The Rams, Raiders and Chargers already may have played their final games in their respective cities.
Then again, one of them — or even all of them — might be back where they’ve been for the 2016 season.
The answer could be forthcoming within the next two weeks as NFL owners gear up for a Jan. 12-13 meeting in Houston that could finalize relocation plans for one or more of the teams.
The league’s Los Angeles relocation committee is set to meet in New York on Wednesday and Thursday. The league’s stadium committee and finance committee also are expected to meet this week in advance of the following week’s owners’ meeting. A vote could be held at the Houston meeting, although it’s still possible that the matter will be tabled until next year if the owners can’t come up with a plan that will generate votes from at least 24 of the league’s 32 owners.
“I wish I could tell you how this was going to go down, but I honestly can’t,” one high-ranking NFL source said about the potential vote. “There are just a lot of moving parts, and I don’t think anyone has any real sense of what might or might not happen.”
The Rams, who played as an L.A. team from 1946-1994, are proposing a move to Inglewood, California, where team owner Stan Kroenke has proposed construction of a new stadium. The Chargers and Raiders have a joint proposal for Carson, California, where a new stadium would house both teams. Kroenke also has floated the possibility of building his stadium for two teams, although it is uncertain which of the other two teams might share the stadium.
The Chargers and Raiders also have Los Angeles roots. The Chargers played their first American Football League season there and the Raiders played there from 1982-94.
Complicating matters further is the fact that officials in both St. Louis and San Diego continue attempts to keep the Rams and Chargers, respectively, in those cities by offering financial packages for new stadiums. Most owners do not believe that Oakland has a viable plan to construct a new stadium, leaving the Raiders in somewhat of a bind if they can’t combine forces with the Chargers for a new facility in Los Angeles.
Speculation has swirled that Raiders owner Mark Davis, son of the late founder Al Davis, will move the team to St. Louis if the Rams are allowed to move to Los Angeles. But Davis has said he is interested only in playing in Los Angeles or Oakland.
Some NFL owners believe that elected officials in St. Louis and at the statewide level in Missouri are far enough along to keep the Rams from moving, leaving the Raiders-Chargers project in Carson the more popular alternative.
But there still is a chance that the vote could be tabled until next year if there is enough uncertainty about any of the possibilities, or if the owners get the sense that genuine progress can be made in St. Louis or San Diego to keep the Rams and Chargers from moving.
BACK UP THE TRUCK
NFL (and AFL) teams that have picked up and left since 1960:
Chicago Cardinals moved to St. Louis in 1960
St. Louis Cardinals moved to Phoenix in 1988
Cleveland Browns franchise moved to Baltimore in 1996; Cleveland retained the Browns’ history, though
Baltimore Colts moved to Indy in 1984
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
AFL Dallas Texans relocated to KC in 1963
Relocated to Los Angeles in 1982
Moved back to Oakland in 1995
SAN DIEGO CHARGERS
AFL Los Angeles Chargers moved 115 miles south after the 1960 season
ST. LOUIS RAMS
Left Los Angeles after the 1994 season
(Franchise operated in Cleveland 1937-45)
Houston Oilers moved to Nashville in 1997