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People in L.A. love the NFL -- on TV, that is

IT’S STILL the best reality show on TV, and what a cliffhanger Saturday night, the Jaguars, now the team most likely to move to L.A., playing like Hollywood would have them against the Steelers in an NFL playoff game.

What if the Jaguars were already here and playing this game in L.A.?

Had it been a home game in Farmer John Stadium in Chavez Ravine, would you have been trying to sell them on StubHub given the weather report?

If the Parking Lot Attendant charges $15 to park for a baseball game, what would he charge for an NFL playoff game?

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Would you have spent a Saturday night at home watching the NFL on TV?

We do that already, of course.

The highest-rated TV show in L.A. the week of Dec. 3-9 was the Steelers-Patriots game -- a postgame NFL show tied for second with Univision’s “Destilando Amor.”

The highest-rated TV show in L.A. the week of Dec. 10-16 -- beating out “CSI” and “Without a Trace” -- was Eagles-Cowboys, everyone wanting a look at Jessica Simpson.

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“Biggest Loser” might have had better ratings here had so many people not mistaken it for just another Clippers game.

The highest-rated TV show here the week of Dec. 17-23 -- “CSI: Miami” placing fourth behind three NFL games -- was Dolphins-Patriots. Understandable -- had Pete Carroll gone ahead and taken the Miami job a year ago.

But how about the week of Dec. 24-30, and the Lakers -- the most popular sports team in Los Angeles, playing the Phoenix Suns in a nationally televised Christmas Day game?

Shocking. The Lakers finished third in the L.A. market, the Giants-Patriots game on CBS and NBC almost doubling the Lakers’ ratings, while a contest between the Colts and Titans also attracted higher ratings.

We love the NFL. On TV, all right.

Some people, who live elsewhere, will insist we are missing something because we don’t have a team of our own to get excited about.

But then we don’t pay for parking, tickets, concessions or experience a rise in the crime rate with so many more professional athletes living among us. And our dogs don’t have to sleep with one eye open.

The folks in San Diego are so excited about their playoff Chargers, the NFL awarded the team an additional 24 hours to try to sell out today’s game in order to lift the TV blackout.

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The fans in Jacksonville are so pumped about their improving team that they had only three games blacked out this season, tying the St. Louis Rams for most blacked-out games in the NFL this season. And doesn’t that just tickle you some.

This is the 13th straight year the NFL has decided to go ahead and have its playoffs without a team in Los Angeles having any chance to make them. Nothing new around here, of course, as any Dodgers fan can tell you.

BUT HERE we go again -- whether we’re interested or not. There are rumblings around the league that it’s time to play the stadium game -- some owners looking for an improved playpen and a bigger payday.

These things change, but most insiders now have the small-town Jaguars pegged as the team to end up here. Owner Wayne Weaver said he will not move or sell his team, which is a good indication he will.

Remember when the Seahawks moved into Rams Park? Or when Paul Tagliabue stood in front of the Coliseum announcing the return of the NFL? Things do change.

The Saints were at the top of the list before Hurricane Katrina, and although they continue to struggle in an economically challenged area, the NFL isn’t about to take away the city’s team.

The Chargers are still looking to rip off a community, but for some reason the Spanos Goofs want no part of L.A. I have no idea why -- I’d give them my undivided attention.

Ed Roski is working on a proposed stadium adjacent to the 60 Freeway like we’re really eager for the return of the NFL, but then he’s heard the talk around the league. The Parking Lot Attendant is also trying to weasel his way into the mix.

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I happen to believe the NFL will return one day to the Coliseum, because I learned long ago not to believe anything the NFL has to say. I believe USC will lose its bid to control the facility, and a brand-new constructed Coliseum will meet the approval of the NFL, USC and the paying customers in L.A.

But whatever happens, we’re probably going to be stuck with the return of the NFL, and you know what that’s going to do to our Sunday TV fare.

If it’s going to take place on a stage built alongside Dodger Stadium, the Parking Lot Attendant will become one of the football team’s owners, and what a boon for the local economy that will be with the way he goes through local image consultants.

And just think of all the gifted free agents the Parking Lot Attendant would bring to town -- well, never mind.

As for the annual increase in ticket prices Jaguars and Dodgers fans might expect, here’s why no one really seems in a hurry to bring back the NFL.

We know Dodgers fans -- no matter how much their cost or how disappointing the team might be -- will still buy tickets. They bought nearly 4 million a few years ago to watch a team finish 20 games under .500. One finger represents the number of playoff wins the Dodgers have given you since 1988.

We also know historically that football fans in L.A. won’t put up with garbage -- choosing instead to stay home. And if that happens, games will be blacked out and NFL TV life, as we have come to enjoy it, would stink again.

Now you would think with 3.8 million suckers buying into the Dodgers hype every year, there would be enough still willing to buy tickets to attend eight football games and the two exhibition games the NFL forces fans to buy.

If only NFL fans in L.A. were more like Dodgers fans, willing to accept anything thrown onto the field, then I think no one here would have a problem welcoming the return of the NFL.

T.J. Simers can be reached at t.j.simers@latimes.com. To read previous columns by Simers, go to latimes.com/simers.


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