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The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

LA welcomes the Rams, other NFL changes

It is closing in on a month since the end of the NFL season and there is a lot to look back on and look forward to as time slowly creeps towards August.

It was a season that saw the local Carolina Panthers and quarterback Cam Newton practically cruise to Super Bowl 50 before running into the defensive juggernaut that was the Denver Broncos with linebacker and Super Bowl Most Valuable Player Von Miller.

With the Broncos 24-10 win in Super Bowl, to many it felt like “The Sheriff” quarterback Peyton Manning would go out on top as a Super Bowl champion.  This was following Manning telling New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick after the AFC Championship game that this may be his last rodeo, creating an even bigger storyline to end the NFL season.

Of course, many will argue that these were not even the biggest NFL stories of the past two months.

Throughout the NFL season it became inevitable that a team would be relocating to Los Angeles.  The three candidates that proposed applications for relocation were the St. Louis Rams, Oakland Raiders and the San Diego Chargers.

It has been just over two decades since Los Angeles has had an NFL team.  Both the Rams and Raiders left the city in 1995, leaving the United State’s second biggest television market without an NFL team.

Back on Jan. 12 with a meeting among the NFL’s 32 owners in Houston, there was an overwhelming 30-2 vote in favor of Ram’s owner Stan Kroenke’s plan to move his team back to Los Angeles.

Upon the approval, the Raiders withdrew their application for relocation whereas the Chargers and owner Dean Spanos announced they would be in San Diego for the 2016 season but have come to an agreement with the Rams for potential sharing rights of a stadium in Inglewood, California for 2017 and beyond.

The proposed stadium plan would be to have the world-class stadium in Inglewood completed in 2019. Until then, teams would play at the Los Angeles Coliseum for home games.

Of course while this news came as exciting to some, particularly the Los Angeles Rams fan base that has still lingered over the past two decades, it is still disappointing to see a team that won a Super Bowl with the “greatest show on turf” with players like quarterback Kurt Warner, running back Marshall Faulk, wide receiver Issac Bruce and wide receiver Torry Holt to be leaving the city in which it was accomplished.

“The NFL ignored the facts (and) the loyalty of St. Louis fans who supported the team through far more downs than ups, and the NFL ignored a strong market and viable plan for a new stadium,” St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay said in a statement. “I am proud of our effort and what St. Louis was able to accomplish in an extraordinarily short period of time. I thank everyone who worked so diligently on this project … ”

The news definitely sits wrong with local St. Louis NFL fans, especially after back in 2010 Kroenke pledged to do everything in his power to keep the Rams in St. Louis.

“I’m going to attempt to do everything that I can to keep the Rams in St. Louis just as I did everything that I could to bring the team to St. Louis in 1995,” Kroenke said in a phone interview with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch back in April 2010. “I believe my actions speak for themselves.”

Kroenke did have a response to the approval and to the fans in St. Louis.

“We understand the emotions involved (for) our fans, and it’s not easy to do these things,” said Kroenke. “They are purposely made hard, but we’re here today. We made a decision, and we worked long and hard at the various alternatives. When they didn’t succeed, we worked to this point.”

And now for Chargers fans, it becomes a waiting game.

“Today I decided our team will stay in San Diego for the 2016 season, and I hope for the long term in a new stadium,” Chargers chairman Dean Spanos said in a statement to fans. “I have met with (San Diego) Mayor (Kevin) Faulconer and Supervisor (Ron) Roberts, and I look forward to working closely with them and the business community to resolve our stadium (and relocation) dilemma.”

Until then, it may be a good bet to expect two Los Angeles NFL teams in 2017.

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Reese Setzer, Sports Editor

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