet.
The LA area has also been known by most to be the second biggest media market, so that helps in the publicity department. Potential money pot for the Chargers and Rams.
For those that are still fans of the Chargers, Rams and Raiders, I commend you for your bravery. I have never experienced a relocation of the franchise I love before.
There is the fact that they are gone, long gone even, but it still lends the to fact that some people can’t afford to pay for the gas and/or the season ticket prices to go to these games eight weeks out of the year.
Good news for people in LA and Las Vegas, bad news for those in San Diego and St. Louis.
How many more times will these teams move before they make fans in each city angry and give up on their football teams?
St. Louis has been kicked in the gut twice now, they are angry that they had yet another professional sports team taken from them.
For those in the STL, they took out their anger by chanting “Kroenke sucks!” at a St. Louis Blues NHL hockey game: Can’t say I blame them.
It’s like you had a girlfriend dump you for some dweeb out west and spat at you on the way out. You don’t want anything to do with them, but yet you can’t let go of the memories you had of them (or a football team in this case).
The biggest overall thing that I have come to understand about these moves is that most people are afraid that the NFL in allowing these teams to leave their cities in record time, would shake up the stability of certain markets and the parity of teams in the NFL. It doesn’t seem fair to have fans suffer for the sake of making an extra dollar or two off of new fans.
History has told us that having two teams in Los Angeles could work, but when will the line be crossed where too much money is being spent? These types of things are what sports fans have nightmares over.
The dominion of sports is a powerful thing. It has the power to instill passion and hope in people that wouldn’t otherwise have either of those things. It can get people out of tough spots in their life and teach several life lessons. Sports fans like us live for the big moments in those big games during the year, playoffs included. We hope that one day, a championship will be had by our team.
The unfortunate part of all of this over the past couple of months, is that these fans from San Diego and St. Louis have been deprived of future happy memories of winning and all the highs and lows in between and all of the things I mentioned above. Both cities have other sports teams to root for, but it doesn’t change the fact that there are two empty fan bases that are now searching for answers.