Updated at 9:25 a.m. PT on July 18, 2018 to change name of third team that might move soon. Farmer told me he thought it might be the Oakland Raiders, not the Jacksonville Jaguars. My mistake. CR
By Chuck Ross
According to one of the most powerful NFL owners, it is time for Los Angeles to once again have a professional football team. It’s been almost 20 years since the City of Angels has had an NFL franchise.
Robert Kraft, the owner of one of the most successful NFL teams, the New England Patriots, said yesterday, July 17, 2014, “I think [NFL owners] collectively [are] very concerned that we don't have at least one team in downtown L.A., and would like do everything they can to help facilitate that happening.
“You know, a whole generation of fans [in Los Angeles] has grown up without an NFL team to root for. It's been good for the Patriots, because we have a quarterback [Tom Brady] from [Northern] California that a lot of Californians have branded with. But in the end, we want young people here to be branded to a team.
“And I know that [NFL Commissioner] Roger [Goodell] and I, and a number of the owners who care about the long-term health of the NFL, feel it is very important for our future to have at least one, if not two, teams in downtown L.A. But like he said, the most important thing is to have the right facility. You have so many choices in L.A. of things to do. And your weather is great, the people are great. And if you don't have something really compelling, then people won't be there all the time.”
Kraft made his remarks in a session at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills before the Television Critics Association. He and Commissioner Goodell were part of a panel to discuss "Thursday Night Football" on CBS.
Both Goodell and Kraft responded to a critic’s question about finally getting a team back here in Los Angeles. As Kraft noted, Goodell said the No. 1 issue is getting a new state-of-the-art stadium built here.
Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times, who has long covered the NFL for the paper, was also at the session, and he later told me that he thinks the timing may finally be right for a team moving here. He notes that the San Diego Chargers, the St. Louis Rams and the Oakland Raiders could choose to relocate soon from their present locales.
Furthermore, as Farmer reported in January, Rams owner Stan Kroenke has purchased land in the Inglewood area of Los Angeles (not far from LAX) on which a new stadium could be built. The Rams played in the Los Angeles area from 1946-1994, before moving to St. Louis.
I spoke to Kraft after the TCA session, and he reiterated how eager he and some of the other NFL owners were to get a team back in L.A. He also reiterated that he thought it was important for the future of the NFL to have at least one team here, and that getting other like-minded owners to work toward that goal is essential if a team is to actually come to L.A.