"Roughing the Passer - A PK Frazier Novel"

My new book, "Offsetting Penalties - A PK Frazier Novel" is the follow-up to "Illegal Procedure" and "Roughing the Passer" and is now available in print and in e-formats at amazon.com, smashwords.com and iBooks. Follow me on twitter @kevinkrest.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

LEAVING ST. LOUIS: NFL APPROVES RAMS' MOVE BACK TO LOS ANGELES

The NFL owners, by a vote of 30 - 2, approved the move of the St. Louis Rams back to their former Los Angeles home. After playing next season in the storied L.A. Coliseum, they will begin play in 2017 in a new stadium complex in Inglewood, near the site of the old Los Angeles Forum. Rams' owner Stan Kroenke will be part of a group that will spend over $1.5 billion, coincidentally the same amount as the record Power Ball jackpot for tonight's drawing, to build the stadium. In addition, Mr. Kroenke will also pay the league a $550 million relocation fee that will be shared by the other 31 owners. Do I care?

At the end of the day, not really. Unless Kroenke can substantially improve his team's on the field performance, it's pretty much irrelevant from a national perspective. I feel badly for the fans that have stayed loyal to a team that with the exception of the greatest show on turf that resulted in a couple of Super Bowl appearances and one victory, that hasn't really been all that competitive since 1991. The Rams' move was not sudden at all and has been the source of a lot of speculation over the past several months. It's no secret that Kroenke has wanted an updated stadium and despite efforts by the community to make that a reality, the potential development situation in L.A. just proved to be too attractive for St. Louis to compete with.

There are several questions that will probably forever go unanswered. If Kroenke was willing to fork over at least $2.0 billion to make the move, why not spend maybe half that much and fund a stadium in St. Louis? Considering the dismal record of the team, why is there so much outcry about them leaving, except that fans won't get to see what real football teams play like when the visiting teams repeatedly bash the Rams? And finally, given that this is now the second owner in twenty-eight years to leave the city, is St. Louis really a strong football city, especially considering the success of the baseball Cardinals?

There are some aspects of this move that are attractive to me. First, I am a strong opponent of publicly financed stadiums for a business that pays its employees millions of dollars and has yet to produce a positive business case for communities to raise taxes and spend enormous sums of money to appease rich owners. This deal, as far as I understand, is being financed with private funds. So beyond the slap in the face for St. Louis, they'll probably be better off financially than to have been held hostage by Kroenke. Secondly, it will actually put all of the teams in the NFC West in, believe it or not, the west. I know St. Louis is west of the Mississippi, but it's crazy for them to make the trips they need to in order to play divisional games. The next step is to have a serious discussion about math and geography with the Big Ten, Big Twelve and Sun Belt conferences. I guess the same could be said for Dallas, but I don't see the Cowboys changing divisions anytime soon, even if it would make sense to see one more round of realignment for geographic reasons. Thirdly, it's been a bit absurd that the second largest market in the nation has been without a football team for so long. There is a unique amount of glitz and glamour associated with the L.A. scene that has been missing from the league for a couple of decades. And lastly, it gives San Diego and Oakland another year to work out deals to stay where they are. And even though I'm not that upset with the Rams' leaving St. Louis, I don't like to see too many fan bases, especially loyal ones like the Raiders have, disenfranchised by rich owners.

Don't forget to check out my new book, "Roughing the Passer - A PK Frazier Novel" and my first, "Illegal Procedure - A PK Frazier Novel", available in print and e-formats at Amazon.com, iBooks and Smashwords. The third installment, "Offsetting Penalties - A PK Frazier" is due out in January.