St. Louis knew it was coming, but that didn’t make it any easier. The Rams have officially moved to Los Angeles and will begin play there in the 2016 season.
The reaction in St. Louis was what you would expect.
“Just bitter disappointment, more than anything,” KMOX St. Louis radio host Chris Hrabe said on CBS Sports Radio’s Gio and Jones. “I think that obviously this writing has been on the wall for a little bit. Obviously the team has been terrible, especially recently, and has been really, really bad over the course of the entire ownership of Stan Kroenke. But I think what’s most disappointing is that over the last 12 to 15 months, as the NFL laid out some guidelines for what home cities would have to do to have a chance to keep their team, St. Louis did just about everything. They check just about every box. I was very skeptical about whether or not they’d be able to come up with a viable plan to actually develop, finance and ultimately build a potential stadium here in the home market to try and keep the Rams here in town. Even if there were some flaws with that stadium from the NFL’s point of view, they did it. They did a lot more compared to the Chargers. They did astronomically more compared to the Raiders, who didn’t even present anything.
“And at the end of the day,” Hrabe continued, “after jumping through hoop after hoop after hoop after hoop, all that the town and the fans were left with was an owner who refused to talk to them until he was behind the podium last night, and an NFL who kept saying it wasn’t good enough and seems to continue to move the field-goal posts back, so to speak. So I think that’s what’s most disappointing for the city. After a little bit of hope and a little bit of excitement because of what was accomplished over the past 12 months, it seemed like that was just kind of ignored.”
Thirty of 32 owners voted in favor of the move, which, after a 21-year absence, will bring the NFL back to the nation’s second-largest media market.
“Listen, I think everyone understands that it’s business,” Hrabe said. “I think you’re naive to think that the city of St. Louis, if matched up with the potential of the market of Los Angeles, would be given a fair shake. We all know that not just in the NFL – but really in life and in business – it’s about dollars and it’s about the bottom line. I think everyone understands the potential that the market of Los Angeles has for ownership, has for the NFL and has for a lot of other entities outside of the NFL when you look at what Stan Kroenke is going to build in L.A.
“But I just don’t really see how I can say it was a fair shake,” Hrabe continued. “When you have a group that was appointed by the governor that comes up with a $1.1 billion development here in the city to try to not only keep the team here but also provide something for the city, and the owner still refuses, by their accounts, to communicate with them, yeah, I don’t see how that’s a fair shake. They were kind of fighting an uphill battle the whole way. Again, the thing I keep coming back to is when compared to the efforts of San Diego and Oakland, which were minimal, if anything, (it) certainly doesn’t seem like it was a fair shake. But again, it’s dollars and cents, and because of that, I don’t think anyone should really be surprised.”
The Rams have been one of the worst teams in the NFL over the last decade. They haven’t finished with a winning record since 2003 and haven’t finished with a non-losing record since 2006.
“The team has been miserable,” Hrabe said. “The team is one of the few in the NFL that is yet to have a winning season over the last decade. I know what people said about the team when they were good and when they were competitive on the field a decade ago. It was a great ticket. It was, if not one of the most popular teams in town, (then at least) one of the more popular franchises in the NFL. It’s fair to say the fan support hasn’t been there over the past few years. But I struggle to look around at any franchise in the NFL who has had the kind of issues on the field and has been as uncompetitive as the Rams have been over the past 5 to 10 years (and still) think that anyone in that home market would be rushing to fill the stands.”