Like a grade school crush who strings you along for attention and lunch money, the NFL owners association will meet once again this week once again to maybe, or maybe not, make a decision about whether or not to grant Los Angeles the privilege of an NFL football team.
And it’s not even a new football team that the nation’s second-largest city is going hat-in-hand begging for. Three second-hand teams from San Diego, Oakland, and Saint Louis are eager to turn the Southland into their land. The people who make decisions about these sorts of things have been stringing the city along for so long that there are 20-year-olds who have never known Los Angeles with a top-tier pro football team. The concept of a hometown NFL franchise has been lost on an entire generation of potential fans. Millions of living, breathing revenue streams.
An analogy made on KNX radio compared the league to Lucy Van Pelt, and our fair city to Charlie Brown, with the petulant Ms. Van Pelt repeatedly getting our hopes up of one day being able to kick that football, only to have it yanked out from under us at the last second.
What’s at stake is tens of thousands of new jobs for the Los Angeles metropolitan area, and billions of dollars in new investment. And unlike pretty much every other stadium built in the last half-century, neither L.A. proposal leaves the taxpayer on the hook for construction costs. That, in itself, merits a team.
According to CNN, the plan to move the San Diego Rams and the Oakland Raiders to a shared stadium in Carson is the leading proposal right now. However, the team owners — the people who vote on this — are said to be “deeply divided” on the whole project, leaving open the possibility that no team may end up here.
Word is that behind the scenes it’s like a organizing a vote in congress, with various special interests, political and social alliances, and financial considerations pushing for, and against, the various proposals. This group of 32 grown men don’t merely vote for the best proposal, what’s best for the league, or what’s best for the public. They also vote in blocs against each other in order to stymie one another’s interests.
There’s even a trump card involved here. A group of nine sort-of elder statesmen who own teams in Houston, Boston, Pittsburgh, Charlotte, New York and Kansas City that call themselves the Committee on Los Angeles Opportunities. They function like a superPAC and are expected to hand down a recommendation for the other 26 team owners to lap up. The recommendation is considered vey important, and the authors very influential.
The whole process is called a “vote” but bears as much resemblance to democracy as an election in a 1930’s banana republic. Our recommendation is to just close your eyes and be prepared for the worst. It doesn’t matter Los Angeles sends in an all-star field goal kicker to play for Charlie Brown, Lucy can still yank that football away.