When the Dallas Cowboys opened training camp in Oxnard, Calif. last Saturday, owner Jerry Jones said that the NFL was "closer than ever" to a return to the Los Angeles market.
On a Wednesday appearance on the NFL Network, Jones acknowledged that the league had not gotten it right with the second-largest metropolitan area and media market in the United States and that teams — plural — could move to Southern California.
"I feel more imminent about a team being in here, that it's more imminent than any time since we haven't had a team in Los Angeles," Jones said (via Dan Hanzus of NFL.com). "And yes, this market is a huge market, it's a little bit of a black eye for all of us to have had this many years and not had an NFL team in Los Angeles.
"The owners don't mess much up...but we haven't gotten this one right. There's people, there's locations, there are people that are interested, a lot of people that can help us put this thing together. And as it turns out that we have at least two teams that could move to this area."
Jones added that expansion was not an option, "so it will be teams that move."
Though the Jacksonville Jaguars would certainly be among the handful of teams, the three most likely candidates to relocate have all called Los Angeles at some point in their existence.
The San Diego Chargers played their first season in Los Angeles and have been spent much of the last decade trying to get a new stadium deal in San Diego. Those efforts have been unsuccessful and the Chargers can opt out of their lease at Qualcomm Stadium after each season through 2020.
The St. Louis Rams were the Los Angeles Rams from 1946 through 1994 before moving east in 1995. The Rams have also had a tough time obtaining public financing for upgrades to the Edward Jones Dome. The Rams have a lease through 2025, but can get out of the lease after the 2014 season if upgrades to make the Dome a "top-tier" facility are not made.
In addition to already having ties to the L.A. market, the Chargers and Rams filling that market would allow the current AFC and NFC West division alignments to remain intact. (And if the Rams do move back to L.A., please bring back these class blue-and-white uniforms fro the 1960s and early 1970s.)
A third candidate would be the Oakland Raiders, who played in the L.A. market from 1982 through 1994 before moving back to Oakland in 1995. The Raiders' lease at O.co Stadium expires after the 2013 season and owner Mark Davis prefers to not sign a short-term lease without a new stadium deal with the city of Oakland in place. The Raiders have their eyes set on an $800 million stadium, but are asking for $300 million in taxpayer money to build the facility, approval of which will be hard to obtain.
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