NFL eyes return to Los Angeles

The National Football League may be on its way back to the city of angels—or at least to the suburbs of angels. The Inglewood City Council approved a $2 billion plan to build an 80,000 seat stadium by a vote of 5-0. One of the partners on the plan is St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke.

The NFL hasn’t had a team in Los Angeles since 1994. After that season, both the St. Louis Rams—then playing in Anaheim—and then-Los Angeles Raiders packed up and moved to different cities. Since then, the closest thing to an NFL team that L.A. has had has been the University of Southern California Trojans. To be fair, they did give illegal benefits to players, so they were sort of a professional team.

Assuming that the Rams leave St. Louis, the stadium in Inglewood would only be the home of the Rams. A half-hour drive away in Carson, California, a ballot initiative was drafted to build a stadium for the Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers to share—much like the New York Giants and New York Jets do at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

Although two teams sharing a stadium is not unprecedented, three professional sports teams in the same city in the same league is––at least in recent memory. The most notable example of this happening is from the first half of the 20th century when the New York Yankees, New York Giants and Brooklyn Dodgers all shared the Big Apple in Major League Baseball.

The return of pro football to Los Angeles is largely due to these stadiums being built in the suburbs. Downtown Los Angeles, the site of the L.A. Coliseum, is a hot bed of gang violence. In the documentary Straight Outta L.A., members of the rap group N.W.A described how they adopted Raiders apparel to put on for their home.

“We wanted to represent where we was from,” Lorenzo Patterson––better known as MC Ren of N.W.A––said. “So we started wearing more and more Raiders shit.” Compton, the city that N.W.A originated from, is about 20 minutes away from Inglewood and Carson.

One overlooked aspect of Los Angeles re-entering the NFL fold is that it is no longer a bargaining chip for league executives. In previous years, the NFL has threatened to force teams like the Buffalo Bills to move to L.A. if they couldn’t improve their current stadiums. Now, the NFL will have to pick a new city to threaten teams with.

Regardless of what the NFL does, the cities of Inglewood and Carson will see a big economic boom because of these stadiums. San Diego, Oakland and St. Louis aren’t fit to hold an NFL team in their current stadiums. Although the stadium in Carson is not finalized, I would expect a stadium to be built there in the next decade. One thing is certain, however: the Rams are going going, back back, to Cali Cali.