Monday, January 12, 2015

A Strategy for Goodell

Since nobody is able to talk to the monastic Stan Kroenke, and only God knows his strategy for someone inhabiting the proposed stadium in Inglewood, here's a scenario that we think just might work for all concerned.

Kroenke has apparently been quoted as saying the L.A. project is a "real estate deal". He is a real estate mogul. And.. who knows?.. he may be trying to cash in on whatever team the NFL decides is OK to play there. The stadium situation in L.A., as is well documented, is confused with other proposed stadiums going nowhere fast and no teams in sight. At least Kroenke has managed to get land and come forth with a stadium plan that appears would work. Once his edifice starts going up in Inglewood, he will have clarified the stadium issue for the NFL, even if the Commissioner and the other owners are uncomfortable with it. (Reports have San Diego ownership ready to sue to keep Stan and the Rams out of LA).

We would propose a simple plan to satisfy everyone involved to a reasonable degree. It would require serious commitment and lots of delicate negotiating from the man charged with keeping peace among the rich folks who own NFL teams. It goes as follows...

The NFL gives its blessing to Kroenke's Inglewood stadium project if he agrees to the following-

1) The NFL would negotiate with the Denver Broncos ownership the sale/transfer of that franchise to Kroenke. (essentially a trade of teams)  Kroenke agrees to keep the Broncos in Denver. Kroenke will be "landlord" of the Inglewood stadium in partnership with the NFL. 
  • The Broncos ownership situation is a bit tenuous because of the failing mental health of majority owner Pat Bowlen. Bowlen (right) was removed from decision making in 2014 because of his battle with Alzheimer's. There have been rumors that the Broncos may be sold sometime soon anyway. 
  • Silent Stan's other teams (NBA Nuggets, NHL Avalanche) are in Denver and we presume Kroenke wouldn't mind having most of his family's pro sports assets in that market. It would, on paper, be an NFL upgrade for Stan in market size, tradition, and recent success. 
  • We would assume those currently working for the Broncos wouldn't mind having the second richest owner in the NFL. 
  • Kroenke has yet to satisfy the NFL's rules for cross-ownership. If he were to own the Broncos, it would become a non-issue and couldn't be leveraged against him anymore. 
2) The NFL takes control of the Rams, temporarily, until new ownership can be vetted and approved. 
  • This would be dependent on the announced riverfront stadium plans going forward. The Dave Peacock/Bob Blitz team would need to get quickly to a point at which the NFL and it's owners are comfortable that St. Louis will remain "NFL-worthy". A reasonable deadline for that would be agreed upon. 
  • If the St. Louis new stadium efforts fall short, or apart, the NFL would be free to find a new home for the Rams. We would assume they could come to some agreement with Kroenke for the use of his Inglewood digs. 
  • If the league decides the Chargers or Raiders are also to be an LA-based operation, they then could have two teams work out of the Inglewood stadium (a la the Jets and Giants in NY). 
That's obviously more than a two-step process. But it identifies the two major accomplishments for the league, Kroenke and St. Louis to make everything workable. It would be a big job for Commissioner Roger Goodell's office, for sure. Particularly the Denver transfer. But that's why he gets paid the large bucks. Right?

With the league taking control of the Rams, the "lame-duck, who cares" 2015 season would be much more likely to actually sell some tickets for games at the poor-old Jones dome. As is, nobody will want to put money in "Stan-the-Van"'s (as in moving) pockets. 

Of course, if Kroenke has a different plan in mind, and an "I'll do what I want" attitude about it, then you can throw this idea out with the recycling; and the league will have much bigger fish to fry. We'll all find out what his thinking is some day in the next few years. Until then, we can only guess...just like his fellow team owners. But here's a blueprint for Mr. Goodell to work from in the meantime, free of charge. Let's see if his stable of attorneys go to work on it. 

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