In a continuation of Sport Change’s Are You Ready for Some Football? blast, we’ll be exploring several scenarios related to bringing football back to the city of Los Angeles, California. For this post, we’ll be looking at the aforementioned “Vision of Reversion.”
There’s no need for us to go into any kind of depth about why LA should have an NFL team. It’s something that folks have been lamenting and clamoring for since the Raiders and Rams left town in 1995. It’s taken the second largest megalopolis in the country that long to get their ducks in a row. Over the last couple of years, however, there has been enough serious discussion and serious proposals that the only thing standing in the way of a team in LA is…well, a team.
Expansion is not a realistic option. The NFL already stretches the talent pool with 32 teams–that’s two more than the other major sports leagues. 32 is a nice number that facilitates the NFL’s divisional alignment; easily the best of all the major sports. Roger Goodell has alluded to expansion to 40 teams–adding a team to each division–but that is overambitious and unlikely to happen anytime soon. As painful as it is for fans to see a team leave town, that is exactly what will happen in the next few years.
In upcoming posts, we’ll dissect teams that are most ready to move and play with a few scenarios, but for now, we’re focusing on a Sport Change Vision of Reversion (VOR) wherein the team that moves (reverts) to Los Angeles is none other than the St. Louis Rams.
Filling the Vacuum in LA
The Rams return to LA, the city they fled for Anaheim and then St. Louis. Old Rams fans rejoice and pull their moth-bitten Merlin Olsen jerseys out of the closet. Though there has been talk of two teams moving to LA, in this scenario the whole city gets behind the charging Rams.
Filling the Vacuum in St. Louis
St. Louis is a good sports city that deserves a team in all major sports. With the Rams leaving town, the Bidwells up and decide to move the Cardinals back to St. Louis. Though they were originally the Chicago Cardinals, I think that St. Louis is where they belong–a welcome compliment to the St. Louis baseball Cardinals. The Gateway city is satisfied.
Filling the Vacuum in Phoenix
Phoenix has done a good job of showing that they are a major city well capable of supporting professional sports teams. We’ll ignore the NHL’s Coyotes because it was a bad idea to bring hockey to the desert in the first place. So what team goes to Arizona? For this scenario, I say that it should be the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Jags are relatively new and this is a retro revert. In the early nineties, the nondescript city of Jacksonville somehow managed to beat out Memphis, Baltimore, and St. Louis for an expansion team, despite the fact that Florida was already hosting two other NFL teams in Miami and Tampa. All of those locations (more or less) got their NFL teams, but it was at the expense of LA. Granting St. Louis an expansion franchise should’ve been the choice rather than compelling them to leave LA. J-Ville has pretty much proven itself unworthy of supporting a pro sports team, so we move the Jags to Arizona. As far as brand goes, nothing pops out to me. Javelinas would be kind of cool, but that’s not a pro team name. I think we choose the name that St. Louis wanted to use in the nineties: we’ll call them the Arizona Stallions.
So there’s one scenario. At the end of the day, Jacksonville has moved to Los Angeles and a few teams have changed their name. This scenario would be deeply satisfying to many people–just not those in Jacksonville and maybe those in Phoenix.
We’ll look at some more LA relocation scenarios very soon. Feel free to comment.