While normally we here at Razzball would concentrate on Fantasy Football news and analysis, or, in the very least, try to add fantasy context to that which doesn’t exactly fit the mold, I won’t try to cover or sugarcoat this too much. Unless it’s your mother. While there really isn’t anything to be gleaned from the following, except maybe sugar, suffice to say, I have thoughts on the subject, and the subject is the possibility of the Chargers moving to Los Angeles. Mind you, this aren’t intricate or well-thought out, um, thoughts (I was in trouble like two words in…), but as the predominant, or only Chargers fan of the site, and probably the entire readership, I did want to weigh in on the fact that there are some fascinating things going with the Rams, Raiders, and my Chargers that involve bringing the NFL to the great (also terrible) city of Los Angeles. I’m not quite to sure what to think of all of this, and I’m sure you don’t care, but I do write for a living, and the logical progression, I would think, is to use writing as a vehicle to find some sort of catharsis with the fact that my home team may move roughly 60 miles north. And with the Rams and Raiders possibly in tow, we could, at the very least, come to the determination right now that this would be the saddest three-way ever…
The Rams are currently in year 20 of their 30-year stadium lease in St. Louis, but they can take their lease to a year-to-year basis if Kroenke can’t come to terms with the city for funding various “stadium improvements.” Right now, Kroenke is trying to use that clause to squeeze another $575 million in public money out of the city, and the city is not really down with that plan.
Mind you, this isn’t a first time a team has used L.A. as leverage, as the city has seen itself being used in this manner since 1995, when, coincidentally, the Rams left. But with Stan Kroenke doing what NFL owners are want to do, and that’s want more money, the stakes have raised for other teams seeking newer and modener (not a word) accomdations. Thus enters the Raiders and my Chargers, who late last week, revealed quite the idea…the two rivals would become a couple and move to La-la land.
The Chargers and Raiders will continue to seek public subsidies for new stadiums in their home markets, but they are developing a detailed proposal for a privately financed Los Angeles venue in the event they can’t get deals done in San Diego and Oakland by the end of this year, according to the teams.
Now, some of the local San Diego hot takes that I’ve read thus far usually fall on two sides of “Well Chargers, if you expect tax payers to pay for a new stadium for a team that isn’t committed to winning or fielding a competitive payroll (both egregiously false), well then, laters!” OR “San Diego government is dysfunctional, so if the Chargers expect to be able to work with them to figure out a new stadium deal (something that has been on-going for the last decade), well then, laters!”. So, essentially, the Chargers are probably leaving. First and foremost, because the tax payers will likely vote any proposal to build a new stadium down (San Diego requires two-thirds voter approval), as that’s where the sentiment has been leaning since PetCo Park was built. Whatever you feel about a tax-subsidized stadium deals (I’m usually against such things), most of this new revenue would be targeted on the tourism industry, with the primary revenue coming from out-of-state visitors, which doesn’t seem so bad in context of how these deals usually end up for other cities. The fact also is, the Chargers probably would suffer greatly if either the Rams or Raiders or another team (Jaguars?) moved directly north, as the team would lose most, if not all leverage in garnering a new facility, and at least partial market revenue (from NFL fans who live in Los Angeles). While some may think this is a good thing (fight the power!), I would lean on the a parlance of our times: Don’t hate the player, hate the game. In that, the Chargers are playing in a 50-year-old venue with cracked concrete floors and walls, creaking plastic seats and leaking pipes. And I probably wouldn’t trust any ceilings in the rare occasions when there’s rain in the forecast.
The teams are working with “Carson2gether,” a group of business and labor leaders. The coalition will announce the project Friday at a news conference near the 168-acre site, a parcel at the southwest quadrant of the intersection of the 405 Freeway and Del Amo Boulevard. The long-vacant Carson Marketplace site is part of an old municipal landfill and has been the subject of significant cleanup efforts in recent years. The NFL has looked into buying the site at least three times.
The Chargers do need a new venue, desperately. In fact, I’d argue that a landfill is already an upgrade over Qualcomm Stadium.
Whatever your thought is on how the place gets paid for, the fact of the matter is, there has been 10 years to figure it out, and there has literally been zero progress to that end. And to be honest, most of fault lies with the San Diego legislation, not the San Diego Chargers. And while this proposal, at this very moment, should still be considered posturing, I’m faced with the very real possibility that the San Diego Chargers could become the Los Angeles Chargers. If you asked me how would feel about this back in 2001, when I last lived there, I would probably turn in my powder blues and forget the team ever existed, kind of how Baltimore treated the Colts when they left. But what a difference 14 years away can do. In that span, I’ve lived in Seattle (7 years), Los Angeles (3 years), and now Washington D.C. (4 years), and never have I really left the Chargers. They are my team. But is this still my city? I’d probably say no, it really isn’t anymore. Sure, I grew up there (arrived when I was six-years-old), and was there a total of 13 years, but I’ve now lived away longer than I was there. So when I say I’m a Chargers fan, I think I’m able to separate what it means to be a Chargers fan and a San Diego Chargers fan. I don’t expect the lovely populous of San Diego to share that sentiment, but if you’re asking me if I’m okay with them moving roughly 60 minutes north (in no traffic, which is never, by-the-way) than yes, I’m okay with it. But you didn’t ask. So there’s that.