I have a theory.
Bear with me, this one gets kind of wacky and involves a brief history lesson.
The history lesson starts in 1946. In 1946, Daniel Farrell Reeves, the owner of the Cleveland Rams, struck a deal with the National Football League and became the first person to own a professional sports team in the city of Los Angeles. The Los Angeles Rams, with their iconic golden horns, stayed in the city of Los Angeles for 49 years.
In 1960, the Los Angeles Rams were joined by another football franchise, the Los Angeles Chargers of the American Football League. The competition with the Chargers lasted only one year, however. In 1961, Chargers owner and hotel magnate Barron Hilton moved the team to San Diego. The Chargers would stay in San Diego for 56 years.
In 1982, another charter member of the American Football League, who had merged with the National Football League in 1970, moved to Los Angeles from Oakland. The Los Angeles Raiders stayed in Southern California until 1995. When they left they had the distinction of being the only professional football team to bring a championship to Los Angeles, having won the Super Bowl after the 1983 season.
Still with me?
The same year that the Raiders returned to their birth city of Oakland, in 1995, the struggling Rams moved to St Louis. With the Raiders in Oakland and the Rams in Missouri, the city of Los Angeles was without a NFL team entirely, for the first time in almost 50 years. It would be another 21 years before any team in the NFL would call Los Angeles their home again.
If you’ll pardon the repeated use of a colloquialism for a minute, this sucked for the city of Los Angeles, sucked for fans of the LA market, and sucked for the NFL, who had lost out on the 2nd biggest media market in the United States. The loss of revenue was astounding.
Enter 2016. The St Louis Rams, who had fallen into decline as a franchise after bringing a championship to the city of St Louis in 2000, finagled their way back to Los Angeles under the wily machinations of Enos Stanley Kroenke. Kroenke is a real estate tycoon turned sports mogul and current owner of the Rams. With big money behind him, and big support from the powers-that-be, Stan Kroenke proposed to build an entertainment venue in Los Angeles like no other. As a token of goodwill, he also welcomed a co-sponsor or tenant to join him in the glitzy LA market.
At the same time, in 2016, the San Diego Chargers and the Oakland Raiders were putting in bids to be “the team” to finally take over the Los Angeles market after more than two decades of football vacuity.
I’ve been waiting nearly a year now to use the word “vacuity” in my blog.
The Chargers and Raiders lost out in their bids in 2016, and returned home to negotiate new stadiums in San Diego and Oakland, respectively. The following year, however – to the day – the San Diego Chargers owner Alexander Spanos announced that his team would be joining the Los Angeles market as the eventual tenants of Stanley Kroenke and his $3 billion stadium. Bereft of an NFL presence for two decades, the Los Angeles fans now had two teams to call their own.
Here’s my crazy theory:
The Los Angeles Rams will meet the Los Angeles Chargers in the Super Bowl in 2021, which will be held in Stan Kroenke’s brand spanking new multibillion-dollar venue.
Think about it. These crafty NFL tycoons lost out on billions of dollars when the LA market was vacant for 21 years, and they aim to get it back. In one night.
You might think me mad now, with visions of hippodroming* at the highest levels of our sport but mark my words. LA vs LA in LA for the biggest prize of all: money.
The following year for the Super Bowl has yet to be determined, as of this writing, but I have a theory about that as well. The Oakland Raiders, the big losers in the quest for LA, are now bound for Las Vegas, by all accounts. They’ll get their own home game in a Super Bowl the following year, against somebody from the NFC that doesn’t matter. Probably the Eagles. See, the Raiders had to be paid compensation for losing out on the nation’s second biggest market, a market where – by all accounts – they have the most fans of any of the suitors. So they were given Super Bowl LVI. The game is fixed in their favor. In Las Vegas. Go figure.
Thank you for taking the time to hear my tale. Now go about your day. Let this sink in.
You heard it here first. 😉
*Hippodroming is a word I just discovered, unlike vacuity, and it means, essentially, “to fix a sports contest with a predetermined winner.” Once I saw the word I had to use it in a sentence. Immediately. Good day!