Thursday, January 12, 2017

California Scheming

I know all about the feeling that football fans in Southern California (Far Southern California that is) have today.
They feel betrayed and I've been there with the Browns,so I know how they feel,but this is an unusually special money grab.

The National Football League is well known for taking any dollar that they can grab and for almost any reason and this extends to their franchises.
Their lack of caring and concern extends from Cleveland having the Browns ripped away despite sellouts to be given to Baltimore,who wouldn't have needed a team at all,had the NFL not punched them in the face twice with the Colts moving to Indianapolis and Paul Tagliabue  picking Jacksonville (great call,by the way) over Baltimore in 1990's expansion,so that his beloved Washington D.C could remain the only team in a market that would never accept the Redskins in the Baltimore portion to allowing teams to return to towns for twenty year checks,only to allow those cities (St.Louis and Oakland) to be held up later for more opulent stadiums.
Cities that deal with the NFL do so at their own peril and more than likely,accommodating them is a 10 to 15 year time-share in keeping them happy.
Being fair,baseball is no different as 20ish year old parks in Arlington and Atlanta are being replaced as obsolete,so the NFL isn't alone,but they seem to have a unique place as they almost always (emphasis on both words) go for the money.

San Diego isn't blameless as despite some attempts to finance a new stadium,they have not been able to get a deal finished.
Qualcomm Stadium is 50 years old and I can see the points for a new facility,although sometimes a nice renovation can go a long way (Arrowhead in Kansas City for example) towards revitalization,I agree with the Chargers needing to catch up with the times.
Here are my problems with this.

The city of San Diego has made a decision that the Chargers/NFL is not of the same value to their community as the financial commitment would take to keep them there.
Many people in the sports world are applauding San Diego for not doing so (I saw Rachel Nichols doing so on Twitter to name one person) and if that's how they feel,good for them.
Usually,that doesn't last for long with pro sports (I know the feeling with the Hagerstown Suns),people discover what they have lost and the arduous task of returning pro sports to their town begins.
That's a long road that even if successful,the community winds up spending just as much,if not more to return sports to the area than they would have spent to begin with to keep the team.
Not to mention the moral dilemma that so many have to deal with-stealing because you were stolen from.
I'd have much more respect for San Diego,if they simply said that the NFL has simply gotten too expensive for their city and are moving in different directions.

As for the Chargers,they are a laughing stock after this move.
Not even the Los Angeles media seem interested in the Chargers,they'll be entering a market with two baseball teams (Dodgers and Angels),one other pro football team (Rams),two basketball teams (Lakers and Clippers),two hockey teams (Kings and Ducks) and two major college programs (UCLA and USC) that are powerhouses in football (USC) and basketball (UCLA) to contend with for attention.
They'll be playing in a 30,000 seat stadium for two years until the stadium built for the Rams (and now Chargers) will be ready and have released a logo that basically is a knockoff of the Dodgers that has brought guffaws from all over social media.
Add to that,the Southern California sports fan that notoriously often times is only interested in winning teams and terrific weather that allows year around activity and the Chargers are going to have a very difficult time with a 5-11 team and an aging quarterback (Phillip Rivers) cementing itself in that local sports scene.
The Chargers have long ago being shown to be a franchise that doesn't worry about its fans and customers.
From refusing to give the fans what they want (the powder blue uniforms) to firing the most successful coach in its history (Marty Schottenheimer) to keep around a general manager who sent the franchise to its current spiral,the Chargers have usually succeeded by accident and more often failed by a stubbornness by the Spanos family to listen to its fan base or to anyone that had successful in football.

I see no winner in this fiasco.
The Chargers are going to be shoved into a market that could care less,San Diego loses professional football with the money that brings in,the NFL continues to look like a company that would put a team in Minot, North Dakota,if they'd build them stadium,the Spanos family joins the list of owners that moved a team out of town despite fan support and the fans in San Diego,who can look to Baltimore as an example of having to steal a team for a return to the league,as the NFL will look at San Diego as being close enough to Los Angeles to not be a must have return...

Sad thing to see yet another city lose its team,but in the end.sports are only a game to their fans-to everyone else,it is always a business and in business-money is always the bottom line....

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