If a NFL franchise leaves a major metro and nobody cares …does it make a noise?
By Kyle Magin
When you check in on San Diego 8 or 18 months from now, when Chargers owner Dean Spanos and his team finally decide to leave town, don’t be surprised to find out that nobody in that fine burg much cares that they’ve been left behind by the biggest sports league on Earth.
In fact, don’t be surprised if they don’t see it that way at all.
The Chargers and the NFL are cellulite on the thighs of America’s most beautiful city. They played in a dumpy stadium far outside downtown, nestled between strip malls and inexplicably expensive housing developments with names like Sudden Valley.
The league terrorized and turned its back on one of that metropolis’s favorite sons in Junior Seau, leaving him to blow a hole in his chest at the age of 43 so his damaged head would be preserved for science.
The team, under Spanos’ direction, asked the city and county to cough up hundreds of millions from its coffers so the billionaire could re-home his underachieving outfit with other people’s money, making profit realization all the more expedient.
Literally nothing about the team or the league for years has been loveable, personable or fan-friendly. The city’s reasonable $350 million offer (Read: paltry, in the eyes of Spanos and the NFL) to help finance the team’s move to a new stadium was deemed not to be enough for the Chargers, who want their cake and would like to eat it, too. And then help themselves to a piece of yours.
Parting with the NFL is in fact the sanest move any municipality can make, especially when they’re asked to foot the bill. So when you see San Diegans enjoying their ocean-side parks, their fabulous downtown baseball stadium and their warm fall Sundays sans a football team later this year, don’t wonder how they’re getting along, wonder instead how you can get a piece of that contentment.
Whose moving van can you help pack for the next time they threaten to leave because their 30-year-old venue doesn’t have suite windows tinted darkly enough to do cocaine behind?
Who can you make a laughably ungenerous offer to when they want to see what the public can do to help out with the new digs they’d like to make billions of dollars on without spending their own money?
What oligarch can you happily purge from your city’s rolls by refusing to do business with the NFL on its terms?
I personally can’t wait for the next time the Ford family asks the City of Detroit and the State of Michigan for public money to finance their culturally worthless franchise. I may even move back to the Great Lakes State just to pop a cork when we use our newly found backbone to tell the Lions to take a hike if they think they can get a better deal elsewhere.
The loss of a public welfare-seeking NFL franchise and all of its accompanying baggage in 2016 is cause for celebration, not sadness.
Envy San Diego for all of its million advantages, but especially this week because they get to tell a billionaire to take his ball and go to LA.