Well...at the very uncomfortable, for St. Louis football fans, Rams/Cowboys practice in Oxnard yesterday, we were treated to the new look. Stan Kroenke has obviously decided to forgo the hair color and present himself au naturel. Stan, we hardly recognized ye.
The Mysterious One was cavorting with his NFL owner-buddy Jerry Jones at the joint practice...each sporting the ball cap of their respective teams. But we were used to the look from Jones, not so much from Silent Stan. Maybe it was time to reveal the "new Stan" for the fans who will be seeing him the most after the coming season? Whatever. Most have been less than impressed with his public image skills. The SoCal media will have a field day with the guy if he repeats his performance of here in the Midwest. Of course, he will buy an extended honeymoon if he moves the male sheep franchise back to San Andreas fault territory.
As to the significance of any comments coming from either Jones or Kroenke, it was a "no comment day" for Stan, other than the fact that he actually showed up at a Rams practice. Of course he rarely even bothers when the team suits up in The Lou.
Jones, on the other hand, was more than ready to support the effort to get a team to SoCal. And it sure sounded like he preferred it to be Stan and his Rams. He was politically correct enough to allow for the possibility that the Chargers/Raiders effort is a strong one, but didn't hold back in support of good ol' Stan as being the kind of people you want to associate with and see succeed. Jones also declined to say anything in support of the St. Louis stadium efforts. Essentially, that was his "no comment" moment...and that says something.
The esteemed Jeff Gordon of the Post-Dispatch writes this morning that the best-case plan for cleaning up the growing Los Angeles NFL mess would be for Stan to form a partnership with Dean Spanos of the Chargers (right) to co-inhabit the new Inglewood digs Stan is planning. According to the writings of Sam Farmer of the L.A. Times, both Spanos and Kroenke can block one another when it comes to re-location approval of the ownership in a vote. So eliminating that roadblock with a partnership would be the quickest and least costly approach to their mutual re-location interests. Of course, should that happen the poor Raiders will be left swinging in the Oakland breeze and looking for a solution on their own.
It has been suggested to me that an expansion team might be the best option in all of this for St. Louis and a new stadium on the riverfront. Scott Wuerz, who puts down his professional thoughts
for the Belleville News-Democrat, suggests that if the league is serious about expansion into a foreign market (London? Mexico City?) that they go ahead and do it and include an expansion team at the same time for St. Louis. You'll remember that St. Louis was snubbed, says Wuerz, in the expansion process before when Jacksonville came into the league. This would right that wrong. However counting on the NFL owners to do the honorable thing by St. Louis can be dangerous place to stand. We would have to hope that Dave Peacock works some sort of guaranteed return, a la an expansion team, for building a stadium even if Stan's SoCal dreams are realized.
If the expansion approach takes flight with the owners, the Inglewood Rams could be re-aligned with western teams in a division on the Pacific coast and the new St. Louis "Archers" (I never liked that one) could play in a more time-zone friendly division.
Obviously, there are a lot of moving (pun intended) targets in this shooting gallery. Buckle your seat belts football fans, it's going to be a bumpy ride.