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The San Diego Chargers, Oakland Raiders and St. Louis Rams could be leaving their cities. Each team has filed to move to the Los Angeles area. They are trying not to be left out. The race is on for the NFL to return to the nation's second-largest market. It has been 21 years since L.A. had an NFL team.
The Chargers want to partner with the AFC West rival Raiders on a stadium. It would be in Carson.
Chargers chairman Dean Spanos has had the right to leave San Diego since 2008. But recently, the team's efforts to replace aging Qualcomm Stadium have become more aggressive. That happened after Rams owner Stan Kroenke announced plans to build a California stadium. It would be in Inglewood.
The NFL confirmed it received the applications to move for the 2016 season. They will be reviewed by league staff and three committees of owners. All owners will meet in Houston during the week of Jan. 10. They are expected to vote on whether to allow any of the teams to move. A team wanting to move needs 24 of 32 votes.
Los Angeles has been without the NFL since after the 1994 season. That's when the Raiders moved back to Oakland. And the Rams moved to St. Louis. The Rams had been in the L.A. area since 1946.
The Chargers and the city of San Diego have been at odds for years. The issue began in 2000. Then, team owner Alex Spanos said the team needed a new stadium. His statement came just three years after the stadium was expanded to accommodate the Chargers and Super Bowls.
The stadium saga turned nasty this year. Mark Fabiani is an attorney for Dean Spanos. Fabiani criticized Mayor Kevin Faulconer and his proposals to keep the team.
In a video posted on the team's web site, Dean Spanos blamed "the inability of the city at the political level to get any kind of public funding. Or any kind of vote to help subsidize a stadium."
The Chargers walked away from negotiations with the city and county. That was in mid-June.
Three brief negotiating sessions were held between the Chargers and city and county officials. At those, the team did not negotiate finances. But it has said that it expects a public contribution of at least 60 percent.
Under the city and county's proposal, public funding would be capped at 32 percent. The team would be responsible for overruns.
The Chargers claim 25 percent of their fan base comes from north of San Diego County. The team has declined to offer proof, however.
Oakland has expressed interest in building a stadium for the Raiders at the Coliseum site. The team plays home games at the Coliseum now. But the city has no funding plan as of yet.
The Rams currently have a year-to-year lease. They now play in the Edward Jones Dome.
Kroenke has ignored efforts by a St. Louis task force. The task force has proposed a $1.1 billion stadium. It would be built along the Mississippi River. The site is not far from the Rams' current stadium, Edward Jones. That facility was built in 1995.
Middle linebacker James Laurinaitis of the Rams said the demands of the season kept a possible move of the team from being too big of a distraction.
"Really, it'll become a big distraction now as you sit with nothing to do. And you realize it's what, two weeks or not even (that) away from the decision," Laurinaitis said. "Everyone's just kind of fatigued about it, to be honest."
Soon, the fans of each team should know where each will be playing.
CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Which team has the best chance of relocating to LA, and why?
Write your answers in the comments section below