Roger Goodell says the existing stadiums in St. Louis, San Diego and Oakland are "inadequate and unsatisfactory," and the proposals the Rams, Chargers and Raiders received to remain in their current cities lacked certainty.
A person who has seen the report told The Associated Press on Saturday night that the NFL commissioner sent 48 pages to team owners and cited a lack of longer-term solutions in plans to build new facilities. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the league has not released details of the report.
The Los Angeles Times first reported Goodell’s comments.
A special owners meeting is scheduled next week for Houston, and relocation by one or two of those teams to Los Angeles will be discussed — and quite possibly voted on. All three franchises applied for relocation last week, and at least 24 teams must vote for a franchise to move.
Goodell did not draw any conclusions on which teams should move, nor did he recommend either of two stadium sites being proposed. The Rams are planning a stadium in Inglewood on the site of the old Hollywood Park racetrack. The Chargers and Raiders jointly are proposing a stadium in Carson.
The report is a requirement of the NFL’s relocation procedures. No franchise has moved since the Houston Oilers went to Tennessee in 1997. The Raiders and Rams both left Los Angeles after the 1994 season.
Goodell also pointed out that city leaders in St. Louis, San Diego and Oakland agree that the existing stadiums don’t work. He told the owners that further government approval for new stadiums, contingencies, and financial concerns plague the proposals
Adding that the Rams, Chargers and Raiders would not be breaking any leases by moving, Goodell also noted that the L.A.-area sites appear to be ready for development; that they are suitable to host one or two teams; they have no obvious contingencies; and that market research shows Los Angeles can support two NFL teams.
The report seems damning for St. Louis, which has a $1.1-billion riverfront stadium plan; for San Diego, which has a similarly priced plan for the Mission Valley, which is contingent on a public referendum in June; and for Oakland, which has no formal stadium plan, but has expressed interest in keeping the Raiders.
"The Chargers created their own uncertainty," said Chris Melvin, attorney and lead negotiator for the City of San Diego and the County of San Diego. "We could have already gained voter approval of a stadium under the plan laid out this summer by the City and County. But the Chargers stonewalled, rebuffed attempts to negotiate a term sheet, and refused to act.
"Despite all this, San Diego has proven that it’s a region that supports its major-league teams."
Goodell mentioned in the report that the St. Louis plan requests league loans $100 million in excess of the maximum provided under current league policies. The Rams belittled that proposal last week.