NFL to consider new Southland options
The NFL will send a staff contingent to Southern California within the next month to investigate potential stadium sites that do not include the Coliseum or Anaheim, according to sources inside and outside the league.
League officials are known to be interested in Chavez Ravine and believed to be considering an undisclosed location in the City of Industry.
At the same time, NFL executives plan to approach an owners advisory committee, asking it to venture outside league policy and consider Los Angeles for a future Super Bowl even though the city does not have a franchise.
Given the difficult history between the NFL and Southern California since the Raiders and Rams left more than a decade ago, it is difficult to know whether any of these developments might result in significant progress.
They came to light a day after the Daily News website posted correspondences between the Coliseum Commission and the NFL last summer that appeared to further dim any hopes of the historic stadium getting a professional team. The Times reported in 2006 that several NFL owners considered the cost of refurbishing the Coliseum too high.
In its letter, dated June 27, the commission asked the league to show good faith by awarding a Super Bowl to the Coliseum or paying an option fee.
NFL senior vice president Neil Glat responded by noting again that the league considered the cost of turning the Exposition Park site into a state-of-the-art facility too big an economic risk.
“There hasn’t been an NFL game in the Coliseum for 13 years or so,” said David Israel, the commission’s vice president. “What door is there to keep open?”
Israel pointed out that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell recently spoke of holding a Super Bowl overseas. Los Angeles “seems to be behind London” as a potential site, he said.
The league has already awarded its title game to other cities through 2011.
But a group of NFL owners considering plans to put a team in Los Angeles held a conference call last week to discuss the league’s options.
“It’s not dead by any stretch of the imagination,” said Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, a member of the working group. He added later: “I know on a personal basis I’ve been doing a lot more lately to get us a team in Los Angeles than I have been in the past.”
In the meantime, the Coliseum Commission continues to negotiate a long-term lease with USC.
Councilman Bernard Parks spoke cautiously of the talks, saying the commission has rejected a deal that would allow the university to take control of the stadium.
“You can’t just give the Coliseum away to a private institution,” Parks said.
Israel sounded a more-positive note, characterizing the negotiations as complicated but “serious.”
“It needs to be done the right way, regardless of however many months or years it takes,” he said. “I hope we make a long-term deal with USC because that’s the sensible thing to do.”