Each Friday we will update you on the four NFL teams most likely move to Los Angeles; ranking them in order of the likeliest to call L.A. home within the next few years.
1. SAN DIEGO CHARGERS (4-1)
Last week: San Diego had a bye last week and remained atop the AFC West.
This week: The Chargers play the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium on Sunday in what may be the best game of the week although much of the intrigue surrounds the post-game handshake between the coaches. When Jets coach Rex Ryan was asked this week what would have happened if he got the Chargers job in 2007 instead of Norv Turner he said, “Well, I think I would have had a couple rings. I’m telling you, those teams were loaded. There's no question about it.” He later called and apologized to Turner who said, “I was a little bit surprised by the call and then after I saw the quote, I didn't have a chance to ask him this, but I was wondering if he had those rings with the ones he's guaranteed the last couple of years.”
L.A. Story: The Chargers and San Diego city officials are still going in separate directions when it comes to how a new football stadium should be financed and built. The Chargers say there is no other way the financing of the stadium makes sense unless it is built in downtown and part of the convention center expansion. City officials, who have been working on the convention center expansion for years and can finally see the finish line, say that’s unlikely. San Diego mayor Jerry Sanders recently said a new Chargers stadium could be built after the convention center expansion if the public is willing to spend $38 million a year over 30 years. If you’re doing the math at home, that’s a $1.14 billion cost to the public. Good luck getting the public to sign off on that. Needless to say the chances of the Chargers getting a new stadium in San Diego seem more remote than ever.
2. OAKLAND RAIDERS (4-2)
Last week: Oakland beat the Cleveland Browns 24-17 at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. It was the Raiders’ first game back in Oakland since the passing of Raiders owner Al Davis and the emotional ceremonies included former coach John Madden lighting a torch in honor of Davis. The tributes, however, were quickly overshadowed by the broken collarbone of quarterback Jason Campbell, who was lost for the season. Two days later the Raiders traded a first round and second round pick to the Cincinnati Bengals for Carson Palmer.
This week: The Raiders will play the Kansas City Chiefs in Oakland and Palmer, who hasn’t taken a meaningful snap since December 2010 will start the game five days after being traded to Oakland. It didn’t take much to unseat Kyle Boller and Terrell Pryor judging from the comments of Raiders offensive coordinator Al Saunders who told a local radio station Palmer would start for the Raiders as long as he was breathing before he had even taken a snap in practice.
L.A. Story: The Raiders were already thought of as Los Angeles’ team by many before the team traded for Palmer, a former USC quarterback and Heisman winner. The move will only help the team’s draw in Southern California where Palmer is still thought of as the best quarterback in school history. Sadly Raiders and USC fans in Los Angeles will have to wait to buy their Palmer jersey in person. The Raider Image, the official team store at the Universal City Walk, said it won’t be getting Palmer’s No. 3 silver and black jersey until next month.
3. MINNESOTA VIKINGS (1-4)
Last week: Minnesota lost to the Chicago Bears 39-10 at Soldier Field in a game that wasn't as close as the lopsided score would indicate. The Vikings’ nightmarish season continues to get worse every week. At the beginning of the season, the Vikings were blowing double-digit leads in the second half, now they’re trying to come back from double-digit deficits in the first half.
This week: The Vikings begin the Christian Ponder era on Sunday when they welcome the undefeated Green Bay Packers to the Metrodome. Way to ease into your first NFL start, right? Ponder replaced Donavan McNabb in the second half of last week’s game on Sunday night and he completed 9 of 17 passes for 99 yards. Nothing spectacular but the team needs a spark that McNabb simply isn’t giving them.
L.A. Story: As the Vikings struggle on the field, team officials are scrambling to get support for their proposed new stadium in Arden Hills. Eric Grubman, executive vice president of the NFL, met with Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton this week to get an update on the stadium. Dayton is currently pushing for a special session by late November to deal with the stadium issue. After the meeting Grubman said the chances of the Vikings leaving Minnesota and possibly moving to Los Angeles would increase if the stadium issue wasn’t resolved by the end of the year when the Vikings’ lease at the Metrodome expires. “We're worried about a stalemate," Grubman said. “A stalemate means there's no lease, or the lease is about to expire; there's no plan for a stadium, and there's an alternative plan in another city.”
4. ST. LOUIS RAMS (0-5)
Last week: St. Louis lost to the Packers 24-3 at Lambeau Field in a game that was just as ugly as anticipated. All the scoring took place in the first half as the Packers simply held on for the win in the second half.
This week: The Rams will play the Dallas Cowboys at Cowboys Stadium on Sunday and Rams quarterback Sam Bradford remains questionable for the game with a high ankle sprain. Bradford, who has been sacked a NFL-high 21 times, has not practiced this week while getting treatment. Sunday may not be the best game for Bradford to return considering the Cowboys are ranked in the top ten in sacks with DeMarcus Ware having the third most sacks in the league with seven. If Bradford doesn’t start, A.J. Feeley would play in his place.
L.A. Story: While the St. Louis Rams play the Dallas Cowboys, a group of former Los Angeles Rams will gather in downtown Los Angeles to watch the game on Sunday. Jack Youngblood will be watching the game at the ESPN Zone and signing his book along with former teammates Fred Dryer, Vince Ferragamo and Rich Saul. Youngblood recently said he would like to see the Rams return to Los Angeles "where they rightfully belong" and Dryer famously said after the team left in 1995, “I hate these people [Rams management] for what they did, taking the Rams logo with them when they moved to St. Louis. That logo belonged to Southern California.”