You’ve probably noticed that teams in the NFL have been packing up the Mayflower trucks
and heading to other cities in the last 13 months. In 2016, we saw the Rams leave St. Louis, their home for 21 seasons and the city they called home when they won Super Bowl XXXIV, to return to their former home of Los Angeles,marking the return of professional football in that city for the first time since 1994.
We now have a second team that is about to call La-La Land home, they,like the Rams have ties to the area, but not very big ones. The San Diego Chargers announced on Thursday that they were packing up and leaving their home of 56 years to return to the place of the team’s birth,Los Angeles. The Chargers played their inaugural season of the AFL in that city in 1960.
In “honor” of the move,the team came out with a half-assed designed alternate logo that looks like a bastardized version of the Dodgers’ hat logo with a bolt stuck on the end of the L.
Longtime fans of the Chargers have been left feeling abandoned and disappointed that the team would end its long history and association with the city and with them altogether. Fans have pelted the team’s former headquarters with eggs and have set various pieces of Chargers merchandise on fire in the parking lot. Fans are even getting discounts on getting Chargers tattoos removed if they so wish.
“We feel played,” San Diego resident Alonso Rodriguez told KNSD-TV on Saturday, speaking of the move. “It feels like a complete slap in the face. Los Angeles has enough teams already.”
The moving may not be stopping there. The Oakland Raiders,who have been consistently rumoured to be moving to Las Vegas since before the beginning of the season, are formally submitting relocation papers to that location,as reported by NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport on Saturday.
The Raiders are certainly no strangers to moving. In 1982, the team left Oakland for Los Angeles,spending 13 years there and winning Super Bowl XVIII in 1983 before moving back to Oakland in 1995. They have tried to get a new stadium for years since returning and while there is a group headed by Ronnie Lott to try and get the team a new home in Oakland,it’s clear that Mark Davis has his heart set on moving to Las Vegas. Relocation needs two-thirds approval from the league’s owners.
These recent moves have myself and many other fans wondering where the hell any sort of loyalty is with not only these owners whose teams have called these cities home for decades,but the league itself as well.
First of all,I feel sorry for Chargers fans. I really do. They have supported this team for close to six decades and they end up getting left behind by an owner who sees nothing but dollar signs a couple hundred miles up north via I-5. I’ve never liked Dean Spanos as an NFL owner. Something about him to me shows me that he’s pretty shady and I get the sense that Chargers fans have long had those same bad vibes about him. I feel like he,more than anyone,including the city of San Diego, stood in the way of the team getting a new stadium like the Padres did. It shouldn’t take a beloved team a decade and a half to get that and for Spanos and his team,it did,and they didn’t get it. Why? Because the public didn’t want to pay for something a billionaire should be able to do on his own. The public was mostly responsible for the funding of Petco Park,the home of the Padres,which opened in 2004,and the ballot initiatives to build it went to two votes,resulting in a two-year delay of opening the park. I don’t blame the fans for feeling fatigued years later from having their tax dollars going to pay for Petco Park.
In regards to the Rams leaving for Los Angeles, it was only a matter of time. Kudos to the fans in St. Louis who stayed until the end for them, but somehow it was inevitable for them to go back once Stan Kroenke purchased the team. For one, the team still kept offices in Los Angeles even after they moved to St. Louis in 1995. Once Kroenke purchased the land in Inglewood in 2015, most everyone knew he had his sights set on a Los Angeles return.
As for the Raiders, it doesn’t seem to faze many of their fans that they may be yet again on the move,and the reason being is that part of this team’s legacy is being a nomadic
franchise. From Oakland to Los Angeles to Oakland again and now possibly Las Vegas, the team has long had a brand that appeals to fans far and wide and seeing the Raiders play is just a plane ride away and just enough to make a weekend out of. I’m sure a lot of fans are pretty upset that their home team won’t be close to home anymore,but as I’ve said, fans seem to follow them no matter where the team calls home. There is still a Raiders following in Los Angeles long after the team last called that city home and it looks as though that won’t change if the team moves to Las Vegas.
While Raiders fans are able to look past the location of the team,we all know that they shouldn’t have to. They deserve to have their team stay in Oakland just as much as Chargers fans should be able to have their team stay in San Diego. The fans of the latter team got royally screwed over and I don’t know if they’re going to be able to latch on to another team,at least not anytime soon.
It makes me wonder who just might be the next to feel like they’ve had enough with their current home city and how soon they’re ready to flee their loyal fan base. When you have three teams announce relocations in a year and two of them acting on it as of press time,it doesn’t make your league look as stable as it once did.
But more than that,it doesn’t make it any more loyal. Just ask the city of San Diego what loyalty gets you these days.