Do you support NFL expansion or relocation?

Somehow, someday, someway, the Los Angeles area will end up with an NFL team. Do you support NFL expansion? How about the relocation of an existing franchise? What other areas are likely candidates for NFL teams?

I can see Jacksonville being the most likely candidate for a Los Angeles move. The team doesn’t seem to get the fan support you’d expect for an NFL team. The Jags have been competitive, but the Jacksonville area just hasn’t seemed to warm to them.

If not the Jags, perhaps a move north for the San Diego Chargers? The Chargers have quite a fair weather fan base. Eventually, they’ll want a new stadium and I’m not sure they’ll get it.

I’ve also heard rumors about the St. Louis Rams considering a move back.

As far as other teams go:

I can see the Buffalo Bills ending up in Toronto.

Depending on how the rebuilding of New Orleans goes, I can see a possible Saints move in the future. San Antonio, TX would be a likely candidate.

I know I don’t want to see any teams outside of the United States and Canada. I don’t like regular season games in Europe at all.

I really don’t support either one at the moment. You say Jacksonville hasn’t warmed to the Jaguars, and I don’t know if that’s true or not, but both the Rams and Raiders (twice, if memory serves) have found LA unhospitable in terms of fan support. If LA really needs a team I’d rather they get an expansion team… which will end up in Vegas in 10 years. That’s a better solution than screwing over the fanbase of another team because the owner in Jacksonville or San Diego or wherever wants a new stadium to be built with taxpayer money.

Detroit could use a professional football team. We have the Lions.

I don’t really care to much either way about relocation. However, I have to say “absolutely not” to expansion. We have a nice symmetry in the divisions right now, and having one of them bumped back to five teams while the rest have four flat-out sucks to me.

Unless they’re going to add eight teams, they should add zero teams.

EDIT: As an afterthought, I’d prefer it if the Jags stayed where they are rather than move to Los Angeles. If L.A. gets a team, I want them to already be west coast-based, otherwise that’s an extra coast-to-coast flight my Giants will have to take when they play an away game there.

I have to agree with Hal, the league is really the perfect size right now. I guess you could add four teams and go with 3 six-team divisions in each league (as opposed to adding eight), but I still would be opposed to that.

So, no to expansion.

As far as relocation – LA has had several opportunities to support an NFL team and they haven’t done it. Why should they get another chance at the expense of a smaller city that supports their team?

Now, if a team is losing money due to lack of fan support, I wouldn’t blame them for moving. But LA would be a bad choice – better off in Las Vegas or Memphis or San Antonio.

I don’t know if it’s possible for an NFL franchise to lose money. For what it’s worth, I’m with Hal. Either give every division a new team or nobody a new team. And keep the teams that are there where they are.

You assume these decisions are based on “fan support”; unless that metric can be expressed in terms of dollars and cents, the NFL is not interested.

A blurb at the top of this article hints that the Minnesota Vikings may be a candidate for LA when their Metrodome lease expires in 2011–unless the city ponies up for a new downtown stadium.

Goodell says there are no plans to expand “at this time”, but it’s hard to believe a developer would sink $800 million into an LA-area stadium unless he thought he had a good chance to lure a team to LA. Teams playing in an older stadium—I’m looking at you, Saints, Vikings, and Chiefs–may be in play, or at least looking at it as leverage for new digs, a la the White Sox playing Tampa for a new Comiskey in 1990.

It’s a tricky situation. I agree that expansion is a unpleasant proposition due to the unbalance that it would create. At the same time I’m not a fan of relocation or exploitation of taxpayers. I think LA should have a team and I think they will get one but I’m not a fan of most of the plans to get them one.

Jacksonville is the team I’d most like to see moved (and they’d swap conferences and divisions with St Louis), but as far as I know they are selling enough tickets. If it were a floundering franchise like the Cardinals were for so many years it would be easy, but since they have a reasonably new stadium I just don’t see it happening soon.

The other candidates for a move are all terrible choices. The Chiefs are one of the original AFL teams and have rabid home fan support. Moving them would be every bit as horrible a move as moving the Browns was. The Vikings are in a similar situation though they are in more serious need of a new stadium. Moving the Saints would be a PR nightmare and the league wants to keep playing Super Bowls there so that is probably a long shot.

Really, it’s a mess. Probably the ideal situation would be to wait another decade or so and make some wholesale changes. Swap 2 preseason games for 2 regular season games. Expand 4 teams and realign into six 6 team divisions. Add teams in LA, Vegas, Toronto and another site that is deemed worthy (Chicago has talked about adding a second team, maybe Portland or Salt Lake) and move forward from there.

No on both. The talent pool is too thin and transient already. I don’t see relocation as a step up for any team at this point. LA doesn’t support teams, that’s already been proven.

Now, it is actually a proven fact LA didn’t support football teams, or is it that the teams that were there got sweetheart stadium deals elsewhere? Isn’t it curious St. Louis could support the Rams, when allegedly they couldn’t support the Cardinals?

“The city won’t build us a shiny new stadium” is NOT the same as fans not supporting the team.

I really hope they don’t expand either, the league is just the right size now.

The Bills seem to be a likely candidate for relocation after Ralph Wilson dies.

Heck, they’re not just a candidate, they’re starting the process; they’re shifting some home games to Toronto starting next season.

I’d love to see them in Toronto (permanently). I’d never renounce my Steelers fandom but I would definitely support a Canadian team. I think the league has been quite resistant to the idea though.

I agree with most of this. I think 4 more teams and realigning to 6 divisions would be perfect. It would also give them a good excuse to get rid of the conference idea for either a single league approach or a East/West or North/South approach. I think LA and Vegas are good choices, and possibly some Candian city (I think Toronto is bad only because of the Buffalo talk.

Slight hijack:

The only part I don’t like is adding 2 more games to the season, and certainly not unless they expand. As it is, it’s already long and grueling on the athletes, and would probably result in the quality of game dropping and the number of injuries increasing. Not to mention, you’d get a lot of bitching and moaning about how it affects records and such.

Instead, my proposition would simply be to remove 1 pre-season game (especially since several teams are playing 5 now, which is just stupid) and add an extra bye-week. This gives each team 2 byes, but because it still adds an extra week to the season, that’s another week of primetime games, which should translate to more money from TV contracts. All I’d say is make it so each team is guaranteed a bye in each half of the season, and no byes on week 1 or 18 because there’d have to be two week that don’t have any byes, and those are the lamest weeks both in terms of having the bye for the team and because it’s just lame to not have every team play opening week and the last week.

So, say, start a rotation so each whole division takes the same byes (2 and 10, 3 and 11,… 9 and 17) and ensure they play against eachother afterward to eliminate the unfairness of one team having had two weeks to prepare and the other not.

Why? What issues are there with the AFC/NFC concept? There is plenty of inter-conference play. The only negative I can think of is that it doesn’t always mean the 1st and 2nd best teams end up in the Super Bowl but that would apply to any split, East/West or North/South, and it can be solved by simply reseeding the postseason. Personally, I like the way the conferences are split up and the tradition of the NFC-AFC Super Bowl. No reason to change just for change’s sake.

Well, I’m not actually talking about adding games. Currently teams play 4 preseason games and 16 regular season games for a total of 20. In my system there’d be 2 preseason games and 18 regular season games. Certainly exchanging a regular season game for a preseason game is going to be quite a bit more taxing on the players, but that’s part of the gig. If adding an extra bye week to rest the players is required, all the better for everyone. They expanded from 14 to 16 games 25 years ago and everything has worked out fine, players and teams would adjust. Players don’t get paid for preseason games anyways, so adding games would work out to higher salaries for everyone involved.

The reason adding games would be essential is because 6-team divisions would mean that every team plays 10 divisional opponents every year as opposed to 6. If you don’t add games the schedules would not be very balanced and teams would not play enough interesting non-divisional rivals. It’s nice that the Bears get to play the Colts and Rams on a somewhat regular basis, in a 6 team division that’d happen a quarter as often (assuming of course they aren’t the new divisional opponents).

The NFL hasn’t been slavishly devoted to statistics the way that MLB is so I don’t think that’s much of an argument. As previously noted, the league went from 14 to 16 games and you don’t hear too much griping about how OJs and Jim Browns numbers are “ruined”.

Me too on pretty much everything Omni said. I thought I’d be the first to point out the problem of too many division games in 6-team divisions. And definitely a big “nobody would care” on the issue of diluted records. The record book in the NFL is an inconsequential afterthought.

I would be very much against any expansion, as I’ve become quite attached to the 32 team structure. Relocation didn’t bother me until it was pointed out how it would mess with the divisional structure. So if somebody has to move to LA, I would fervently hope it would be one of the eight teams in the two western divisions. Agreeing with the Chiefs being a backbone of the league, I’d also toss the Broncos into that group. That leaves the 49ers, Seahawks, Rams, Cardinals, Raiders or Chargers. Any of those would work for me. (ETA: I’m starting to feel that the Seattle fans are earning their stripes as a fanbase that shouldn’t be fucked with.)

The problem with an NFL franchise in Canada isn’t just an NFL thing. Canada has its own professional football league, so there are issues of stepping on toes. I guess it’s not insurmountable, what with the Bills playing some games in Toronto. I wonder how the Argonauts – apparently the oldest pro sports franchise in North America – feel about that? (Fifty years older than the New York Football Giants! Wow.)

What do you think of the notion of moving the Jags to LA and the NFC West and putting the Rams in the AFC South? That makes the AFC South into a really nicely packaged geographic area of Houston, St Louis, Indianapolis and Tennessee, they could probably start using charter buses again! Ditto with the NFC West restricting the teams all to west of the Rockies in Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Arizona. It’s not as if the Jags have a legendary rivalry with the rest of their conference since it’s essentially the “leftovers” conference from the previous realignment. The Rams do have something of a history in the NFC West against the Niners but that’s it since it’s basically a hodgepodge itself.

Almost a perfect solution. A similar deal could be made with the Saints if they were the relocated team, but it’s a less perfect solution and a bigger PR nightmare.

They’ve done some dancing to make sure that the Argonauts aren’t getting stepped on. For one thing, Argo season’s ticket holders get first crack at the Bills tickets.

Toronto could only get it’s own NFL team if the Bills moved here, or if the Bills moved elsewhere first. There’s no way the Bills would tolerate a different team in Toronto, since so much of their market is on the Canadian side of the border.

OK, sounds like Toronto isn’t a very good fit. Makes sense.

Presuming that there was an eventual 4 team expansion what cities are the best candidates? LA is the no brainer. What would the other 3 be?

That’s not bad at all, but I think it would be a hard sell. Personally, I would like it, but haven’t the Rams cultivated some ties to the West? I know the 49ers and Seahawks have formed a bit of a rivalry; I thought the Rams had as well. I could be wrong, though. (I just realized on re-reading that you already acknowledged this.)

But then again, if we’re going to realign geographically, I’m on record in favor of moving the Colts to the AFC North, the Ravens to the AFC East, the Dolphins to the AFC South, the Cowboys to the NFC South (talk about a hard sell,) and the Panthers to the NFC East. Buses for everyone!