SAN FRANCISCO -- The St. Louis stadium task force was not invited to make a formal presentation to the league's 32 owners this week but that doesn't mean the group hasn't left a positive impression on league executives.
In fact, none of the so-called task forces in St. Louis, Oakland or San Diego will present to the 32 owners this week. Perhaps the biggest reason for that is what took place in New York City a few weeks ago. It was there that Eric Grubman, members of his staff and the Committee on Los Angeles Opportunities were able to hear from representatives of each of the four markets working to get stadiums built.
Grubman, the NFL's executive vice president charged with overseeing the league's efforts to return to Los Angeles as well as possible relocation markets, told ESPN.com on Monday evening that St. Louis task force leader Dave Peacock and his group continue to earn high marks for the work they've done thus far.
"They’ve done a very good job," Grubman said. "There’s a lot of steps along the way to getting a stadium built no matter what city you’re in and they’re sort of methodically knocking out the challenges and I have praise for them. I’ve said that consistently. I’ve known Dave for a long time, I’ve known St. Louis for a long, long time, back in the mid-90s."
Unlike San Diego and Oakland, St. Louis has moved quickly and decisively to try to offer a palatable proposal for the league. The St. Louis group has focused its attention on working closely with Grubman and the league as a way of protecting their interests in case St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke's California dreams lead to his attempting to move the team.
Speaking at a commercial real estate women of St. Louis breakfast recently, Peacock indicated that the commitment to working closely with the league has been a product of his realistic view on Kroenke's plans.
"It's possible we have different ownership of the (Rams) because I think (Kroenke) is really committed to Los Angeles," Peacock said. "I'm not against Stan going to Los Angeles, I just don't want our team there. This is why we're spending most of our time with the league -- we think this is an NFL issue."
Grubman said all proposals for Los Angeles, St. Louis, Oakland and San Diego will be discussed today with league officials offering updates on the current markets.
While the St. Louis stadium plan has made progress such as acquiring nearly two-thirds of the land via option agreements, striking deals with railroad and utility companies to accommodate the proposed site and making a deal with local unions to expedite construction, there are still obstacles to be cleared.
"They are making progress," Grubman said. "That said, you can do an awful lot of things, if you don’t get to the goal line, you don’t get the score. That goes for all of us, not just St. Louis."