San Diego – The San Diego Chargers, Oakland Raiders and St. Louis Rams filed for relocation to the Los Angeles area on Monday night, trying not to be left out in the race to return the NFL to the nation’s second-largest market after a 21-year absence.
The Chargers want to partner with the AFC West rival Raiders on a stadium in Carson.
Chargers chairman Dean Spanos has had the right to leave San Diego since 2008, but the team’s long, contentious efforts to replace aging Qualcomm Stadium became more aggressive after Rams owner Stan Kroenke announced plans to build a stadium 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 that will meet in New York on Wednesday and Thursday. All owners will meet in Houston next week and 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, 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 City Hall have been at odds since 2000, when team owner Alex Spanos said the team needed a new stadium. That was just three years after the stadium was expanded to accommodate the Chargers and Super Bowls.
The stadium saga turned nasty this year as Mark Fabiani, an attorney for Dean Spanos, attacked 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’ filing came hours after Spanos’ son, John, the team’s president of football operations, thanked fans for “your unwavering support and passion” in a statement in which he expressed support for beleaguered coach Mike McCoy and general manager Tom Telesco. McCoy will return despite the Chargers going 4-12, their worst record in 12 seasons. Telesco had his contract secretly renewed last summer.
The Raiders and Rams were both 7-9.
The Chargers walked away from negotiations with the city and county in mid-June.