On the Friday before Super Bowl 45, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell gave his annual "State of the NFL" address to the assembled media. While fielding questions about an impending lockout, the brutal weather conditions in Dallas, and other topics, the subject of the named-but-unbuilt Farmers Field came up, in relation to the future of the San Diego Chargers.
Read Goodell's reply below the jump.
His answer was all-too-brief...
"The Chargers have been committed to getting a solution for their stadium in San Diego for, I believe, well over eight years now. They’ve spent an extraordinary amount of time and resources to try and develop those solutions and they still continue to this day. We want to keep our teams where they are.... But we need to find a solution to this stadium issue in San Diego."
Goodell also made comments about Los Angeles, regarding the deal with Farmers Insurance...
"Even with that positive development, the financing of a project in L.A. is still a very difficult proposition. There are some great opportunities, but we have to recognize that cost is associated with that and address it in a way that incentivizes everyone to make those kind of investments."
Goodell also addressed the NFL's G3 stadium loan program...
"Since 2006, we have not built a new stadium, and that is an issue for us. This agreement has to be addressed so we can make the kinds of investments to grow this game."
Author's Note: Goodell means that no projects have broken ground since 2006.
Like any good politician, Goodell told us what we already knew. BTW, Nick Canepa of the U-T got an additional statement about the situation from Dean Spanos. Some additional thoughts below:
The Optimist's Point of View
Certainly, Goodell could have said something much worse, like Previous NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue's comment about playing Super Bowl 37 in San Diego (paraphrasing): "I can't believe we're actually here." Still, Goodell's statement could allow one to infer the following happy thoughts:
- The NFL will do anything it can to avoid moving teams.
- The NFL wants to stay in San Diego for the long-term future.
- Once the new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) is ironed out, the G3 stadium fund will be replenished and available to assist the Chargers and San Diego in finding a stadium solution.
The Realist's Point of View
Just as easily, Goodell could have made more concrete statements about keeping the Chargers in San Diego. Something to the effect of: "The league is firmly opposed to the Chargers, or any other team moving to Los Angeles," or maybe "The NFL is reserving Los Angeles for possible expansion teams." I fall firmly into the realist camp, and I have personally inferred the following from Goodell's statement:
- The NFL would prefer to keep the Chargers in San Diego, because moving a franchise always carries negative press.
- The NFL would prefer to keep the Chargers in San Diego, because it's a great Super Bowl destination.
- Because there's no imminent stadium deal in San Diego, the NFL and the Chargers have the right (and obligation) to keep their options open regarding Los Angeles.
- The NFL, as well as the Spanos family, are getting frustrated with the lack of progress in San Diego over the last 7-12 years.
- We're hoping the CBA can get ironed out, which will help replenish the G3 loan program and make a stadium in San Diego more of a possibility.
- A potential-Farmers Field in Los Angeles is nice, but it's far from a sure thing right now.
The Pessimist's Point of View
Of course, there are many people who already have an intensely negative view about the Chargers and their ownership, and/ or view a Chargers move to Los Angeles as a done deal. Nothing that Goodell says will be more than a smokescreen to cover the greed and deception perpetrated on San Diego by the Chargers. This is what's really happening, says the pessimist:
- The NFL is going to use the threat of Los Angeles as leverage to squeeze San Diego (and Minnesota, or Jacksonville, or St. Louis) until the udder runs dry.
- The NFL will keep making bland comments instead of telling the truth because they want to avoid a repeat of the 1995 Cleveland Browns.
- The NFL knows that Farmers Field will become a reality, and no matter what kind of deal the Chargers get in San Diego, it won't be as good as Los Angeles.
Obviously, you can spin Goodell's comments any way you want. It all boils down to the same basic point. It's past time for the Chargers and San Diego to get to work.