Cities That The NFL Could Expand To In Coming Years

Why Los Angeles Doesn't Need An NFL Team And A Look At Other Possible Relocation Or Expansion Cities.

4/30/09 in NFL   |   snbslugger   |   0 respect

Only in Los Angeles could you have three major-level pro football teams and have them all leave town.  That's right, three.

The Rams lasted the longest, moving from Cleveland after their 1945 NFL Championship season and beginning play in SoCal in 1946.  They moved to St. Louis in 1995 after spending parts of six decades in L.A.  They brought with them just one NFL Championship, won in 1951.  In St. Louis, the Rams have won three division titles and appeared in two Super Bowls, including a win over Tennessee at Super Bowl XXXIV.

The Raiders were arguably the most successful, having won their most recent of three Super Bowls while in Los Angeles, the two prior titles were collected while the team was in their original AFL city of Oakland.  They made the playoffs in seven of the twelve seasons they spent in L.A. before moving back to Oakland in 1995, much to the delight of the Raider faithful in the Bay Area.

The Chargers were probably the most obscure, entering play in the pre-merger AFL as the Los Angeles Chargers in 1960.  After just one season, they moved to San Diego where they have been ever since.  The Chargers won the AFL Championship in 1963, and have appeared in one Super Bowl, losing 49-26 to the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XXIX.

Since the city lost both the Rams and Raiders in the same season, there have been several attempts to re-establish professional football in Los Angeles with all of them ending in failure.  The NBC/WWE-backed XFL placed a team there.  The L.A. Extreme actually won the league's inaugural championship, but the XFL folded after just one season, and the Extreme barely drew 10,000 fans a game.  Arena Football, which has been extremely popular in America with their unique rules and 50-yard indoor game, brought the Los Angeles Avengers in to play at the Staples Center, home of the NBA's Lakers and Clippers, and the NHL's Kings.  That franchise has also recently folded.  The upstart UFL, to begin play in October 2009 has targeted Los Angeles as a potential market city. 

It is pretty evident, at least to me, that Los Angeles doesn't want a pro football team that badly or it would not allow so many franchises to fail.  Granted, some of these teams folded due to the demise of their entire league (The WFL's Southern California Sun, the USFL's Express, the XFL's Extreme), but how do you let not one, but TWO historic NFL franchises go in the same year?  Cleveland Browns fans from 1995 think you guys are losers.

There are now new rumors that an NFL team may end up in L.A.  Expansion is unlikely, as there are already 32 NFL teams and bother former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue and current league boss Roger Goodell have expressed a reluctance to add more teams.  Depending on who you ask, the New Orleans Saints, San Francisco 49ers, San Diego Chargers, Minnesota Vikings, and basically any other NFL team who is looking for a new stadium have been mentioned as a potential candidate for a move to Hollywood.  There are several stadium proposals, the most recent being a stadium and entertainment complex to be built in nearby City of Industry, hoping to lure an NFL franchise and a Super Bowl hosting gig at the same time.

There is way too much to do in Los Angeles and that's why an NFL team doesn't need to be there. The fans, at least the ones that would purchase premium seats and luxury suites, are largely of the front-running, fair-weather variety and don't have the patience to support an expansion team and their growing pains. Having an NFL team there would largely be a waste and there are other cities that would do better having a franchise.  USC's football program is always going to be #1 in Los Angeles anyway.  It always has been.

Here are six cities where I think the NFL could either expand or relocate and do very well.  These are not ranked and are in no particular order.

Columbus, Ohio
Population (Metro Area): 1,750,000+
Closest NFL Franchise: Cincinnati Bengals (106 miles)

PROS: I originally wanted to place a team in Canton and dust off the old-time Canton Bulldogs franchise name from the Jim Thorpe era.  Unfortunately, Canton is 60 miles from Cleveland, which could be a territorial rights issue, and it only has about 400,000 people in its metro area.  Columbus is a city with the population to support a pro franchise.  It is the fifth-largest city in the Midwest, and there is no doubt it is a football town as it is the home of The Ohio State University.  Where the city is located in the center of the state, it's probably not a long-shot to assume that loyalties toward the Browns or Bengals are probably split.  Giving Columbus its own team could really get a rivalry going with the other two Ohio franchises.  Columbus also only has one major pro sports franchise, the Blue Jackets of the NHL.  Ohio is a large state and many football players come from that Midwestern corridor of Indiana-Ohio-Pennsylvania.  They would have ready-made rivals with Cincinnati, Cleveland, Indy, and even the Pittsburgh Steelers.

CONS: There is some concern that an NFL team may not flourish in a rabid college football town like Columbus, but I don't know if I agree with that.  I think where USC hurts L.A. in following a franchise, it would not hurt or conflict with OSU in Columbus.  In fact I think residents who could watch the Buckeyes on Saturday and the new Columbus franchise on Sunday.  I could see this franchise playing as a fifth team in the NFC North.
 

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5/2/09   |   shox13191

chn06 wrote:
Not gonna happen.  Columbus cannot support a team like Los Angeles can.  Further, LA will have a team relocate and that team will of course  be the Rams.  The Saints signed a new lease and they're there until at least 2025.  No such deal with the City of STL and the Rams. 

I'm not to sure about that.  LA can't hold a team at all.  Columbus hasn't been had an NFL team so no one can really know how well a team will do there until then. 
And in response to the possibility of the Rams returning to LA, not gonna happen.  The Rams aren't leaving St. Louis, and even if they did they wouldn't be heading back to LA.

4/30/09   |   chn06

shox13191 wrote:
I love the idea of Columbus getting a franchise.  Imagine it.. Cleveland, Cincinatti, and Columbus in the Three C's Tri-City Rivalry.  I would tune in to that.

Not gonna happen.  Columbus cannot support a team like Los Angeles can.  Further, LA will have a team relocate and that team will of course  be the Rams.  The Saints signed a new lease and they're there until at least 2025.  No such deal with the City of STL and the Rams. 

4/30/09   |   chn06

Boski93 wrote:
Excellent article and I would just like to propose a counterpoint to why L.A. is a bad fit for the NFL. 

Look even though I have been and will probably always be skeptical of any NFL team landing here, with the possible end of the salary cap the NFL may direct a team from one of the outlying media markets to come. The uncapped world may create an NFL landscape where the financial possibilities that L.A. could generate can not be ignored.  Again this is a huge what if. 

Now at this time we cue the Boski93 rant about Southern California's bad rap as a bad football area, why he feels it was the greed of the two teams and not the fans to blame for their exodus for like the 9,000th time.

As for the other locations:

Las Vegas - No Way. Even as much as I love Las Vegas, the NFL, and betting on football, putting all them together would be disastrous. Last year remember how much the ending of 11-10 Chargers/Steelers game caused great consternation, and speculation about the spread. Well multiply that by 1,000,000 if a team from Vegas was involved. Also NFL Security would have to set up a permanent office in L.V.

Toronto makes sense, but next to Buffalo fans it would piss off the CFL royally.
 
Columbus – Too much of college town, and I am not saying it in an “it’s a rinky dink town” kind of way. No I am saying that this is Buckeye town and region. You think USC would have a problem with an NFL team, Tressel and Buckeye would be incredibly perturbed.
 
San Antonio would be another spot it would fit. Look the Vikings and Saints have had eyes on it.
 
Mexico – I just can’t see it, well at least right now. But I do agree that it would be better suited in Monterey than Mexico City.
 
The only other location that might be possible fits would be either Portland or Vancouver.  
 
Okay I have punished you good people enough with my nonsense.
 
P.S. - Please let me know if any of this makes a lick of sense?

Excellent article?  This article sucked!  The Rams couldn't win in LA?  Is this guy smoking crack?  The Rams were named the 6th greatest NFL franchise ever.  I have news for you - they didn't get that distinction because of the years in St Louis.  With the exception of 2-3 years of GSOT, the Rams have become a national joke.  You cannot determine LAs nfl situation with the Rams or the Raiders without assessing the owners first.  Al Davis is neurotic and GF was greedy.  The only reason why the NFL has not returned to LA is because of politics - plain and simple.  No reasonable public official would have acquiesced to the deal that St Louis did to get the team.  The team that was originally scheduled to go to baltimore.  In short, you guys got screwed without dinner!!  Your taxes went up and here's to another season of overpriced tickets for a substandard product.  Enjoy it now because the Rams will be back in the southern california area before too long.
And I find it ironic that your city had to steal another city's team without changing the logo and history.  Having lost the football cardinals, the baseball browns, the basketball hawks and whoever else, it seems like some of you should show some humility because as quiet as its kept (tongue in cheek) the Rams are coming back to So Cal.  Sorry fellas.  You just couldn't cut it.

4/30/09   |   claudiomota3

yessssssssssssss please bring a team hereeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee plzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

4/30/09   |   Raider_Dave   |   47 respect

jswol54 wrote:
Not true, San Jose doesn't have a team unless you count the 49ers or Raaaaayyyyyydddddaaaazzzzz!  Sidenote:  I'm pretty sure SJ just overtook Detroit recently as the ninth or tenth biggest city in America.  I could be wrong though.

San Jose has held steady at #10 for awhile now, and I believe it still is.

4/30/09   |   jswol54   |   20819 respect

chooch wrote:
My vote would be for San Antonio.  They already have a stadium in place.  Plus there have been pro games played there before and been successful.  Plus it is a major city...in the top 10 in population...the only city in the top ten without an NFL team.

Not true, San Jose doesn't have a team unless you count the 49ers or Raaaaayyyyyydddddaaaazzzzz!  Sidenote:  I'm pretty sure SJ just overtook Detroit recently as the ninth or tenth biggest city in America.  I could be wrong though.

4/30/09   |   chooch   |   13 respect

My vote would be for San Antonio.  They already have a stadium in place.  Plus there have been pro games played there before and been successful.  Plus it is a major city...in the top 10 in population...the only city in the top ten without an NFL team.

4/30/09   |   YankeeDudeL   |   15 respect

I say give Columbus a franchise.  After a few years of struggling to build a team, send them to LA where they can be winners.  It worked for the Ravens.  U know Cleveland fans love that.

I would like to see 8 more teams added to the league, so we can have 5 in each division.  Yes, that would include adding 2 more games.  I don't see it happening anytime soon, but it's not unimaginable.  If ESPN shows u anything, it's that people would rather watch off-season craziness (free agency, NFL Draft) than playoffs in two other major sports.

4/30/09   |   das3cr   |   288 respect

shox13191 wrote:
I love the idea of Columbus getting a franchise.  Imagine it.. Cleveland, Cincinatti, and Columbus in the Three C's Tri-City Rivalry.  I would tune in to that.

I'd tune in for it too most likely.  I just can't see the market there being able to afford it long term.  Could be wrong though. 

4/30/09   |   Boski93   |   375 respect

Excellent article and I would just like to propose a counterpoint to why L.A. is a bad fit for the NFL. 

Look even though I have been and will probably always be skeptical of any NFL team landing here, with the possible end of the salary cap the NFL may direct a team from one of the outlying media markets to come. The uncapped world may create an NFL landscape where the financial possibilities that L.A. could generate can not be ignored.  Again this is a huge what if. 

Now at this time we cue the Boski93 rant about Southern California's bad rap as a bad football area, why he feels it was the greed of the two teams and not the fans to blame for their exodus for like the 9,000th time.

As for the other locations:

Las Vegas - No Way. Even as much as I love Las Vegas, the NFL, and betting on football, putting all them together would be disastrous. Last year remember how much the ending of 11-10 Chargers/Steelers game caused great consternation, and speculation about the spread. Well multiply that by 1,000,000 if a team from Vegas was involved. Also NFL Security would have to set up a permanent office in L.V.

Toronto makes sense, but next to Buffalo fans it would piss off the CFL royally.
 
Columbus – Too much of college town, and I am not saying it in an “it’s a rinky dink town” kind of way. No I am saying that this is Buckeye town and region. You think USC would have a problem with an NFL team, Tressel and Buckeye would be incredibly perturbed.
 
San Antonio would be another spot it would fit. Look the Vikings and Saints have had eyes on it.
 
Mexico – I just can’t see it, well at least right now. But I do agree that it would be better suited in Monterey than Mexico City.
 
The only other location that might be possible fits would be either Portland or Vancouver.  
 
Okay I have punished you good people enough with my nonsense.
 
P.S. - Please let me know if any of this makes a lick of sense?

4/30/09   |   Raider_Dave   |   47 respect

WhoDat12 wrote:
It would be unfair to the USC Trojans to put an NFL franchise in Los Angeles.

Actually, I think it would be unfair to an NFL team in LA to try and coexist with USC.

4/30/09   |   Raider_Dave   |   47 respect

raiders1steve wrote:
I have heard that if the Los angeles area was to build a new stadium that the Raiders and the Chargers would consider MOVING there.

Teams never consider moving, it is up to the NFL to decide if they are viable in their current markets or not.  A majority of the owners need to approve any expansion franchise, or any relocation, and the NFL would NOT be happy if te Raiders even brought up the siuation again, which they would not do anyways.

4/30/09   |   das3cr   |   288 respect

I can't see SoCal being a good choice for a team.  There may be a lot of people, so a huge potential market. But those people don't want one and won't support it anyways.  Why try to put a square peg in a round hole?

I can see a team in San Antonio. 

I don't think that Columbus could realistically afford it in the long run.  Heck, I wish we could relocate that new stadium in Indianapolis somewhere else. That money suckin hole has em talking about raising beer taxes to pay for it. Far as I am concerned, they can take the stadium, the colts too and let someone else pay for it.

Mexico is a pipe dream. It's too politically unstable to support a team.

Canada.  It's a maybe.  Do they want a team?

4/30/09   |   raiders1steve   |   10 respect

I have heard that if the Los angeles area was to build a new stadium that the Raiders and the Chargers would consider MOVING there.

4/30/09   |   raiders1steve   |   10 respect

(Edited by raiders1steve)

San Antonio/Austin corridor is HEAVY with Dallas Cowboys fans...WOAI-San Antonio is a 50,000 watt station that blasts the Cowboys games-All over Texas(outside of Texas) and even to south texas and possibly as far south as Mexico city.The Cowboys have their games in spanish also and they have some stations in mexico that carry their games-hence a HUGE pressence of fans in Mexico!! People in Texas/Oklahoma/ Arkansas/Louisiana/New Mexico..especially follow the Cwboys because they(for the MOST part) have been Winners....and the Cowboys are the  CLOSEST NFL franchise to them....

4/30/09   |   snbslugger

Big_Country78 wrote:
Are you serious!?!  3 words San Antonio Texas.  7th largest city in america, been dying for a team for 20 years, they'd sell out every game for 15 years at least.  All they got now is the Spurs (which are damn good, but football in San Antonio would be the bomb).  Columnbus aint Shite.

There are three pages to the article.  Check page 2.  San Antonio is on the list.

Reading is fundamental.

4/30/09   |   shox13191

I love the idea of Columbus getting a franchise.  Imagine it.. Cleveland, Cincinatti, and Columbus in the Three C's Tri-City Rivalry.  I would tune in to that.

4/30/09   |   Seachickenhawk

The thing about Los Angeles is that IT DOESN'T REALLY CARE.  No one really noticed that Al and Georgia packed up their teams and split.  There are so many other entertainment options in SoCal that eight games a year wasn't really enough to keep people interested.  Not to mention that when the Seahawks to their soon to be new offices in SoCal, the news was met with a great sense of apathy.

Towards the end, the Rams and Raiders had poor attendance and neither teams' owners could get a new stadium built in nearby communities.  Therefore the Scrams and Traitors took off to "greener" pastures.

4/30/09   |   WhoDat12   |   2252 respect

It would be unfair to the USC Trojans to put an NFL franchise in Los Angeles.

4/30/09   |   jswol54   |   20819 respect

I can't see any professional sports team making their home in Vegas.  Too much of a conflict of interest.

4/30/09   |   Poli_   |   93 respect

 man - a team in Vegas would be a blast! Imagine following your home team to an away game weekend in Vegas? Does Texas really need another team? Alaska or Hawaii have a better chance than Mexico or Canada...

4/30/09   |   jswol54   |   20819 respect

If LA is ever awarded another franchise, U$C's payroll will still be larger. 

4/30/09   |   BearcatFan   |   6 respect

Big_Country78 wrote:
Are you serious!?!  3 words San Antonio Texas.  7th largest city in america, been dying for a team for 20 years, they'd sell out every game for 15 years at least.  All they got now is the Spurs (which are damn good, but football in San Antonio would be the bomb).  Columnbus aint Shite.

If you aint livin in Texas, you aint shite.  Texas needs like, 8 football teams.  And they should be allowed to have 14 players on each side of the ball, because the teams need to be bigger...because they are in Texas.

4/30/09   |   Big_Country78   |   38 respect

Are you serious!?!  3 words San Antonio Texas.  7th largest city in america, been dying for a team for 20 years, they'd sell out every game for 15 years at least.  All they got now is the Spurs (which are damn good, but football in San Antonio would be the bomb).  Columnbus aint Shite.

4/30/09   |   radiowave000   |   145 respect

give it a couple of more years: Toronto Bills, L.A. Jags..end of story.., .

4/30/09   |   BearcatFan   |   6 respect

Chief_aka_James wrote:
Agreed most with the first point: "While I doubt an expansion team in the NFL will be coming in the next 15-20 years"  Expansion shouldn't have even been hinted at here IMO..I could only imagine how a scheduling system that is damn near perfect now be all screwed up by having a 33rd or even 34th team in the league..Horrible thoughts come to mind.

As long as we keep it to relocation, I like the list of cities you have there, San Antonio for some reason sticked out as the best candidate to me out of the group..although if their uniforms would resemble anything close to what the Spurs have, I would have to hate them Day 1.

The scheduling system does work well now, and having an odd number of teams would be bad, but adding two teams would be doable.  Besides, there has already been rumor of reducing the preseason by half, and adding more weeks to the regular season, so it is not that big of a stretch.

4/30/09   |   Chief_aka_James   |   3292 respect

Raider_Dave wrote:
Very nice job Scott.  While I doubt an expansion team in the NFL will be coming in the next 15-20 years, it is hard to ignore all of these other deserving markets.  To truly globalize the sport, a team in Toronto or Mexico City would be nearby and simple ideas on the outset.  However, the only way a team would go to one of those cities is if the Buffalo Bills were moved to Toronto or the San Diego Chargers were moved to Mexico City.  Two bottom third teams in total revenue that need a new stadium or a new jolt to be able to compete with the upper echelon of $$ making teams.

While I think each market deserves to have the team it currently does, the sport is a business, and any viable option for a team to make the most money for the owners and their local markets, will be done in the end.  I just hope the 49ers, Raiders, Chargers are not one of the candidates if this idea were to be seriously considered.  But who knows, there's always going to be that bottom line.
(Edited by Chief_aka_James)

Agreed most with the first point: "While I doubt an expansion team in the NFL will be coming in the next 15-20 years"  Expansion shouldn't have even been hinted at here IMO..I could only imagine how a scheduling system that is damn near perfect now be all screwed up by having a 33rd or even 34th team in the league..Horrible thoughts come to mind.

As long as we keep it to relocation, I like the list of cities you have there, San Antonio for some reason sticked out as the best candidate to me out of the group..although if their uniforms would resemble anything close to what the Spurs have, I would have to hate them Day 1.

4/30/09   |   fred77008   |   17 respect

A team in Vegas?  I think the odds are against that.

4/29/09   |   Raider_Dave   |   47 respect

Very nice job Scott.  While I doubt an expansion team in the NFL will be coming in the next 15-20 years, it is hard to ignore all of these other deserving markets.  To truly globalize the sport, a team in Toronto or Mexico City would be nearby and simple ideas on the outset.  However, the only way a team would go to one of those cities is if the Buffalo Bills were moved to Toronto or the San Diego Chargers were moved to Mexico City.  Two bottom third teams in total revenue that need a new stadium or a new jolt to be able to compete with the upper echelon of $$ making teams.

While I think each market deserves to have the team it currently does, the sport is a business, and any viable option for a team to make the most money for the owners and their local markets, will be done in the end.  I just hope the 49ers, Raiders, Chargers are not one of the candidates if this idea were to be seriously considered.  But who knows, there's always going to be that bottom line.