One day after the San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders proposed a plan for the two NFL rivals to build a $1.7-billion stadium in Carson, football fans in Los Angeles expressed skepticism that such a move would ever happen.
Dave Youel doesn’t believe any of it.
Youel, a set-lighting technician working on a TV show in downtown L.A., says he thinks teams threaten to move to Los Angeles when they want more money or a new stadium from their current cities.
“When I hear a team might come to L.A., I think it’s a bluff by the NFL,” Youel, 46, said Friday morning. “It just seems like an empty threat to me.”
The Chargers and Raiders said in a statement to the L.A. Times on Thursday they had a "straightforward reason" for the move. They said they had no alternative but to seek out options -- "if we cannot find a permanent solution in our home markets."
Both the Rams and the Raiders left Los Angeles more than 20 years ago. In the years since, the NFL’s return to the nation’s second-largest media market has seemed both imminent and a pipe dream but, virtually always, a tease.
Youel, a Seattle native and longtime Seahawks fan, remembered the threats by his favorite team to move to Los Angeles in the 1990s.
“The greatest part about being a fan is you go through the ups and downs with the teams, and that was one of the big downs,” he said of the threatened move.
If a team did move to L.A., Youel said he would pay attention, but he wouldn’t be giving up his Seahawks loyalty.
The interest from multiple teams actually has Dan Keyes, a Granada Hills resident and Denver Broncos fan, a little optimistic.
Keyes, 59, said he thought it just might be possible this time that L.A. would get a team. Just don't let it be the Raiders, he said.
He thinks the team has baggage, plus its fan base has been seen as violent and troublesome.
“The Chargers would be cool. The Rams are cool. Keep the Raiders out of here,” said Keyes, who was working in downtown L.A. on Friday. “The Raiders have been here, and they didn’t do any good when they were here.”
Standing next to Keyes, Santa Clarita resident Norton Flynn laughed.
“When you’re a football fan in L.A., it’s like being a vegetarian,” said Flynn, 56. “You think you need meat, and when it’s gone you realize you don’t miss it.”
Wayne Bowen, a security guard from Long Beach who held Los Angeles Raiders season tickets years ago, described himself as a die-hard NFL fan who attended the NFL Pro Bowl every year.
He grew up watching the Rams, and he’d welcome their return, he said. But if a team doesn’t come, and he’s always doubtful they will, he won’t be too upset.
“We’ve been without a team for so long that I don’t miss it,” said Bowen, 76. “I don’t really care.”
In Signal Hill on Friday morning, Sonic Sieng, 35, of Long Beach was hopeful, saying that having two NFL teams and a new football stadium would put Carson on the map.
“There’s not much going on there,” he said.
Sieng said he’s a San Francisco 49ers fan “since the Joe Montana days. But all my friends are all Raiders fans.”
Marvin Melendez, 26, of Signal Hill also thought that having two teams in Carson would be a boon for the city. Melendez said that “economically, it would create jobs for the surrounding cities.”
Melendez said he didn't follow football but was warming to the idea of teams in Carson as he talked about it.
“It will be a great attraction for Carson,” he said. “It will attract more tourists. Maybe they’ll have the Super Bowl here!”