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July 1, 2004

Can't escape

You would think that during the summer we wouldn't have to keep hearing about stadium issues, but in this blasted state we can never escape them. A couple of weeks ago the rumors were floating around that Red McCombs was going to sell to Glen Taylor. Now, more than one news source is reporting that McCombs is going to try to move the team to LA for the beginning of the 2008 season.

This is such a load of crap, I can't believe we are even taking Red seriously. Let's take a look at the reasons why Red will never move the team to LA:

  1. The Vikings have a lease in the Metrodome until 2011. Tagliabue has already said that teams with leases will not be moving. He said this at a news conference during last year's Super Bowl.
  2. The MSFC has the infamous "Rozelle letter" which guarantees the state of Minnesota a football team until 2011. There is no getting around this letter. It was even signed off by the NFL lawyers of the time, one of which was Tagliabue.
  3. There is no way the NFL gives a relative ownership newcomer like Red McCombs the lucrative LA market. No way. As Shooter is reporting today, the NFL is much more likely to give this $800 million market to a guy like Tom Benson of the Saints. The Chargers also make much more sense to move to LA as their lease has already expired, and the team already practices in LA. Sid reported way back in January:
    "With an impasse in San Diego about the building of a new football stadium after the city built a new baseball stadium, the consensus at the Super Bowl was that if the Chargers don't get a new facility, they will definitely move to Los Angeles, either in a new stadium or a remodeled Los Angeles Coliseum. NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue said he hopes to be able to report something on the Los Angeles situation this spring. Tagliabue made it very clear again at his Houston news conference that teams with leases will not be moving. However, he talked about how much need there is for a new Vikings stadium in Minnesota."

    Obviously, Tags did not get a chance to clarify the LA situation, probably to give Red and other owners the chance to hold us all hostage for new stadiums. Very savvy.
  4. Where in the world would the Vikings, or another team for that matter, play in LA? Right now the only option they have is the LA Coliseum, and already two teams have left that dump (the Raiders and Rams). There has been talk about making the Rose Bowl more of an NFL venue, but so far there has only been talk. There is no plan, and there is certainly no funding. If Red moved the team to LA he would be in the exact same boat he is in now. He would need (or demand) a new stadium. His move to LA just doens't make any sense.

Have no fear Vikings fans. The Vikings are here to stay. Besides, did you know the Chargers moved from LA to San Diego? A move back just makes more sense. There are at least 3 other owners that have been in this business longer than Red that have the seniority to move to LA. Red is stuck.

Posted by snackeru at July 1, 2004 8:47 AM | Vikings


I sincerely hope that you are right. LA is the only leverage Red has, which could be why these rumors have popped up again. Perhaps Red is close to selling the team to Glen Taylor, and is pulling out all of the stops to drive the price up. I agree that it looks bleak for Red to be able to move the team. After all, the Twins were forced to play on a much weaker lease than the Vikings have. Please, Glen Taylor, step up and buy the team. Send Red back to Texas!

Curt in Grand Forks

Posted by: Curt Hanson at July 1, 2004 9:21 AM

One correction I need to make here Shane. The Rose Bowl is in the process of upgrading their stadium. Reps from there have visited Green Bay about 2-3 weeks ago and talked with the architects and Green Bay management about how they redid Lambeau. They are very serious about this as the Rose Bowl needs major renovations. So it would not surprise me if this is where the NFL team would play until a new stadium is built there. Or the NFL could come to an agreement with the Rose Bowl to foot some of the costs of playing there with the agreement that that would be the home of the new LA franchise. It would be a cheaper way to make it happen.

Posted by: Cheesehead Craig at July 1, 2004 1:42 PM

They may have visited Green Bay, but so have the Vikings. A visit doesn't mean adequate funding is available to make the Rose Bowl into an NFL stadium. The last I saw, the city of LA voted down an attempt at securing funding to fix up the Rose Bowl for the NFL. Hence the lack of any announcement by Tagliabue, I should think. I know that the Rose Bowl would be the place an NFL team would play, but the second they get there they will start demanding a new stadium. I would think Tagliabue would want funding to be secured before he makes the final decision on who will move there.

Posted by: Shane at July 1, 2004 3:50 PM

My point is that the Rose Bowl needs to fix itself up anyway, so it is not just for the NFL. They visited Lambeau on how to renovate an existing stadium without tearing it down. What is a possibility is that the NFL could help out financially with those renovations and have an arraingement for a team to play there, when one is moved there, until a full blown stadium is made. No doubt a NFL only stadium will be built, but the Rose Bowl is a nice place to play in the meanwhile.

Posted by: Cheesehead Craig at July 1, 2004 4:03 PM

I think that we need to remember that one of the articles in question was written by Charley Walters. Don't get me wrong, I like him and his columns, but he does have a reputation for printing the slightest rumor. The other school of thought as far as LA goes is that having no team in that market really helps the TV contract, as viewers in LA (and there are a lot of them) are guaranteed games every week. Both the Rams and Raiders struggled with attendance, enough so that blackouts were a real concern. I have not always accepted this argument, but I have heard it discussed in national media sources.

Curt in Grand Forks (where the lead story on the sports last night was about the local American Legion baseball team)

Posted by: Curt Hanson at July 1, 2004 7:08 PM

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