In the NFL's 3-team race to Los Angeles, the Raiders now look like the odd-team out

St. Louis Rams and Oakland RaidersGetty ImagesThe Raiders may be chasing the Rams in the race to Los Angeles.

After 20 years without a team in the second-biggest television market, the NFL appears set to move one or two franchises to Los Angeles in the next year or two, and picking which teams will go may have just gotten some more clarity.

It has long been accepted that three teams, the Raiders, Chargers, and Rams, will apply to move to Los Angeles and seek the necessary approval of the other owners. Rams owner Stan Kroenke has proposed a $US1.86 billion, 80,000-seat stadium with a retractable roof on land in Inglewood, while the Raiders and Chargers have jointly proposed a $US1.7 billion open-air stadium in the LA suburb of Carson.

However, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk notes that last week’s NFL owners meetings make it clear that the Raiders won’t be approved for a move without some major changes to the ownership structure of the team.

At the ownership meetings that occurred last week, however, it became more clear among the owners that, barring significant changes to the franchise’s management structure, the Raiders won’t be making the move [to Los Angeles] … Whether it’s a sale of the team by owner Mark Davis or the acquisition of a partner with the acumen to make the team viable in an L.A. market that would have, if the Raiders make the move, two NFL clubs, two MLB teams, two NHL teams, and two NBA teams, the NFL would want to see a bolstering of the overall business before it would move to Los Angeles.

In other words, the only way the Raiders are going to L.A. is if somebody other than Mark Davis is controlling the team or is at least a very prominent co-voice. The stage in Los Angeles will be too big and the lights will be too bright for the NFL to risk having on of their faces of L.A. being the eccentric millionaire who also happens to be the son of the late, and longtime NFL nemesis, Al Davis.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that the Chargers won’t move to Los Angeles — in fact, they may still be the frontrunner — and it doesn’t mean the Raiders won’t move at all.

One NFL-to-LA scenario that has been mentioned in several circles is a shuffling where both the Rams and Chargers move to the stadium in Inglewood to be owned by Kroenke. If the Raiders fail to gain approval for a new stadium in Oakland, they could then replace the Rams in St. Louis where a a $US985 million riverfront stadium has been proposed.

Of course, the relocation of the Raiders won’t be needed if they can get a new stadium in Oakland and there are reasons to be optimistic. Florio adds that some NFL owners “believe Oakland is becoming a more viable market,” and that a new stadium in Oakland has more potential than previously believed.

There is also a recent report from St. Louis Magazine that says city taxpayers would end up paying $US215 million more than reported for the proposed stadium.

The NFL still needs to decide if they want one team or two in L.A., but if it is two, it now looks like it will be the Chargers and Rams in Hollywood, and the Raiders will be the franchise without a chair when the music stops.

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