Little Optimism For San Diego Chargers At NFL Meetings
Wednesday, December 14, 2016
Photo by Associated Press
League Commissioner Roger Goodell isn't saying whether he's optimistic that San Diego keep its team.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell isn't saying whether he's optimistic that San Diego and Oakland can keep their teams, while Indianapolis owner Jim Irsay considers both franchises all but gone.
Dean Spanos of the Chargers and the Raiders' Mark Davis weren't talking at the NFL owners meeting Wednesday in the Dallas area. And no new specifics were revealed by Goodell a day after city and county officials in Oakland agreed to open negotiations with an investment group on a $1.3 billion plan for a new stadium.
"As you know, these issues have been going on for an awful long time," Goodell said. "The challenges of getting stadiums built is something that we've worked very hard on. We have not made great progress in Oakland and San Diego. There is not a stadium proposal on the table that we think addresses the long-term issues of the clubs and the communities."
NFL team owners granted the Chargers two measures that would clear the way for their move to Los Angeles: the approval of a lease agreement with the LA Rams to share that team's stadium in Inglewood, due to open in 2019; and the waiver of the league's debt restrictions to allow the Chargers to finance a $650 million relocation fee.
The Chargers face a Jan. 15 deadline to decide whether to join the Rams in Los Angeles, part of a deal struck almost a year ago when owners agreed to let the Rams leave St. Louis. A Chargers-written ballot measure asking for $1.15 billion in increased hotel taxes to help fund a new downtown stadium was soundly defeated last month.
Earlier this year, Davis said he was committed to moving the Raiders to Las Vegas, where a $1.9 billion stadium project has been approved. He declined to comment Wednesday when asked by The Associated Press about the vote a day earlier in Oakland.
The Raiders will have from the end of their season, which will likely include their first trip to the playoffs since 2002, until Feb. 15 to apply for relocation. Irsay didn't offer any encouraging words for San Diego or Oakland.
"I think that there is at this point really no reason for optimism in either market for the Chargers and Raiders right now," Irsay said. "We'll see what happens. That's the way it appears to be going with the year ending here."
Irsay said it would be "fruitless" to extend the deadline facing the Chargers on their Los Angeles decision. He suggested that Spanos and Rams owner Stan Kroenke would reach an agreement to share Kroenke's new stadium in Inglewood.
"You know this process has been going on for a very, very long time in San Diego," Irsay said. "Dean's going to need to make a decision on what's best for the Chargers and go forward. I know as owners we all felt two teams could be supported in Los Angeles, unquestionably."
Goodell said the NFL was still committed to keeping the teams in their respective cities, a point he said he reiterated with San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer on Tuesday.
"But ultimately it's for the community to decide," Goodell said. "We have worked to try to get the referendum passed. And we'll continue to work with the local officials. But ultimately, they have to determine what it is they want to do in the community, what it is that can work for the community and the team."
Among other issues Goodell addressed:
—The salary cap will increase at least another $10 million for the fourth year in a row, which Goodell said was a sign that the labor deal reached in 2011 was working. "This is healthy for us," Goodell said. "We should continue to find ways to continue to extend that and make sure that we address things that we think we could make better."
When the NFL and the players' union did a long-term deal with no opt-out clause, the idea was to help drive up revenues, which in turn makes the cap rise. The more the cap rises the more cash teams have to spend on players.
Had there been an opt-out clause, as previous collective bargaining agreements had, a lockout or strike scenario would have been possible during the contract.
Goodell mentioned the league is interested in an extension of the CBA. It's unlikely the union would favor anything short of negotiations on a new deal in which both sides could address any perceived shortcomings in the current agreement.
—The NFL will experiment with the number of advertisements in TV breaks during Week 16 games as it continues to evaluate a decline in ratings this season. The changes are not expected to reduce the time for ads, but perhaps the number of ads in a break and how many breaks there are. "We're evaluating every aspect of the game presentation on television, on media platforms and also in stadiums," Goodell said.
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