LAST WEEK, in advance of its third game this season in London, the NFL announced that it will again play three games there in 2015. That spurred new discussion about whether the league will install a franchise in London, and it overshadowed buzz in the U.S. about a team's possible move back to a former NFL city: Los Angeles. On Nov. 5, Missouri governor Jay Nixon said the Rams, who called L.A. home from 1946 through '94, will decide by Jan. 28 what to do about their Edward Jones Dome lease, which runs through 2025 but grants the team an opt-out clause starting after this season.
If they opt out, the Rams must notify the NFL by Feb. 15 that they intend to move to L.A. for next year, but they're not the only franchise that could end up there.
WHY THEY'D GO
WHY THEY'D STAY
Mediocre attendance and TV ratings suggest the franchise isn't growing. The Jags are already being taken out of Jacksonville once a year to play in London--Sunday's loss to Dallas marked the second of four straight years they'll play in England.
They don't have an opt-out clause on their stadium lease, which runs through 2030. Like all teams, the Jags would have to show they lost money one year and were below league average for the next two years.
The Raiders already left Oakland for L.A. once, spending 1982 through '94 there. The Oakland Coliseum is a dump, and it's now the only stadium in the league that houses both an MLB and an NFL team.
Three-fourths of NFL owners must approve a franchise move. When is the last time that fraternity wanted to do anything to help the Davis family?
Owner Stan Kroenke owns 60 acres of land fewer than 20 miles from downtown L.A., and the Rams, while profitable, are the league's least valuable franchise according to Forbes. That would change rapidly if the team were based in Los Angeles.
League rules say a team must make a "good faith" effort to resolve stadium issues in its city, and St. Louis may yet meet the expected cost of $700 million for improvements to the dome.
The team already has Southern California all to itself, but it could upgrade from the No. 28 media market to No. 2. All it would cost is less than $20 million to get out of its year-to-year lease at Qualcomm Stadium.
Owner Dean Spanos said that 25% to 30% of the team's local revenue comes from L.A. The Chargers may not want to have to get apathetic Angelenos to care more about the NFL.
They Said It
"They're probably worse than I thought, to be honest with you."
Bengals rookie Jeremy Hill, after Cincinnati lost 24--3 to the Browns last Thursday.
JOHN GRIESHOP/GETTY IMAGES (HILL)