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4 hours ago, BringBackTheVet said:

The trolling who did?  That media guy with that stupid story?  Or were fans holding rallies where they were yelling "nanny nanny boo boo" towards LA?

Both. Since this was 1995, I’m still searching for quotes and photos, especially the “Sorry LA” sign. But it DID happen.

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1 hour ago, DDR said:

 

Wasn't it that St. Louis couldn't get their crap together, forcing the NFL to go with Jacksonville? I'm not sure if that's 100% true or not, but I'd always heard that the NFL really wanted St. Louis to put together a viable bid so they could award them a team, but St. Louis badly botched the process.

Jacksonville actually had an ownership group ready to start a team, St. Louis had nothing close.

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1 hour ago, DDR said:

Wasn't it that St. Louis couldn't get their crap together, forcing the NFL to go with Jacksonville? I'm not sure if that's 100% true or not, but I'd always heard that the NFL really wanted St. Louis to put together a viable bid so they could award them a team, but St. Louis badly botched the process.

 

It was a combination of many things, but in the end the city botched the bid.  Didn't the NFL give them extra time to get their act together, postponing the final expansion announcement after awarding a franchise to Carolina?  Once again, the league saw something in the city that's hard to explain.

 

7 minutes ago, dont care said:

Jacksonville actually had an ownership group ready to start a team, St. Louis had nothing close.

 

I also remember that the NFL really liked Wayne Weaver as a potential owner.  Personality counts for a lot, especially among this crowd (just ask the Spanos family).  The NFL even tried to get Weaver to join the St. Louis bid, but he didn't think it was a good football town.  FWIW.

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1 minute ago, Gothamite said:

 

It was a combination of many things, but in the end the city botched the bid.  Didn't the NFL give them extra time to get their act together, postponing the final expansion announcement after awarding a franchise to Carolina?  Once again, the league saw something in the city that's hard to explain.

 

 

I also remember that the NFL really liked Wayne Weaver as a potential owner.  Personality counts for a lot, especially among this crowd (just ask the Spanos family).  The NFL even tried to get Weaver to join the St. Louis bid, but he didn't think it was a good football town.  FWIW.

 

I think it came down to the likability of the owner and whether or not the expansion fee check would clear. Whether or not the market would be financially lucrative was an afterthought.

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51 minutes ago, Gothamite said:

 

It was a combination of many things, but in the end the city botched the bid.  Didn't the NFL give them extra time to get their act together, postponing the final expansion announcement after awarding a franchise to Carolina?  Once again, the league saw something in the city that's hard to explain.

 

I also remember that the NFL really liked Wayne Weaver as a potential owner.  Personality counts for a lot, especially among this crowd (just ask the Spanos family).  The NFL even tried to get Weaver to join the St. Louis bid, but he didn't think it was a good football town.  FWIW.

 

Doesn't seem that hard to explain at all. From the New York Times, Oct. 28, 1993:

 

Quote

Although club owners will not say it publicly, they want St. Louis because it is the largest market of any bidding city and the largest market without an N.F.L. team. 

 

The story goes on to outline the other expansion bidders' frustration with the league extending the expansion period so they could research a last-minute bid for St. Louis, led by Kroenke, of all people. 

 

I think we've learned from a lot of subsequent expansions that the biggest markets aren't always the best markets, but it's not like the league just really liked the restaurants here or something. They were playing a numbers game. The L.A. relocations show they're still playing that game.

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8 minutes ago, Gothamite said:

 

It was a combination of many things, but in the end the city botched the bid.  Didn't the NFL give them extra time to get their act together, postponing the final expansion announcement after awarding a franchise to Carolina?  Once again, the league saw something in the city that's hard to explain.

 

I know that the entire process was delayed a year (I think because of labor issues?) but I'm fairly certain JAX was announced as team #30 a month after Carolina. Accordingly to Wikipedia, it's never been confirmed but speculation is because the league wanted something to come out of St. Louis. But it seems like the St. Louis bid was a pure disaster and the league eventually went with Jacksonville.

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16 minutes ago, Gothamite said:

It was a combination of many things, but in the end the city botched the bid.  Didn't the NFL give them extra time to get their act together, postponing the final expansion announcement after awarding a franchise to Carolina?  Once again, the league saw something in the city that's hard to explain.

The NFL clearly thought that they could get a Cards/Blues level of following in the city; which, to be fair, I think Blues-level was certainly achievable for an NFL team. The problem, of course, is that the team that went there ended up getting stuck with management that failed to capture that level of following because they just...weren't that successful; outside of 99-03, the Rams didn't exactly do well in terms of success in St. Louis. And it's not easy to endear yourself, as a relocation franchise, to a new city if you're spending most of the time in the basement.

 

It's not exactly easy to cheer for a team when that team's gone twelve seasons with a losing record and eleven since even making the postseason, especially when you're in a market against teams that seem to perennially make the postseason and when the team's ownership is dysfunctional. A lot of things contributed to the failing of the Rams in St. Louis.

 

Had the Rams had more success in the market and were a solid #3 in the city, I think it's entirely possible the Rams stay in St. Louis. The problem, of course, is that wasn't the reality that took shape; instead, they were pretty awful for most of their tenure.

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5 minutes ago, QCS said:

I know that the entire process was delayed a year (I think because of labor issues?) but I'm fairly certain JAX was announced as team #30 a month after Carolina. Accordingly to Wikipedia, it's never been confirmed but speculation is because the league wanted something to come out of St. Louis. But it seems like the St. Louis bid was a pure disaster and the league eventually went with Jacksonville.


The reporting from the period seems to confirm this. Apparently Walter Payton was part of the Kroenke group, and this passage from a Dec. 1, 1993, story in the Chicago Tribune explains a bit why the other owners didn't feel secure with the St. Louis bid. 
 

Quote


Payton's role wavered when St. Louis switched ownership groups in midstream. Although he appeared Tuesday with new prospective owner Stan Kroenke and was going to get a 2 percent share, Payton was an example of the confusion over ownership and the new stadium lease that tumbled St. Louis from front-runner to also-ran.

 

At the last minute, the Kroenke group tried to calm owners' concerns over potential lawsuits by offering to stay in old Busch Stadium and make up the money difference until lease issues could be resolved in the new domed stadium, now under construction.

 

 

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Should I post the greatest post about the Rams' St. Louis tenure, as made by @rams80?

 

Quote

Mods can merge this into the megathread if they want, but this is a bit longformy so I thought I might try it as a standalone.

 

Greeting new and old Rams fans! I am Rams80, and I have taken it upon myself to be something of your tutor in what it means to be a Rams fan. My credentials? Being a die-hard fan of this team for all 21 seasons they spent in St. Louis. This first post will be a history of the Rams in St. Louis, sort of as an explanation of how the Rams got to where they are on the field. The second post (which should be shorter) will be a more in-depth description of the current team.

 

I thought about how to break up the history, and ultimately settled on using coaches as the framework. The Rams have had many, as most of the St. Louis ones have been unsuccessful.

 

1995-1996: Rich Brooks.

 

The Rams first games in St. Louis started with much promise, as the team started 5-1 in its first season. Sadly, the success was unable to continue as they went 8-18 for the rest of Brooks' tenure and objectively got worse in the second season. What is most important to know from this era is the catastrophic 1996 Draft class which saw the Rams trade Jerome Bettis, draft Lawrence Phillips (last seen murdering his cellmate committing suicide in his cell) to replace him #6 overall, and pick up Tony Banks to be quarterback in the 2nd round. Banks, with his propensity for ill-timed fumbles, would become the baseline for poor QB play in the eyes of Rams fans and also serve as a bogeyman for them. (Ironically, I'd argue he's in the upper half of QBs to start at least one game for the Rams. Yes, its been THAT bad at times folks.) The other chief recollection is that Brooks absolutely lost his :censored: in the locker room during his last game in 1996, smashed everything, and scared the team into completing a comeback victory over the Saints. He would be fired the next day.

 

1997-1999: Dick Vermeil

 

The Dick Vermeil era is a tale of two teams, the 1997-1998 Rams and the 1999 Rams. For about the only time in their St. Louis existence, Frontiere brought in competent football guys into the front office to assist Vermeil, and Vermeil would go on to spend his first two seasons completely rebuilding the defense into something that might actually stop the other team from scoring, as well as rebuilding the offensive line (as well as to almost completely turnover the roster in general.) It was a trying process, though, as the offense was left to its own devices those two years and Tony Banks was the starter during that. They won 5 and 4 games those first two seasons, which was distressing to say the least, but ironically was something I would kill for by the late 2000s. After the 1998 season, the Rams brought in Mike Martz to quickly revamp the offense. Among the key personnel pickups in that revamp were Marshall Faulk via draft-day trade, Torry Holt by draft pick, and QB Trent Green via free agency. (Kurt Warner had been added the year before to be backup.) Everything clicked in 1999, the first year of the Greatest Show on Turf. Martz had built an offense that was literally faster than anything the league had ever seen (seriously, watch footage of that team sometime-their relative speed is surprising). The team also got lucky in the fact that Warner turned out to be better than anyone expected when he was called to step in after Rodney Harrison ended Trent Green's season in the preseason. What goes under-reported is that basically everyone on defense had (by far) a career year as well. The team would end up winning one of the more memorable Super Bowls in league history. Vermeil chose to (temporarily) retire after the game. Mike Martz, having built such a transformational offense, was seen as the obvious successor.

 

2000-2005: Mike Martz (Joe Vitt interim Game 6 of 2005 onward)

 

Mike Martz is the hot girlfriend who was great to be with, but maxed out your credit card, made you cosign a bunch of bad loans, and wrapped your car around a telephone pole. His teams were notable for their offensive capabilities, but also their porous defenses-basically they were eggshells armed with sledgehammers. That said, as long as he was coach, I never thought his teams were out of games because of the offense. Martz was handed an organization that was in fine shape, but he was unable to maintain it as his tenure wore on (he also was the GM). Although, it was not a continuous decline, but rather a roller-coaster journey of ups and downs. Case in point, after his first (2000) team managed to both lead the league in scoring, but also was last in defense, he was actually able to completely revamp the defense into something useful, which meant that the 2001 team was arguably the best team in St. Louis, if not all-time franchise history.) Unfortunately for Martz the loss suffered by that team in the Super Bowl was a watershed moment from which the franchise has NEVER fully recovered from, as well as the end of the Greatest Show on Turf. In the following offseason, the organization made its worst FA blunder in the St. Louis era by choosing not to resign MLB London Fletcher, who was the heart of the defense and someone the organization never fully replaced. The 2002 team started 0-5 as part of the long hangover and, while it was able to finish with a 7-9 record, it was clear that there were fundamental problems with the team (such as the minor issue that Martz chose to let the offensive line rot while his QBs were battered into PTSD). That season also saw the debut of Marc Bulger, a former 3rd-stringer who proved to be far more capable than initial backup Jamie Martin. The 2003 season saw the Rams return to the top of the division, only to lose in 2OT in the divisional round to eventual NFC champion Carolina. After that season, salary cap concerns forced the Rams to chose between Warner and Bulger, and they made the (IMO) correct decision to ride with Bulger. Going with Bulger was the right move as Warner basically needed to be away from Martz's offense if he ever wanted to recover as a QB (or at least take a few years off) and the Rams were, bluntly, in a win-now mode because of the age of the rest of the roster. After drafting RB Steven Jackson, the 2004 season saw the Rams blunder into the playoffs as a wild card and also saw their last playoff win to date (they took all three games against Seattle that season-their last season sweep of the Seahawks prior to 2015). The 2005 season was derailed by Martz's "medical issues" which forced him to step down from active duties. In reality, Martz's personality and ego, which had repeatedly brought him into conflict with Rams management, finally proved to be to much for the administration and they ousted him. Mike Martz is the only St. Louis era coach to depart with a winning record.

 

2006-2008: Scott Linehan (Jim Haslett interim from Game 5 of 2008 onward)

 

TheTriumphofDeath.jpg

The Triumph of Death - Pieter Brugel the Elder, oil on canvas, 1562

 

Scott Linehan is, to be put bluntly, the one Rams coach I feel actual hatred for. He was a petty, paranoid, vindictive, incompetent, and depressive individual and not only did he leave the team worse off from where he found it, he did so deliberately. While Linehan's first season started off well enough (4-1) a last minute Seattle victory in St. Louis (on yours truly's 21st birthday hilariously) put the team into a tailspin from which he could never fully recover from (he went 7-24 from there on out.) He did return Bulger to Pro-Bowl form that season, but he also pulled out the "most catastrophic 3-game winning streak in NFL history" out of his rear end in Weeks 15-17. This was catastrophic because it convinced Rams management that Linehan had figured out what he was doing (in reality the Rams punked 3 teams who had nothing left to play for that season.) Week 16 also saw the end of the vaunted "sellout streak" that has been frequently cited as a sign of St. Louis' support for the team. The 2007 season saw the bottom fall out and the team start 0-8. Linehan probably should have been canned at that point, but was reprieved by the passing of Georgia Frontiere in January 2008 (allegedly him getting a 3rd season was one of her dying wishes). While Linehan wasn't sacked, everyone else responsible for personnel decisions was, which created the bizarre situation in which you are trying to kick off (another) rebuild while you have a coach who is basically a dead man walking unless he makes the playoffs. This was an obvious recipe for failure, especially since Linehan was convinced his coordinators were conspiring to replace him (in fairness they probably were a little), and fail they did. A Week 1 blowout loss put Linehan behind the 8 ball, and he spent the next 3 weeks cutting his best players, benching/trying to cut/trade other good players/locker room leaders (he tried to dump Torry Holt on the Titans, but was told he lacked the authority to make that move by management after Week 3). This culminated in him sending oft-concussed backup QB Trent Green out to die as the starter in Week 4 over a healthy Marc Bulger. He was fired the next day as it was the bye week, with the Rams starting 0-4 and losing by an average score of 37-11. Haslett won his first two games out of the bye, but despite his "player's coach" reputation was unable to win another game. Worringly, the offense only cracked 21 points TWICE, a Week 17 loss that saw them score 27 and the patented random Rams upset win over a playoff contender (the Cowboys this time-they scored 34).

 

2009-2011: Steve Spagnuolo

 

A continuation of the Triumph of Death Era, Spagnuolo was completely incompetent, but at least his heart was in the right place and his intentions were good. Spagnuolo's tenure was a necessary step in the history of the franchise, as he was the guy who finally proclaimed the death of the Greatest Show on Turf and tried to reinvent the team's identity into one that was more of a smashmouth football team. His first season was a Year 0 disaster-a 1-win campaign in which the team's Super Bowl was a game against a 2-win Detroit Lions team (the Rams won 17-10, it was terrible and soul-rending). By the end the team's QB progression had been PTSD Bulger, Kyle Boller, less-injured-than-Boller PTSD Bulger, and "rookie out of a Division II school who was taught how to play QB by Ryan Leaf, I :censored: you not". Understandably, the offense scored 175 points all season and only saw 12 TD passes. Following that, the Rams drafted Sam Bradford #1 overall to play QB, and proceeded to spend the next 5 seasons doing everything the "how to develop franchise QBs manual" says not to do. The fundamental problem was that while Bradford might have had franchise QB-level talent, the Rams had nothing to surround him with or a line to protect him, and he isn't the kind of QB who can elevate the play of those around him. Despite these issues, the Rams pulled out a smoke-and-mirrors 7-9 season in 2010, which was primarily marred by Spagnuolo's gameday incompetence and tendency to have the team turtle the second it had a lead (no matter how slight) in the second half. This cost the Rams at least one win for sure, and by extension, a trip to the playoffs. Also noteworthy-the 2010 offseason saw Stan Kroenke purchase the rest of the team (a 60% stake) from the Rosenblooms. The bottom again fell out in the 2011 season, with the Rams offense cratering again.in part due to the team deluding itself into thinking Josh McDaniels was responsible for Tom Brady's success. Spagnuolo and the rest of the personnel decision-makers were fired the day after the end of the season.

 

2012-present: Jeff Fisher

 

Jeff Fisher has built on what Steve Spagnuolo started-smashmouth football, only this time with occasional flashes of competence. He has built the defense into one of the better ones in the league, albeit at the expense of making it one of the dirtiest (likely due to the installation of a bounty system under defensive coordinator Gregg Williams.) Fisher's staff is also know for great degree of coaching nepotism, as many of his assistants' primary qualifications appear to be "was sired by a former NFL head coach/coordinator." This has resulted in some problems, particularly during the Brian Schottenheimer era for the offense. Fisher's drafts have actually been hitting more than they missed, which is a first for the Rams in St. Louis, especially on defense. (My jury's still out on RB Todd Gurley). He has, at minimum, elevated the team from THE WORST TEAM IN THE LEAGUE to base mediocrity, which can be a pain in its own way (there is potential for the playoffs, but they can't finish the deal and worse yet, other fanbases don't flip out when they lose to the Rams now unlike under Linehan and Spagnuolo.) Jeff Fisher's primary attribute, though, may have been the fact that he was coach of the Titans when they moved from Houston, so he has experienced a franchise move before and has "lessons learned" to draw upon. The 2012 season showed the most promise, but it would also be the last season Fisher had Bradford's full services for. In 2013, Bradford tore his ACL in Week 7, while in 2014, Bradford would go down in the preseason with another injury to that ACL, Curiously the revolving door at QB in 2014 only saw the Rams performance drop by a game, although the offense itself steadily declined. The most recent season saw the Rams win 7 games (again) including a sweep of Seattle, but saw the offense drop to last in the league in just about every measurable statistic. The QB position is a bit of an issue, as the Rams broke Nick Foles (who they got in the Sam Bradford trade with Philadelphia) by midseason, and Case Keenum is not exactly franchise-QB material. At least Todd Gurley, when healthy, makes things interesting and WR Tavon Austin is actually being used creatively now.

 

It's long and I've had to make formatting tweaks to keep it readable, but it covers a lot of why the Rams ultimately failed in St. Louis. When your franchise goes through a Triumph of Death period like the Rams did, while you have ownership eventually itching to move and a fading grasp on the market/hope of reviving the promised dynasty, things tend to turn out like they did. Maybe there was a moment where the Rams could have stuck around in St. Louis for good, but that moment never really came. With the way St. Louis' sports hierarchy is, it wasn't like they had the same hold over the city that the Browns, Oilers, or Raiders had in their cities. They were kind of expendable, but I totally get the sense of betrayal and discardedness. Quite frankly, St. Louis' best hope for the NFL was keeping the Cardinals around. 

 

Reading about the shenanigans involved in that St. Louis expansion reminds me of some of the MLB Tampa Bay expansion shenanigans from 1990-91. Neither competing group could really get a concrete ownership group together, with plenty of scrambling for money and key investors wavering/dropping out at inappropriate moments. 

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St. Louis had one ownership group with the stadium plan and another willing to sue over the stadium plan. They couldn't work it out, and Weaver was asked to drop his Jacksonville bid and take a team in St. Louis, but refused. 

 

Second choice was Baltimore, which had two competing ownership groups. The Maryland governor was asked to step in and reconcile the two. Instead, he started a THIRD ownership group, and the other two responded as you'd expect. NFL said no thanks. 

 

As much as a city wants/demands/deserves a team, without solid ownership, it's a no-go. 

 

Of course, existing teams with bad owners are another thing entirely. 

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44 minutes ago, gosioux76 said:

I think we've learned from a lot of subsequent expansions that the biggest markets aren't always the best markets, but it's not like the league just really liked the restaurants here or something. They were playing a numbers game.

 

Shame that they didn't remember that before abandoning the second-largest market in the country just fifteen months later, though.

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52 minutes ago, Ridleylash said:

Had the Rams had more success in the market and were a solid #3 in the city, I think it's entirely possible the Rams stay in St. Louis. The problem, of course, is that wasn't the reality that took shape; instead, they were pretty awful for most of their tenure.

 

Almost every single city can and will support a winning franchise.  The ones that won't are very few and far between. 

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1 hour ago, SFGiants58 said:

Reading about the shenanigans involved in that St. Louis expansion reminds me of some of the MLB Tampa Bay expansion shenanigans from 1990-91. Neither competing group could really get a concrete ownership group together, with plenty of scrambling for money and key investors wavering/dropping out at inappropriate moments. 

 

That actually seems to be pretty common in sports.  Baltimore was going through something similar at the exact same time, which is partly how dark-horse candidate Jacksonville ended up winning the fight. 

 

And it's also a pretty good description of the Keystone Kops nonsense among potential Los Angeles ownership groups during the entire time the Rams were in St. Louis.  Bumbling, fumbling, competing stadium proposals, all of them smoke and mirrors.

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I always find it kinda funny that Jacksonville is the biggest city in Florida, and they only get the Jaguars. Even Orlando has 2 teams. Especially with the whole Jaguars in London deal, honestly kinda sad.

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7 minutes ago, Bruhammydude said:

I always find it kinda funny that Jacksonville is the biggest city in Florida, and they only get the Jaguars. Even Orlando has 2 teams. Especially with the whole Jaguars in London deal, honestly kinda sad.

Jacksonville is only the biggest city in Florida by area, because they annexed the entire county.

Its metro population is 1,504,980, which puts it behind Miami (6,158,824), Tampa (3,068,511), and Orlando (2,387,138). 

 

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2 minutes ago, IceCap said:

Jacksonville is only the biggest city in Florida by area, because they annexed the entire county.

Its metro population is 1,504,980, which puts it behind Miami (6,158,824), Tampa (3,068,511), and Orlando (2,387,138). 

 

Ahh that makes more sense, I thought I might have been off there

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15 minutes ago, Bruhammydude said:

I always find it kinda funny that Jacksonville is the biggest city in Florida, and they only get the Jaguars. Even Orlando has 2 teams. Especially with the whole Jaguars in London deal, honestly kinda sad.

I’d be curious to see if the NFL would be willing to do a 3-to-6 game slate in Orlando with all three Florida teams? Hell, two per season for six games could make it feel like Orlando actually HAS a team. The only NFL game the city gets on a regular basis is the rickety-ass Pro Bowl once a year.

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1 minute ago, DNAsports said:

I’d be curious to see if the NFL would be willing to do a 3-to-6 game slate in Orlando with all three teams? Hell, two per season for six games could make it feel like Orlando actually HAS a team. The only NFL game the city gets on a regular basis is the rickety-ass Pro Bowl once a year.

I just wish they could get a new Stadium in Hawaii for the Pro bowl (and the Rainbow Warriors) Maybe do an every other year deal where even years it's in Orlando, odd years it is in Hawaii

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Considering how cheap it is to get to Hawaii from the east coast (at least before Covid19), I'd love for there to be games there every year and have an excuse to go, since it wouldn't be on my travel list under normal circumstances.

 

It doesn't benefit the NFL at all to do it, so it won't happen, but I'd be all for it if it did.  Time zone ain't even a thing.

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37 minutes ago, IceCap said:

Jacksonville is only the biggest city in Florida by area, because they annexed the entire county.

Its metro population is 1,504,980, which puts it behind Miami (6,158,824), Tampa (3,068,511), and Orlando (2,387,138). 

 

 

Don't forget Tampa and Orlando are only 80 miles apart and most likely share football/basketball markets.

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