<
>

Eric Grubman says St. Louis stadium plan 'falls short' of attracting Rams

EARTH CITY, Mo. -- One day before the St. Louis Board of Aldermen's Ways and Means Committee is expected to vote on the city portion of the public financing for an NFL stadium on the city's north riverfront, NFL executive Eric Grubman joined "The Bernie Miklasz Show" on 101 ESPN radio on Wednesday.

Joining Miklasz on his daily radio show, Grubman discussed the viability of the St. Louis stadium proposal as well as other pieces in the NFL's relocation situation.

At the center of the conversation was Grubman's repeated contentions that the St. Louis stadium proposal, while ahead of San Diego and Oakland, will not be attractive to St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke.

"St. Louis will surely fall short of having a compelling proposal that would attract the Rams," Grubman said. "To that end, and I don't mean to oversimplify and I'm certainly not going to negotiate the individual points or attempt to negotiate... the stadium is going to cost more than is on the drawing board at the moment. The funding has declined. And new taxes are being proposed for the Rams. So if you already had an owner that was showing a great reluctance to come off his position that he won in arbitration, you've sort of moved away, if you will, from Stan Kroenke. I don't speak for him but those are just the facts and the numbers."

Is that a revelation? No, it's really not. But it's also the first time someone has come out and so openly said as much. There's a lot more to chew on in the interview, and it's worth giving a full listen to, but let's boil this down as quickly and succinctly as we can.

All along, Grubman has maintained that the home markets have to reach a second and third stage with their proposals to put their best foot forward to keep their teams in their cities. The second stage is having a plan that is "actionable." In other words, a plan with financing pieces that can be turned around and accomplished the next day rather than hypotheticals.

After the plan is actionable, Grubman has made it clear that it must be attractive to a club. At the beginning of the interview, Grubman and Miklasz pointed directly to discussing the Rams when it comes to the attractiveness of the proposal. Grubman made it known that he doesn't know how other teams would view it but he believes the current plan wouldn't be of interest to the Rams, mainly because of a belief that the stadium is going to cost more than is currently being proposed and because of the use of an amusement tax on the Rams that brings the overall total of public money for the facility down from $400 million to $300 million.

So here's the thing: Nobody who has been paying attention to this has ever expected Kroenke to just come in and sign the St. Louis stadium deal if he's denied Los Angeles, which is still not a guarantee by any stretch of the imagination. But if indeed Kroenke is denied his Inglewood dreams, something even Grubman acknowledged as a possibility, he's clearly going to take his time to figure out what he can do that will maximize his next alternative.

What that alternative would be is anybody's guess, but Kroenke is too shrewd as a businessman not to set himself up with as much negotiating power as possible.

I.C.Y.M.I.

A roundup of Wednesday's Rams stories appearing on ESPN.com. ... We began the morning with a look at the Rams' forthcoming offseason of uncertainty. ... In the Ram-blings, we examined the Rams' current projected spot in the draft order. ... Safety Rodney McLeod leads the Rams' group of undrafted free agents. ... The Rams offense has been bad but it's actually been worse in recent years. ... We wrapped up our Wednesday with an update on the Rams' lengthy injury list.

Elsewhere:

ESPN NFL Insider Mike Sando looks at the most improved offenses and defenses in the league. Hint: The Rams make neither list.

Also at 101sports.com, Miklasz and Randy Karraker discussed the problems on the field with the Rams.

Miklasz wonders what happens now that the Rams have changed offensive coordinators?

At stltoday.com, Jim Thomas writes that cornerbacks are at a premium for the Rams right now.

Ben Frederickson writes that all hope is not lost with left tackle Greg Robinson.