Monday, May 14, 2012

NFL in LA? Hope it stays away

-- by Josh Suchon

The Minnesota state Senate passed a bill this week that paves the way for a $975 million stadium that will keep the Vikings in town. No more relocation talk. Cross them off the list of franchises that will move to Los Angeles.

Thank goodness this won't happen.
This is good news. Great news, actually.

Count me as a Los Angeles resident who loves sports, works in sports, and doesn’t want any pro football team moving to my city.

This has nothing to do with a soapbox belief that a bankrupt state shouldn’t be spending public money to build a new stadium for millionaire players and billionaire owners (although that’s totally true).

No, we’re good in LA without the NFL – and I love the NFL. Trust me. It’s better. We’re not stuck with the NFL’s archaic blackout rule that would force us to watch the local team, no matter how mediocre they might be. We get the best games, every week, and frequently doubleheaders on each network.

We’ve got enough professional teams. Two baseball teams, two basketball teams, two hockey teams, a soccer team, a WNBA team, and some other fringe sports I’m probably forgetting.

If we need the NFL that bad, San Diego is a two-hour drive away and the Bay Area is a one-hour flight away.

With no NFL team in town, it makes USC football the de facto professional team. It makes the USC-UCLA game the most important football game of the year in town, even if the Bruins are awful, and this is coming from somebody who didn't attend either school.

Both schools play in historic legendary stadiums. We can still tailgate. We can still watch a game. We can still sit for hours in jammed parking lots afterward.

And we can get reminded what a hassle it is, how football is so much better on TV, and don’t feel some stupid obligation to support the local football team on Sunday’s.

A few college football teams share a big city with an NFL team, like the University of Miami, San Diego State University, the University of Minnesota, the University of Washington -- and I guess I should be including the irrelevant teams at Southern Methodist (in Dallas) and the University of Houston.

In all those cases, except for the Miami Hurricanes, the NFL team totally overshadows the college team.

Keep the NFL away, and it keeps USC and UCLA more important. It allows us to keep watching the best NFL games, for free, at home.

So the Vikings are no longer a candidate for LA. Good. Now we need to hear the same thing for the Chargers, Raiders, Rams, Bills and Jaguars.

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