“NFL to Move All 32 Teams to Los Angeles” was the headline for a story on the Onion, a website specializing in parody and lampoon. That story “broke” in 2005. Twelve years later, the City of Angels has only 30 teams to go.
Chargers owner Dean Spanos announced Thursday that the team was moving back to its birthplace, L.A., because it couldn’t compete financially at San Diego’s Qualcomm Stadium, the team’s home since 1967.
The Chargers will play the 2017 and ’18 seasons at StubHub Center, the 30,000-capacity home of soccer’s Los Angeles Galaxy, before moving to Inglewood, California, to share a massive new stadium with the Rams. The next-smallest NFL stadium is in Oakland, capacity 56,063, a building that the Raiders have been looking to escape.
The Raiders, too, have had a checkerboard past. Born with the American Football League in 1960, they played their first two seasons under the Oakland banner in San Francisco’s Kezar Stadium and then Candlestick Park. Once they did move to Oakland, their home from 1962-65 was Frank Youell Field, a 22,000-seat venue used until Oakland Coliseum was completed.
As you may recall, the Raiders moved to Los Angeles for the 1982 season and back to Oakland in 1995. The NFL has already OK’d a move out of the Bay Area, with Las Vegas being mentioned as a likely landing site, with San Diego a remote possibility.
And speaking of San Diego, the Chargers moved there in 1961 after being unable to compete with the Rams in L.A., which they will be doing all over again since the Rams returned from St. Louis for this season. (BTW, the Rams originated in Cleveland.)
The rock in all of the California shuffling has been the 49ers, who remained within the San Francisco city limits from their birth in 1946 until 2014, when they moved to Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, just an hour’s drive from San Francisco.