The Los Angeles Chargers have been an almost unfailing guide for how to fail as an NFL team, which is why there are still a few Raiders fans and Oakland civic types who still hold out hope that their team's move to Las Vegas will somehow be derailed and the team will be forced to return helmet in hand to the place that spawned them.
Yeah, well, no.
The Chargers, whose on-field fortunes have already outstripped their popularity in Los Angeles, were rumored to have lowered their revenue projections from $400 million/year in the new stadium they will share in all ways but the profits with the Los Angeles Rams to around $150 million. Apparently nobody thinks buying a PSL for anything that includes Chargers games is a wise investment, and really, who can blame them?
But San Diegans who keep thinking the NFL will shame the Chargers into returning, again helmet in hand, to Bordertown, are being disabused of that notion by a report in Pro Football Talk that claims the team is contractually and financially committed to Inglewood for at least 20 years, effectively ending whatever pipe-based dreams Charger fans may have of having the team returned to their ancestral home.
No, wait, that's Los Angeles, too.
But we digress. The point is, the lawyers who worked diligently to make the L.A. Chargers and L.A. Rams a real thing made sure that anyone buying into the pleasure of the NFL in L.A. would be guaranteed a minimum of 20 pro games a year for those two decades. In other words, ain't nobody going noplace no time soon.
And such is the case in Vegas, where sources have confirmed similar news, that the contracts are stiffly worded to make sure the Raiders uphold their commitments to Nevada, from whence they got $750 million, and to the banks and bankers who are helping with the rest of the deal. Barring a global catastrophe that hits The Strip but skips the Bay Area, the people lamenting the Khalil Mack trade in two years will live predominantly in the desert. I guess that means happy happy joy joy for people who proclaim good riddance to the Davises and Grudens, even though they largely don't mean it.
The fact that the NFL screwed up Los Angeles royally – again, and this time twice – is of no consequence to those who believe that teams belong in part to the people who love and support them. Teams have abandoned such fan pockets as St. Louis, San Diego, Oakland and are in the process of gradually putting the same hammer to Jacksonville. For the most part, people who angry at the way they have been treated but have dealt with the wound.
But those who haven't yet learned to transition (mostly San Diegans, though St. Louis is suing the rams and the league for beating feet out of town) are in for a long haul of more disappointment. Even the talk that the Oakland city lawsuit against the NFL and the Raiders is close to being filed should not be regarded as a hopeful sign because the remedy in case of victory is not the return of the team but a few overstuffed bags of money for the city and Alameda County, which doubtless will not be passed on to any of you.
In short, in case you were wondering whether the continued failings of the Los Angeles market and the embarrassing bumblings of the league in assuring those failures could somehow undo the events that led them all to this pit of despair, stop. It doesn't do that at all. Whether L.A. ever embraces the Chargers or Vegas the Raiders, the teams will never be San Diego's or Oakland's ever again.
You see, kids, when the NFL makes a mistake like this, it not only declares victory where there is only defeat, but makes sure the lawyers they hire make the deals as binding as possible.
Yep. It's another bucketful of bidness as usual, when the NFL outthinks itself. Either way, your last-ditch fantasies aren't happening, so play the lottery instead. Your chances are no worse, and at least you can dream that if you hit, you could buy a suite for all the Raider games you could ever want.
Or, more likely, keep the money and extend a finger of good cheer southward.