Sunday, December 17, 2017
Tampa Bay Storm

Two-time NFL losers feeling St. Louis blues

It's done. By a 30-2 final vote of his peers, Stan Kroenke is getting his wish. The Rams are destined for Inglewood, Calif., and once again St. Louis will not be an NFL city.

Our city's sad pro football history got another painful chapter. We lost the football Cardinals to Arizona after their mostly inept run under the Bidwill family.

And now we're losing the Rams after their mostly inept run under former showgirl Georgia Frontiere and her partner/successor, Silent Stan.

What did one city do to deserve so much incompetence? Is St. Louis cursed as a football town?

Is it time to move on from the gridiron and pursue something new, like Major League Soccer?

In fairness to the Bidwill family, it did move the Cardinals from Chicago. And Frontiere moved the Rams from Los Angeles which — if we're being totally honest here — is the rightful home for that franchise.

When a city steals a team, turnabout becomes fair play. That is why St. Louis so badly wanted an expansion team to start fresh. The Stallions would have been ours, for better or worse.

Still, it's tough to lose teams after supporting through thick and mostly thin. Twice fans made an emotional investment in a franchise and twice they were jilted.

The league-wide ill regard for Kroenke was evident in his struggle to move West. This shouldn't have been so difficult for him. Remember, he moved boldly to solve the NFL's decades-long L.A. problem.

He bought land in Southern California, a breakthrough move; partnered with another developer to design a massive multi-use project that included a privately financed state-of-the-art stadium; and greased the political wheels in Inglewood to make sure the locals were on board.

Kroenke and his partners had everything needed to bring the NFL back to L.A.: The team, the land, the plan and billions of dollars to invest.

And still he met resistance. All he had to do was co-opt San Diego Chargers owner Dean Spanos as the stadium's second tenant and this was a done deal.

Understandably, Spanos wanted no part of Kroenke. He sought an alternative solution in Carson, Calif., and partnered with the Oakland Raiders in the process.

When it came time to vote, Kroenke still didn't get the number he needed to move forward. But he got 20 votes, just four short, and that gave him a commanding edge on the Spanos/Carson proposal.

That put the owners on the clock to bridge the gap and solve the problem. Ultimately they did, jobbing St. Louis in the process while rewarding the Raiders with a nice participation bonus.

Now Dave Peacock and Co. have a stadium plan with no tenant. St. Louis barely cobbled together the stadium financing it had — failing to satisfy the NFL in the process — and now the city will encounter bidding wars if it tries to get back in the game.

Already there is noise about the Raiders playing Oakland off San Antonio and the STL. Oh, boy.

At least the Rams Era ended appropriately, with a sloppy loss to a mediocre opponent to secure one final losing season. That is the memory we will hold dear in our hearts forever and ever.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch (TNS)

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