By Danny Cox
Big-time officials have been trying for years now to get an NFL team back into Los Angeles, but they have been repeatedly unsuccessful. They have tried to get numerous struggling teams to pack up shop and move out west. One big problem is that the city that used to house two NFL teams simply doesn’t seem as appealing anymore.
There have been times that officials from California have tried getting the Minnesota Vikings, Buffalo Bills, and even the Jacksonville Jaguars to abandon their current fan base and move to Los Angeles. None of them bought in on the deal, and the most current target is the Carolina Panthers.
Only, it doesn’t seem as if they are going anywhere soon either.
Carolina owner Jerry Richardson has been being courted by California officials for some time now in hopes that the Panthers will head west. Sources close to the situation state that the officials have been having no luck and doesn’t appear they will be.
Richardson has been polite, but adamant that he is committed to Charlotte and won’t be moving the Panthers organization.
The source did say that there is one condition in which Richardson would seriously listen to offers from California officials. Per the source, if Charlotte would not help Richardson with stadium improvements and renovations for the Panthers, then Richardson may reconsider staying put.
A statement from Richardson was released on Sunday afternoon where the Panthers’ owner said “nothing has changed” about his devotion to the Carolina area.
“It has always been my desire that the Carolinas would be the home of our Panthers. Nothing has changed. As someone who was born in North Carolina and lived much of my life in South Carolina, I hope that there would be no doubts about my personal devotion to the Carolinas,” he said.
When the Democratic National Convention was in Charlotte, Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa was the chairman of the convention. Barack Obama was actually scheduled to have a speech in Richardson’s Bank of America Stadium, but it was moved due to the weather.
This is when a number of talks between Richardson and Los Angeles took place.
One of the biggest, and most interesting, things that Los Angeles officials found out is that Carolina is one of four NFL teams that own their own stadium. This means that they would not have to break a lease or go through any litigation issues to move, if they so choose to do so.
The other three are the Washington Redskins, Miami Dolphins, and New England Patriots. None of those teams are really going anywhere anytime soon.
It certainly does seem that the easiest target of the four is that of the Carolina Panthers. That is true even more this season as the Panthers are struggling incredibly and sitting in dead last of the NFC South.
Even though Carolina was the easiest target of the four, the courtship put on by Los Angeles officials has been unsuccessful and seems like it always will be. Well, that is unless the city of Charlotte decides to lose all support for the Panthers and shun Richardson.
A statement was released by the spokesman for Mayor Villaraigosa saying that there have only been general discussions about relocation with several NFL teams.
“Mayor Villaraigosa did meet with Mr. Richardson while he was in Charlotte for the DNCC, but there was not at that time, nor has there been since specific discussions by the mayor with him regarding relocating the Panthers to L.A.,” spokesman Peter Sanders said. “There have been general discussions with a variety of NFL owners and league executives about the process of getting a team to Los Angeles, but not a concerted effort to bring the Panthers to California.”
Unless the NFL is looking to bring in some expansion teams, which isn’t likely, then it looks like Los Angeles may be waiting a long time for professional football yet again.
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Danny Cox knows a little something about the NFL, whether it means letting you know what penalty will come from the flag just thrown on the field or quickly spouting off who the Chicago Bears drafted in the first round of the 1987 draft (Jim Harbaugh). He plans on bringing you the best news, previews, recaps, and anything else that may come along with the exciting world of the National Football League. His work can be found on Examiner.com.