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TAKING SHOTS AT THS NFL'S L.A. STADIUM BALLOON
Published October 5, 1994
In St. Louis this morning, Bernie Miklasz criticizes NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue's "frivolous attempt at entering the stadium home-improvement business" and predicts that the NFL would get "slapped with the George Halas of all antitrust suits" if the league built a stadium for a "preferred" city such as L.A. and blocked efforts in St. Louis and Baltimore to attract the Rams. Miklasz also notes that despite the NFL's "double standard" which favors large-over medium-market cities, Rams President John Shaw is "shrewd" enough to realize that an NFL- sponsored stadium wouldn't be a "cure-all" for the Rams problems. L.A.'s apathy toward the Rams is "alarming" and team officials would miss a chance for a "sweetheart deal" in St. Louis if the team is "stuck" in L.A. should the Raiders move first. "The NFL can't give [Rams Owner Georgia] Frontiere a future in L.A. Build the stadium, sure. But will the NFL put the fans in the seats, too?" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 10/5). APPROVE THE MOVE? While many NFL owners are "less than thrilled" about a Rams move, their "collective opinions might not count for squat." Eight owners would have to vote to block and the Eagles' Jeff Lurie, Cowboys' Jerry Jones, and Colts' James Irsay have all "indicated" opposition. But Shaw is "inclined to ignore" any vote to block the move. Shaw: "I've given a lot of thought to what our options would be." The NFL's court record on franchise moves "isn't strong" and Anaheim's legal options are "thin." Leigh Steinberg, co-chair of Save the Rams, said once the NFL sees "how committed" Southern CA is to its team, "it will instantly change their perspective." Steinberg favors a grass- roots fan effort over legal action (Himmelberg & Mouchard, ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 10/4). JUMPING THE GUN? The ST. LOUIS POST DISPATCH also reports this morning that 12-15 sites are being considered on which to build a $15M practice and office facility for the Rams (Jim Thomas, POST-DISPATCH, 10/5). ANGELOS FRONT AND CENTER: Orioles Owner Peter Angelos met with Tagliabue in New York last month to "explain his interest" in bringing a franchise to Baltimore, according to a report in this morning's Baltimore SUN. NFL Spokesperson Greg Aiello: "I wouldn't construe it to be highly unusual." Angelos said he is "pleased" that NFL owners' approval of a new Redskins stadium in Laurel, MD, "doesn't preclude" a franchise in Baltimore. But he also noted that the MD Stadium Authority and his football investment partners have "sufficient" resources to "cover court costs" should a legal battle ensue (Jon Morgan, Baltimore SUN, 10/5). THE NEXT WAYNE HUIZENGA? Thomas Boswell predicts that either Angelos "is going to be a big man in America's games. Or he's going to get burned" (WASHINGTON POST, 10/5).