Chargers Will File for Relocation to Los Angeles

Mike Fabini, who’s been heading the Chargers’ stadium and location issues, said today that the Chargers would file papers in January to relocate to Los Angeles.

The move should come as a surprise to no one, as such a move has been rumored since the dawn of civilization, seemingly.  But there are a few straws that finally broke the camel’s back this time around.

  • First, the Chargers’ fan base sucks.  If that sounds too harsh, remember that Philip Rivers had to go to a silent count against the Steelers 2 weeks ago… AT HOME.  That’s right, a fan base who’s located across the country in the 23rd biggest metro area in the country was louder than the home fans in San Diego.  I’m not gonna shed too many tears for all 37 true Chargers fans on this one.
  • Second, Los Angeles is going for the Olympic bid in 2024 that Boston avoided (We dodged a bullet from a bazooka on that one), and now there is more urgency than ever in the city to have another amazing sports complex like the new stadium in SoCal.  Casey Wasserman, who’s leading the charge to get LA the Olympics, said that the football stadium wasn’t a part of their plan, meaning that the stadium would be an amazing bonus to their plans and might be the factor that pushes LA’s bid over the finish line.
  • The third reason is one that you won’t hear often in the national media.  The NFL and its owners are looking for a new way to make money because they’re running out of ways.  Listen, the last thing that I’m trying to do is say that the NFL is in trouble financially.  The only thing that could stop the NFL is concussion and player safety concern cutting into the number of parents who allow their kids to play football, and those effects won’t be felt for at least two decades.But I’ll always remember the insightful analysis offered by very few (Bill Simmons was the main on that I can remember) during the ridiculous NFL lockout of 2011.  After Gene Upshaw’s death in 2008, the owners felt that they had a chance to take a piece of the pie from the players, and a big reason why they felt they had to take that piece was because they were running out of ways to grow the league.  At that point, the economy was in the toilet and stadiums weren’t filling up each Sunday at anything close to the desired rate.  Streaming sties from Europe were rising in popularity, and the NFL needed another way to increase the size of the owners’ wallets.
    In 2015, the challenges that ESPN faces are somewhat akin to what the NFL faces.  ESPN cut ties with Keith Olbermann, among others, because so many of their viewers and subscribers cut ties with them.  Cord cutters have scared ESPN into some of their recent decisions, and the NFL is up against a similar issue.  While television contracts are on the rise for every sport, there are still only so many ways to make money, especially when younger viewers aren’t paying for a cable hookup or even a television at all and would rather consumer the sport without directly putting money in the NFL’s pocket.  My point isn’t that the NFL isn’t still growing, but that it’s hard to grow at the consistent, fast rate that the NFL owners want it to.

    Combine that with Roger Goodell’s yearly plan to do literally anything, even spend over $5 million to launch a ridiculous lawsuit against the game’s greatest ambassador over an infraction that usually costs a team $25,000, to distract the public from the other horrendous offseason news that always takes place for the NFL.  The NFL wants to keep its crown of being America’s number 1 sport by being a year round sport, and what better way to do that than to have a team move to the 2nd biggest market in the United States?  What an amazing idea — have something positive for the fans to discuss so that you can dominate the offseason instead of something completely embarrassing and reprehensible!!! Who said Roger Goodell couldn’t improve?

These 3 reasons show why the Chargers’ move up the 405 to Los Angeles is finally gonna happen after all this time.  But while the business side of why the Chargers will fire the paperwork is incredibly interesting, it’s an ugly juxtaposition for the NFL and it’s SoCal franchise:  The San Diego Chargers are not all that interesting.  They should have decent cap space this Spring, but only because Antonio Gates and Eric Weddle are free agents and their roster isn’t exactly overflowing with great players who deserve big contracts.  Philip Rivers is just good enough to make them a playoff contender every year but not good enough to take an otherwise decent team to a Super Bowl win.  And nobody on the team is a flashy superstar who will automatically attract a ton of eyeballs, which would be pretty helpful when moving to LA.  I guess Rivers could be on the millions of billboards they have in LA or Melvin Gordon could improve enough over the rest of this season to become much more famous, but the Chargers are a pretty boring team overall.

The one aspect that the Chargers have going for them is that they re-signed Philip Rivers to an extension before the season that keeps him under contract through 2019.  He’ll be able to keep the team at least somewhat interesting, provided that he doesn’t fall off a cliff.  And his presence is incredibly important, because the only thing that the Chargers couldn’t afford when moving to LA would be a team whose season was over before it even started.  Why?  Well, if we know one thing about fans from Los Angeles, it’s that they’re the ultimate fair weather fans.  Giving them a team with a built in excuse for their laid-back fan base to tune out of could set the franchise back for years upon making its move to the City of Angels.  Philip Rivers may never win a Super Bowl with the Chargers, but he’s gonna save the franchise way more than anyone realizes.

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