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NFL Merry-Go-Round: Relocation Roundelay

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This question probably isn't going to win me any fans, but I'm going to ask it anyway...

To all the St. Louis Rams fans - I understand that you're upset because your team is moving back to Los Angeles. My question is this - did it ever bother you that Los Angeles Rams fans had to lose their NFL team in order for you to get one? I'm not trying to be a jerk or rub it in, etc., I'm seriously asking because back when the Browns left, there was talk of Cleveland getting a relocated team. My thinking back then was I'd never root for a team that relocated to Cleveland. It just didn't seem right to be as upset as we were over losing the Browns and then end up rooting for a team that would have basically done the same thing to it's fanbase that the Browns had done to us.

This is actually a really good question... any Ravens fans old enough to have been upset by the Colts can chime in too.

Allow me. I was 16 when the Colts left and 28 when the Ravens move was announced. I remember both events like they were yesterday, so I'm probably qualified.

Edited for quote size....

The bottom line is that I'm pretty sure every Ravens fans would have preferred to get an expansion team instead of a relocated team. However, sometimes you have to do what you have to do . . . and if they didn't move to Baltimore, they would have gone somewhere else, so . . .

I'm pretty sure it is a lot easier to wait for 3 years when you know for the last 2.5 years that a new team was coming than to wait 13 years and have no idea whether a new team will ever materialize.

As Browns fans, our thought at the time was "how can Baltimore fans root for this team after what happened with the Colts?" That being said, of all the cities that got jerked around in the expansion process back then, Baltimore was the one that got jerked around the most. So I guess I sort of get it.

With regard to the replacement Browns - yes, it was definitely easier once Browns fans knew they were getting a new Browns team. My guess is it's mostly older fans like me that have never been able to look at the new Browns as the "real" Browns - and I'm pretty sure there aren't that many of us. Point being, it all worked out in the end. The new Browns are the only Browns team a lot of fans have ever known. To them, the old Browns are probably a lot like the old Cleveland Rams are to me - a team that was in Cleveland before they were even born.

Not for nothing, but if I had a choice of all the options available - replacement expansion team, relocated team, or the Rams option; coming back after 20 years - I'd prefer the Rams option. But that's easy to say when I'm sitting here at the end of the 20 year wait. B)

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Tom Stillman would never rip a team out from under its fanbase.... *cough* Peoria. (Excuse me.)

As LGB! said above, LGB!

I know that's a little tongue-in-cheek, but Stillman didn't exactly rip the team out of Peoria. He sold the team. It's fair to say he knew what the result, would be, though. On the other hand, as I said before, when profitability isn't a guarantee, these things are trickier and more easily defended. Minor league hockey isn't a guaranteed profit. Actually, major league hockey (NHL) isn't a guaranteed profit either. In fact, I think the Blues are still a money losing organization at this point. The minor league franchise in Peoria likely was only making that worse.

I'm still slightly upset, but I've come to rationalize the move on the grounds that Stillman, like all St. Louis-area Blues owners since 1967, is horribly undercapitalized and can barely afford to run a hockey team. Actually the upset is kind of now balanced by the upset over how the team sacrificed its player development on the altar of the Chicago Wolves.

You think Blues player development is worse off with the Wolves than it was before? I understand why that could be felt, but I just don't think it's accurate. We had too many players not develop before for me to feel that way. I'm happy to try the route of "maybe trying to win and not JUST developing could be good for the prospects." I don't think it's been unsuccessful either.

If the Wolves are so good for player development, why don't the Atlanta Thrashers exist anymore and why has Vancouver cratered?

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If the Wolves are so good for player development, why don't the Atlanta Thrashers exist anymore and why has Vancouver cratered?

I didn't say the Wolves were so good for player development. I said I've been happy with what's happened the past couple of years under them and that the Blues were struggling with player development under a previous set up, so I was willing to try something different.

There are any number of reasons why the Thrashers and then the Canucks might have faltered at the NHL level, and they're mostly unrelated to the player development aspect of their minor league system. Maybe they sucked at drafting. Maybe they were trading their assets before they could prove themselves in the NHL. Maybe the NHL team was just under achieving. Those two examples do not prove that the Wolves approach to the AHL is bad for developing talent.

I can't prove it's good either. And I wasn't trying to.

I did believe the alumni of the Peoria Rivermen (and this isn't the fault of Peoria itself obviously) generally underachieved upon reaching the NHL. It wasn't that the Blues weren't getting good players from the AHL or that the Blues were failing at the NHL level. It was that players that I thought should have been more and were expected to be more as prospects were not living up to their billing. Consistently. Thus my lack of satisfaction with that system and my acceptance of trying a new one.

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Allow me. I was 16 when the Colts left and 28 when the Ravens move was announced. I remember both events like they were yesterday, so I'm probably qualified.

Edited for quote size....

The bottom line is that I'm pretty sure every Ravens fans would have preferred to get an expansion team instead of a relocated team. However, sometimes you have to do what you have to do . . . and if they didn't move to Baltimore, they would have gone somewhere else, so . . .

I'm pretty sure it is a lot easier to wait for 3 years when you know for the last 2.5 years that a new team was coming than to wait 13 years and have no idea whether a new team will ever materialize.

As Browns fans, our thought at the time was "how can Baltimore fans root for this team after what happened with the Colts?" That being said, of all the cities that got jerked around in the expansion process back then, Baltimore was the one that got jerked around the most. So I guess I sort of get it.

With regard to the replacement Browns - yes, it was definitely easier once Browns fans knew they were getting a new Browns team. My guess is it's mostly older fans like me that have never been able to look at the new Browns as the "real" Browns - and I'm pretty sure there aren't that many of us. Point being, it all worked out in the end. The new Browns are the only Browns team a lot of fans have ever known. To them, the old Browns are probably a lot like the old Cleveland Rams are to me - a team that was in Cleveland before they were even born.

Not for nothing, but if I had a choice of all the options available - replacement expansion team, relocated team, or the Rams option; coming back after 20 years - I'd prefer the Rams option. But that's easy to say when I'm sitting here at the end of the 20 year wait. B)

Here's a story from February 2007 when Chicago was in a state of euphoria in the two weeks before Super Bowl 41. I remember listening to sports radio when all the blowhards and sniveling pieces of crap who sneer at your favorite teams were rewarded for such actions with a ten-day trip to Miami free of charge to cover the game. Anyway, the Chicago hosts ran into some radio guy from Baltimore, so they had a half-hour or so discussion with him on air. This guys said that he was basically doing everything up to praying for the Bears to win, and that the entire town was pulling for the Bears to beat the Colts.

He gave a long, impassioned speech (in which he got choked up) talking about his former love of the Colts, going to games with his dad and grandfather, and how evil the Irsays were for taking the team from the city which loved it. He said that everybody loved the Ravens, but the pain of losing the Colts was something he would take to his grave. It was probably made worse for him because the hated Colts had just eliminated the Ravens in Baltimore two weeks prior. He said how important it was that the Bears win and that Irsay go to his grave without a title. It was moving to hear how much he still cared about the Colts and how much them losing meant to him.

I got the feeling that a lot of Baltimore fans treated the Ravens like a second wife. They were older and lonely, so their expectations were lower. The Ravens were cute, they had the same interests, and could tolerate living with each other, so they got married. However, Baltimore fans still hate their ex with a passion because they still secretly love her and wished things could go back the way they were.

Leopard - if you were given the option of casting the Ravens off to Godknowswhere and moving the Colts back to Baltimore, would you do it? I imagine that a good portion of older Ravens fans would because the Colts were all they wanted to begin with.

Anyway, to sum up that story for those who don't remember, the Bears failed, giving Irsay his only championship to date and, more embarrassingly, becoming a trivia question about the only season in which Peyton Manning didn't go down in humiliating flames in the playoffs.

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Allow me. I was 16 when the Colts left and 28 when the Ravens move was announced. I remember both events like they were yesterday, so I'm probably qualified.

Edited for quote size....

The bottom line is that I'm pretty sure every Ravens fans would have preferred to get an expansion team instead of a relocated team. However, sometimes you have to do what you have to do . . . and if they didn't move to Baltimore, they would have gone somewhere else, so . . .

I'm pretty sure it is a lot easier to wait for 3 years when you know for the last 2.5 years that a new team was coming than to wait 13 years and have no idea whether a new team will ever materialize.

As Browns fans, our thought at the time was "how can Baltimore fans root for this team after what happened with the Colts?" That being said, of all the cities that got jerked around in the expansion process back then, Baltimore was the one that got jerked around the most. So I guess I sort of get it.

With regard to the replacement Browns - yes, it was definitely easier once Browns fans knew they were getting a new Browns team. My guess is it's mostly older fans like me that have never been able to look at the new Browns as the "real" Browns - and I'm pretty sure there aren't that many of us. Point being, it all worked out in the end. The new Browns are the only Browns team a lot of fans have ever known. To them, the old Browns are probably a lot like the old Cleveland Rams are to me - a team that was in Cleveland before they were even born.

Not for nothing, but if I had a choice of all the options available - replacement expansion team, relocated team, or the Rams option; coming back after 20 years - I'd prefer the Rams option. But that's easy to say when I'm sitting here at the end of the 20 year wait. B)

Here's a story from February 2007 when Chicago was in a state of euphoria in the two weeks before Super Bowl 41. I remember listening to sports radio when all the blowhards and sniveling pieces of crap who sneer at your favorite teams were rewarded for such actions with a ten-day trip to Miami free of charge to cover the game. Anyway, the Chicago hosts ran into some radio guy from Baltimore, so they had a half-hour or so discussion with him on air. This guys said that he was basically doing everything up to praying for the Bears to win, and that the entire town was pulling for the Bears to beat the Colts.

He gave a long, impassioned speech (in which he got choked up) talking about his former love of the Colts, going to games with his dad and grandfather, and how evil the Irsays were for taking the team from the city which loved it. He said that everybody loved the Ravens, but the pain of losing the Colts was something he would take to his grave. It was probably made worse for him because the hated Colts had just eliminated the Ravens in Baltimore two weeks prior. He said how important it was that the Bears win and that Irsay go to his grave without a title. It was moving to hear how much he still cared about the Colts and how much them losing meant to him.

I got the feeling that a lot of Baltimore fans treated the Ravens like a second wife. They were older and lonely, so their expectations were lower. The Ravens were cute, they had the same interests, and could tolerate living with each other, so they got married. However, Baltimore fans still hate their ex with a passion because they still secretly love her and wished things could go back the way they were.

Leopard - if you were given the option of casting the Ravens off to Godknowswhere and moving the Colts back to Baltimore, would you do it? I imagine that a good portion of older Ravens fans would because the Colts were all they wanted to begin with.

Anyway, to sum up that story for those who don't remember, the Bears failed, giving Irsay his only championship to date and, more embarrassingly, becoming a trivia question about the only season in which Peyton Manning didn't go down in humiliating flames in the playoffs.

Yea, that playoff loss to the Colts really, really stung . . . a lot. The Ravens held the Colts to five FGs, but could only muster 6 points themselves . . . and McNair threw a killer INT at the goal line. That game would have hurt no matter who the Ravens were playing, but losing to the Irsays made it especially bitter. It hurt even more to watch the Colts win the Super Bowl . . . one many Ravens fans thought was theirs for the taking.

As for the second wife analogy, it fits to a point. It started off that way, but the new wife turned out to be pretty damn cool and she puts out (i.e., has delivered two Lombardis and is a contender almost every year). I think most fans (except maybe the real oldtimers have come to truly love the Ravens, while still holding fond memories of the first wife. I only had about 10 years of actual personal memories (1974 is the first season I can remember at all and 1975 is the first one I remember well), so my second marriage has already lasted twice as long . . . and is still going strong.

That leads to your last question. In 1995, I sure as hell would have preferred the return of the Colts. Now, unlike Molly Ringwald's dad in Pretty In Pink, I have long since accepted that they're never coming back . . .and I'm more than happy with the ways things have turned out. It probably helps that I have a 14-year-old son and we have been able to develop great Ravens memories together.

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I was worried of facing that Ravens team in the playoffs. I half expected the Chargers to fall apart again (of course they did), but I didn't think we'd have too much of a problem beating them if we faced them in the SB. But the Ravens had a good defense and, with McNair seemingly having a good year, I knew they'd be tough. Looking at the stats now, McNair wasn't really all that good in 2006, but whatever. I'm sure the feeling you had after that game was about what we felt after the Packers won the 2011 NFC championship in Chicago. At least there weren't a bunch of Indy :censored:s living in Baltimore and rubbing your faces in it.

Anyway, thanks for the response. Of course, the interview I mentioned in 2007 came prior to the Ravens' second title, but going off of that, I imagine that radio host would have gladly traded the successful Ravens for the whatever Colts. The love of the Colts will die off over time, as generations are raised Raven fans and the Ravens continue being a model franchise. And in time, Cleveland generations will forget or ignore that the "original Browns" left, and Art Modell will become just a footnote in history. Infrared or fans prior to 1995 might hate Modell when they're 105 years old, but by then there will be 80 year-olds who only know of the current franchise.

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I don't know that you can say Khan would have done it any differently. He's a businessman too.

Is there any indication he was one of the 2 to vote against the move?

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I read somewhere it was Stephen Ross of the Dolphins who was the other one. Of course Richardson would have voted no, he was the one trying to tip the whole thing to Bob Iger and Goldman Sachs.

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I don't know that you can say Khan would have done it any differently. He's a businessman too.

Is there any indication he was one of the 2 to vote against the move?

It's admittedly speculation. But pretty much everyone (accept maybe Davis?) that owns an NFL team is a businessman. Many of them own teams in markets comparable to STL and have had the opportunity to get out of their lease. They didn't because it wasn't their priority.

We have to stop acting like Kroenke made the only reasonable decision possible. He made a reasonable decision. Especially in the context of business. And the NFL is awful and full of self-serving business decisions. But not every owner makes only business decisions.

I would speculate that Khan would have stayed in STL because he not only said it (and yeah, so did Kroenke), but also because when he did get a different team that was in its own precarious situation, his response was to invest and make it work, not to explore his way out.

Can't prove it. Could be wrong. But I THINK Khan would have stayed. I think he would have at least made a sincere effort to stay. Kroenke can only argue he made a sincere effort to follow the lease. He didn't make a sincere effort to stay.

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You bring up an interesting point. The Vikings dangled LA and got a stadium out of it. The Bills didn't, and last I read, they were working with the city/state to try to get a new stadium. You could say the NFL learned its lesson from the Cleveland debacle and wouldn't let a team with a rich history and strong attendance move, such as the Vikings or Bills, but I'm not sure. Either way, a team in LA would be worth a hell of a lot more than a team in Buffalo, and yet there was nothing about the Bills heading west.

I'm not saying St. Louis would ever be a great football market, but if Khan owned the Rams and felt he could financially competitive there, I don't think he would have moved them.

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Yep. I just read this, and I think it might be accurate, in the modern major sports environment, Kroenke might be the only owner in history who hasn't led a charge for a new stadium before moving. He didn't even participate in the publicly driven charge that existed.

He just waited, followed the terms of the lease, and left as soon as he could.

Plenty of owners have been standoffish with public agencies working on stadiums. Plenty of owners have led charges for stadiums that maybe weren't realistic for the market. But I'm not sure any has ever just done...nothing. Kroenke did.

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Closest thing was when the Okies bought the Sonics and proposed a ridiculously expensive arena in Renton, had it declined, and then moved to Oklahoma City like they intended all along.

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That's not the same at all - they never intended to stay and sabotaged efforts to get their own stadium built in WA so they could move.

Kroneke did exactly what was required of him. It was reported (but I can't remember where) that the CVC's pathetic solution to the First Tier requirement really kickstarted the push to LA.

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That's not the same at all - they never intended to stay and sabotaged efforts to get their own stadium built in WA so they could move.

Kroneke did exactly what was required of him. It was reported (but I can't remember where) that the CVC's pathetic solution to the First Tier requirement really kickstarted the push to LA.

That's just the Rams version. It's increasingly clear that all the Rams were doing was exactly what the lease required until they could leave. You're not honestly going to pretend Kroenke wanted to make this work are you?

If you're going to hold the CVC's offer in this regard, let's talk about the Rams offer. $750 million of strictly public money in non-negotiable upgrades for 10 more years in town.

That was the Rams contractual right. But let's not conflate following the contract for trying to stay in St. Louis. They are two very, very different things.

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And in time, Cleveland generations will forget or ignore that the "original Browns" left, and Art Modell will become just a footnote in history. Infrared or fans prior to 1995 might hate Modell when they're 105 years old, but by then there will be 80 year-olds who only know of the current franchise.

Actually, I've never blamed Art Modell for the loss of the Browns - at least not entirely. You'll hear various versions of who is at fault for losing the Browns - some blame Art entirely, others let him entirely off the hook - the truth is there is plenty of blame to go around. The whole thing was a complete cluster- :censored:. I don't hate Art Modell, but I was pretty pissed that he acted like a child who didn't get exactly what he wanted for Christmas.

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That's not the same at all - they never intended to stay and sabotaged efforts to get their own stadium built in WA so they could move.

Kroneke did exactly what was required of him. It was reported (but I can't remember where) that the CVC's pathetic solution to the First Tier requirement really kickstarted the push to LA.

That's just the Rams version. It's increasingly clear that all the Rams were doing was exactly what the lease required until they could leave. You're not honestly going to pretend Kroenke wanted to make this work are you?

If you're going to hold the CVC's offer in this regard, let's talk about the Rams offer. $750 million of strictly public money in non-negotiable upgrades for 10 more years in town.

That was the Rams contractual right. But let's not conflate following the contract for trying to stay in St. Louis. They are two very, very different things.

The neutral arbitrator, agreed to by both parties, found the Rams proposal to be squarely perfectly in line with the contract. He could have tossed out both proposals and encouraged them to meet in the middle, but there's no indication that it was ever close.

So yes, I think they were absolutely bargaining in good faith. Just as I think the city, first the CVC and then Peacock and Co., were not.

I've been screaming my head off for years that the city's response to this oncoming train wreck has been anemic at best and malpractice at worst. (Don't tell me you haven't been bugged by my broken record). They had over a decade to prepare, and everything they've done has been forced by deadlines and exhibiting all the forethought and preparation of a high school freshman scribbling the final lines of his paper as he walks toward his classroom door.

This has been painfully obvious for quite literally years, and if I can see it don't tell me the billionaire at the heart of the matter somehow didn't notice.

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Am I just not saying this clearly enough?

There is a difference between living up to the contract and between trying to stay in St. Louis.

He was doing the former—which was his right—but absolutely not the latter. And I don't think it's particularly debatable, though I keep being surprised.

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Most Browns fans see Modell as at fault for the move.

When the discussion of the Gateway Sports Complex started coming around, he flat out did not want it to happen. His Stadium Corp. had control of Municipal Stadium and could charge rent to the Indians, monster truck rallies, concerts, etc. So, the Gateway Sports Complex went ahead anyways without a new Browns stadium, and built Gund Arena and Jacobs Field. He did want renovations to Municipal Stadium, which was put on the ballot.

Modell's bad business sense had caught up to him. He believed, falsely, that the luxury boxes at Municipal Stadium would still sell without the 81 Indians home games. Jacobs Field was the new 'jewel' of Cleveland, while the 8 regular season games a year at a decrepit old, overbuilt stadium with thousands of obstructed view seats wasn't that popular for the fan dollar. Throw in that the Indians were a team on the rise their first, and the new facility, it drew a lot of interest.

Modell almost immediately began complaining about not having enough money and wanted a new stadium. It was too late to be a part of the Gateway complex by that point. He wanted the renovated stadium, which the city had agreed to put on the ballot. The vote was scheduled for the day after he moved the team. He claimed to want a 'moratorium' on stadium discussions to not interfere with the season. But, then negotiated a deal with Baltimore behind everyone's back.

He claimed he moved to Baltimore because he didn't want to lose the team. Shortly after moving, he sold 49% to Biscotti(sp). After their Super Bowl over the Giants, he sold all but 1% of the team (and that wasn't for sentimental reasons, he had a deal with a Cleveland Businessman to receive a finders fee for selling the team, whether the businessman brokered the deal or someone else did. But, by keeping 1%, he argued he hadn't really sold the team... so, slimy, all the way to the end).

Most Browns fans were happy Modell was gone, but upset the Browns were. And equally pissed by the hypocrisy of Baltimore football fans who so quickly jumped onto a 'relocated team' after having it done to them.

Then, there's the 'the NFL wanted new markets, so our only option was a relocated team'.... so, if the league is that horrible and doesn't want you. Why would you want to be a part of it? Why not put your weight behind the Orioles. Or the CFL Stallions (which were also another victim of the Browns moving).

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