“Could’ve, would’ve, should’ve.” Jim Mora
This is a formal, up front, warning to those who read this article. In wrestling or “Sports Entertainment” terminology this is not a work it’s a shoot. This is how I truly feel about the NFL in STL so lets begin.
I’m hurt, angry, disappointed, dismayed, jaded, apathetic these are just some of the words I’d use to describe my feelings towards the NFL. I don’t hate the player, I hate the game. The game that’s been played on fans that gave their hearts and souls for their favorite St. Louis football team.
It’s funny to think of the NFL in St. Louis saga that has went from no team, to the Cardinals, to no team, to possible expansion team, WHOOPS, actually not, HERE COME THE RAMS!!!! Only to get the fans pockets picked by the NFL once again in an effort for ever-increasing profit margins. How many other markets have had these many opportunities at football, loved it, lived it, supported it, then had it ripped away without cause by the fans or ability to make money within their current market?
Lets cut the B.S. and let’s get down to it shall we? This entire charade was orchestrated for your viewing pleasure by the NFL and their money-making scheming and St. Louis politicians posturing for reelection.
I’ll explain why.
In 1988 when the Big Red left for the desolate desert of Arizona, the NFL wanted nothing to do with allowing the football Cardinals to move to the land of the sun. The NFL wanted owner William “Bill” Bidwell to move the franchise to Baltimore in which the NFL felt was a better area to “Relocate”. Arizona on the other hand was seen within the NFL as a bastion for NFL expansion, in other words it was better for the NFL financially.
St. Louis Mayor Vince Schoemehl and city civic leadership were also villains in all this, not to disregard the NFL’s involvement in the matter nor that of Bidwell. Problem is the fans of NFL football in St. Louis, WE were hung out to dry by big money owners, organizations, and big city politics.
It’s as simple as that, or at least it seems.
At first, Schoemehl was all in with Gene Mcnary (former county executive) on plans of a state of the art facility not far from Riverport Verizon/Hollywood Amphitheater in Maryland Heights, but Schoemehl changed his tune and then wanted the Cardinals to stay within the city and I think anyone reading knows why without explanation. POLITICS. If you would like a very detailed and comprehensive read on the matter I implore any and all the read an article written by the talented Andrew Wagaman of the St. Louis Post Dispatch. Link below
All that being said, this is an opinion piece and it’s my opinion that big money and politics had gotten in the way of keeping the Big Red in STL. Bash the NFL all you want, complain on Bidwell all you want, but blame also lies at the steps of city leadership and their inexcusable inaction.
After the loss of the football Cardinals, the abortion that was the expansion attempt, we managed to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat, at least for a short time until it came to light that once again, St. Louis, Mayor Freeman Bosley J.R., and County Executive George “Buzz” Westfall sold their collective souls in a “Do whatever it takes” to land a team in STL AKA the L.A. Rams and created a sweetheart lease in order for them to escape back to the big money pastures of LA.
So you can see why people feel disenfranchised.
Can you see why people are hurt over yet again losing another NFL franchise?
Is this how you feel? It’s damn sure the way I feel! I’m still pissed off about it. It infuriates me to no end knowing the Big Red would’ve been saved and we never would have had to go through all this mess to begin with. So I can relate to those who are hurting and saying that the NFL will never return in their lifetimes I.E. 25-35 years. I don’t see it that way.
Question remains, how does the NFL return to St. Louis?
Big thing is that no matter what the talking heads might say, the hunger for pro football in STL is alive and well even if there is “no appetite for the NFL in St. Louis.” among city leadership. They will listen when the fans say, “WE WANT OUR FOOTBALL BACK!” just like they did after the football Cardinals left town. Football is in STL’s nature, it’s in her blood. It’s in the family that scraped together enough money for PSL’s to watch the dreadful and woefully bad Rams from ’95 to ’98. It’s in season ticket holders that did not have the opportunity to see a Big Red playoff game at Busch. So no, it’s not up to them, it’s up to you and all other like-minded people. If you want NFL football, if you miss it every season then get out there and make it happen.
Also, there’s the small matter of the lawsuit involving St. Louis V.S. N.F.L. interesting side note former Governor of the Missouri Jay Nixon and former stadium task force member Bob Blitz are working at the firm heading the suit that’s being pushed into discovery. What does that mean? Basically the NFL and it’s owners who’d been shown in the suit are required to show what they knew and when they knew it, ALL OF IT.
This is a court case now, it’s legal. It’s not being held in some private conference room, Jerry Jones isn’t flexing his money muscle, there isn’t a secret ballot vote in some plush destination spot for the NFL owners where they can claim to keep their hands clean of the matter, you know, plausible deniability. If the NFL or any of the owners try to hamper the investigation they’ll be held accountable to the letter of the law. What does that entail? I’m neither a lawyer or paralegal so I couldn’t tell you, but I will say this, I damn sure hope it’s proved in court that they knew well in advance they, the NFL knew they were going to fleece the citizens of St. Louis/Missouri out of there football team and millions of dollars in the process to line their own pockets (If it doesn’t get settled out of court).
All that being said, I don’t think any of this will see the light of day, I’m a realist. I have a basic understanding how these things work, too many people have too much to lose.
There are a few scenarios that can ensue, and these are just a guess on my part.
One: It’s settled out of court for an undisclosed amount of monetary compensation I.E. bonds on the Dome at Americas Center paid in full where as St. Louis and Missouri are no longer held to that debt.
Two: It’s settled for a larger amount that’s owed, but no more than the $645 million relocation fee the Rams paid to move to LA.
Three: If you haven’t picked up what I’m putting down yet this is my preferred scenario, The NFL settles with the city for the rest of the Dome bonds, pledges $300-$500 million to construction of a new state of the art stadium, waive the expansion fee of $500 million* (*depends on timing), Iron clad 50 year lease with no escape clauses for a new St. Louis expansion team, and if you haven’t guessed it yet, a new NFL expansion team to boot.
There is a slight chance it goes all the way to court, which I highly doubt.
The lawsuit needs to be dealt with in order for a chance at the NFL returning to STL. Unless there is a concession on the NFL’s part.
Yup, but it also will take the local fan base to stand up and say “We want the NFL”
Cleveland, with the threat of suit, the NFL put the franchise into a 3 year “deactivation” until either a team relocated there or they would be gifted an expansion. Now this is a completely different animal than what happened in STL, but there are many similarities.
Once again, this is pure speculation and a guess on my part so take this with a pinch of salt.
Threat of a court case exposing the NFL’s crooked back room business deals would hurt business and the NFL couldn’t afford a black eye of that nature not with two new leagues coming into existence in the next two years the AAF and XFL. Same lies with the STL situation. I believe that the NFL pushed for the Rams to move out of STL I don’t give Stan Kroenke enough credit to think it up on his own. This, compounded by the brain trust at New York NFL headquarters. I don’t buy for a second that Kroenke planned this all along on his own without the heavy help of the NFL.
It’s possible Kroenke was approached before the purchase of the Rams, but after the passing of Georgia Frontiere by the NFL with a plan to reënter the LA market. I think the discovery process could show this. I feel all this happened around 2010. I feel that this was planned by NFL powers that be. Too many pieces have come to light, Jeff Fisher, former head coach had been quoted in 2016 about his 2012 hiring stating “I decided on L.A., or St. Louis at the time, knowing there was going to be a pending move.” Per Fox Sports Via Fansided please read the article attached.
So the fix was in from at least 2012, I feel since ’10, but all that being said I truly feel that the NFL had no other option to make it work in LA. They were never EVER going to get public funds to build a stadium that people wanted to go to out there in LA. They failed with an expansion attempt which went to Houston TX in 2002. Stan was the only person with the available cash to build his own stadium and then some plus a bag of chips. It’s all in the numbers. I hate to admit it, but it looks like the case.
St. Louis was the odd man out in a sinister game of musical chairs. Question is after knowing what we know now, after seeing the full force of NFL treachery in their search for bigger and better profits.
Would you root for another NFL team in STL? I can tell you my answer. I’m willing and ready to forgive, not forget.
I’ll tell you my perfect scenario, I want The Big Red back in the STL. I know it’s a long shot, but why would Michael Bidwell, the son of William “Bill” Bidwell suddenly started doing charity work within St. Louis doing things that wasn’t expected. He has visited the area several times since the Rams left. Before that, when was the last time a Bidwell was in STL for a good time? I might be reaching, here are some of their current details
Stadium: University of Phoenix Stadium
Team annual rent cost: $304,749 in 2017
Lease expiration: 2036
Stadium owner: Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority
Amount of public subsidy toward stadium construction: $300.4 million from surcharge on tickets to events at stadium as well as a tourism tax. City of Glendale contributed $9.9 million.
Original construction cost: $455.7 million
All that being said, don’t think that there weren’t several owners very interested in the STL Stadium proposal, forget the extra $100 million they were “Fundamentally” against being they turned around weeks later and offered the same $100 million to San Diego and Oakland to stay in their former markets with no proposal in sight for either market.
STL has it together for the most part, at least more than some cities and their push for an NFL team.
I am ready for some football!
Only if it’s The Big Red or an expansion with an iron clad lease.
Thanks for reading
Derek King Sports