St. Louis is not a city known as a collective of bastards.
No—it's a Midwestern city that welcomes visitors with a suggestion of Ted Drewes concrete, or a proclamation that the view from the Arch is amazing. We cheer when injured opponents get helped off the turf and we'd never think about using profanity to express dismay at poor officiating. Your mother would feel comfortable at a St. Louis Rams Game... especially if she likes sitting during critical third downs!
But if you like the NFL in St. Louis, then Rams fans and St. Louis as a whole need to turn into a bunch of bastards. And quick.
Last week, a really cocky (assumption) AEG Live representative made a really cocky (actual) statement to the effect that their company had had talks with "give teams on a possible re-location to LA". All five franchises mentioned (Chargers, Vikings, Rams, Jaguars, Raiders) hemmed and hawed in some fashion, but basically all admitted to at least picking up the phone when AEG called, even if their intentions weren't as forthright as the spokesman presented them.
As has been hashed over many times, the Rams' lease with the city of St. Louis stipulates that the Edward Jones Dome must be in the top 25% of NFL stadiums at the next checkpoint in 2015. If it's not, the team is free to play where they please.
Los Angeles is a tempting mistress.
With the proliferation of new construction around the NFL directly after the multi-purpose EJD was completed in 1995, it's all but certain that the Rams will be a franchise free agent, hence the interest from AEG in telling the Rams just how ridiculously awesome their plan for a new LA stadium is, and how many gobs of money they can make by leaving us dirt-eating goat-humpers in Missouri to come to the City of Angels.
Worse yet, the NFL has maintained that they're not expanding. Meaning that the nation's second biggest market will HAVE to poach a team from another city. If you think billionaires in LA are financing an NFL stadium on a hope and a prayer that someone comes and plays in it sometime, just whenever someone feels like it, you're more naïve than we thought—someone IS going to LA.
Oakland and Minnesota are out. Al Davis has no intentions of going back to LA; he was burned once by the city and is too old to deal with the riff raff. Minnesota will get a stadium deal done and stay. The NFL isn't going to want to bust up a historic division like the NFC North and yank a franchise from a city that has been hugely supportive of a losing franchise that probably does not deserve such a great fanbase.
So that leaves STL, Jacksonville, and San Diego as the final triumvirate of possible poach-ees.
San Diego has an abysmal stadium situation and will be the first courted. Simpletons in the media will surmise that it's only a 2 hour drive from San Diego to LA, hence, Charger fans aren't losing anything - they can just commute further to games!
Jacksonville is a hellhole.
And St. Louis? Well, it stole a team from LA, so turnabout is fair play, right?
At this point, there isn't a clear-cut favorite to get sniped. If the LA people can break ground on a stadium in 2011 or at least put the financing together, then the Chargers become the #1 target for AEG. They want a tenant ASAP and San Diego's lease is the most flexible and the local government the most apathetic to building a new place to play.
However, if AEG can't break ground until later in 2012... well, my friends, it's a showdown. Jaksonhellhole or St. Louis. One of these teams is moving to LA for a boatload of dollars. And if this lockout has taught you anything, it's that dollars are the ONLY and I mean ONLY thing that NFL owners care about.
Truth be told, if this situation was in a vacuum, the Rams and Jaguars would literally be fighting on who got to go to LA. More money, more fame... more everything comes with this move. Or, you know, they could stay in two pretty stagnant, blue-collar towns and ride out this recession hat in hand to the community.
Fortunately, these things don't happen in a vacuum—they happen in real life. With real life people. Like Stanley Kroenke.
And these are times where you, as a Rams fan, make it known that Stan will be known forever and ever as a snake if he even thinks about doing anything other than keeping the Rams in St. Louis.
You make it very clear, through your calls to KFNS and 101.1 ESPN, your letters to the P-D, your Tweets to @STLRams that LA can go ahead and take Jacksonville, because you're going to be the biggest asshole on the entire planet and convince 10 of your good friends to become assholes too, if Stan decides to do STL with an LA job.
It's not going to be comfortable, St. Louis. You're good people. And the fight to keep the Rams in St. Louis is going to be long and arduous. But if we're not resolute in letting the Rams know that a move is unacceptable on every level and that we're going to use what little leverage we might have in any way to make the organizations life a living hell if they don't appease us... then, and only then, do we have a puncher's chance.