5 NFL Teams That Should Just Move Already
Fifteen years ago, the Houston Oilers left the AstroDome and moved to Tennessee. The would-be Titans' two-step out of Texas ended a three-year exodus in which the Rams and Raiders left Los Angeles for St. Louis and Oakland, respectively, in 1995 and the Cleveland Browns found a new home in Baltimore and a new life as the Ravens in 1996. Abnormal silence and stability followed as the NFL entered its longest stretch without a franchise move since the dry spell between the Cleveland Rams' move to Los Angeles in 1946 and the Chicago Cardinals' flight to St. Louis in 1960.
As the 2012 NFL season approaches, the moving trucks' long-dormant engines shift to a heavy idle. The Minnesota Vikings used a potential move to Los Angeles as leverage for a stadium deal approved by the Minnesota Legislature in May. The Vikings' more than 50-year history in Minnesota remains intact, but at a $500 million to $678 million cost to taxpayers.
At least Minneapolis gets to keep the Vikings. The San Francisco 49ers just broke ground on a $1.2 billion facility that not only moves the team out of San Francisco proper but dumps it 45 miles away at a Silicon Valley-friendly site Santa Clara. It's not a "move" in the true sense, as the team will keep the San Francisco name and "SF" logo, but the 49ers' relocation puts the team roughly four times as far from San Francisco as the New York Giants' and Jets' Met Life Stadium is from Manhattan.
For fans of teams still angling for stadium deals or being not-so-subtly wooed by the promise of a stadium in Los Angeles, each season is potentially their team's last in its current home. With ownership openly toying with fans' emotions in several NFL cities, we've put together a list of five NFL franchises that should either commit to their cities if they want to upgrade facilities or just move and get it over with. Considering the NFL's last batch of moves in the '90s eventually resulted in expansion teams for Cleveland and Houston, fans won't miss out for long if these franchises take off:
San Diego Chargers
Issue: Stadium upgrades