Los Angeles is the 2nd largest city in America and it has been without a football team for 2 decades (1994). Once the home to two football franchises, the LA Rams and LA Raiders, it seems almost inconceivable that the town remains bereft of an NFL team.
Since the departure of the Rams and Raider, LA has been used as a pawn to threaten NFL teams into building new stadium (or risk relocation to LA). In fact, in the 1990s, the Seattle Seahawks almost moved to LA. The dubious and despicable Seahawks owner Ken Behring had an agreement in place to move the Seahawks to the recently vacated market. If not for an 11th hour deal with current Seahawks owner Paul Allen, this article would have a different and more somber tone.
In recent years, NFL owners have been able to bully local markets into building stadiums under the threat of relocation. The Minnesota Vikings and the Indianapolis Colts are two teams who have held their cities teams’ hostage for a new field. Currently, the Jacksonville Jaguars, San Diego Chargers, Oakland Raiders, and St. Louis Rams are negotiating with local governments for a new stadium.
And though LA is still working on getting its own stadium built, there is a sense of inevitability to a deal getting done. A move of a team (or teams) to LA will have a domino effect on divisional alignment and travel. The Seahawks who benefited greatly from realignment to the NFC West (6 division titles, soon to be 7) may find the landscape will change soon.
St Louis Rams to LA
If the Rams move from St. Louis back to LA, the Seahawks (Cardinals, and 49ers) would all benefit greatly. A move back to the west coast would keep all four NFC West teams in the same time zone and reduce travel times. LA is also a destination spot for vacationers; one could easily envision Seahawks, 49er, and Cardinals fans travelling to LA for games.
Oakland Raiders to LA
Raider relocation to LA would have little impact to the NFC west; however, because the Seahawks play the Raiders every year in preseason, the Seahawks would have to play a pre-season game in the summer heat of LA.
San Diego Chargers to LA
San Diego Charger relocation would have similar effect to that of the Raiders; they would continue to play in the AFC West and travel for the hawks would be negligible.
Oakland Raiders and Chargers to LA
One scenario, which could play out, is that both the Raiders and the Chargers move to LA. The NFL has expressed desire to have only one NFC and one AFC team in the same city—as two teams in the same division would lead to market saturation. Either the Raiders or the Chargers would have to move to the NFC West, the consequence of which means that an NFC West team would move back to the AFC West.
Jacksonville Jaguars to LA
Any move by the Jaguars to LA would have the most radical divisional realignment. The Jaguars (currently in the AFC South) would need to be moved to the NFC West or AFC West. Most likely, they would move to the NFC West, the Rams would move to the AFC. Again, the Seahawks would be the beneficiary of a team in the same time zone. However, if the Jaguars were paired with the Chargers or the Raiders, the Jaguars would be moved to the NFC West, and perhaps we would find the Seahawks back in the AFC West.
Expansion is not in the immediate plans of the NFL. I expect to see a move by one of these teams within the next 3 years.
Having almost lost the Seahawks, Mariners, and eventually losing the Supersonics, I have sympathy for any fanbase who suffers incompetent politicians and dirt-bag ownership groups. I would rather none of these teams move to LA, but it is common knowledge that LA has simply too much untapped money to not have a team and a move may have realignment that impacts the Seahawks positioning.