WHAT'S NEXT FOR NFL, L.A., CLEVELAND, CINCINNATI, TORONTO?
Following approval of the Rams' move, NFL Commissioner Paul
Tagliabue said that putting another NFC team in the L.A. market
is a "high priority": "We hope to be able to put together a plan
to have a second team in L.A. It could be expansion or it could
be the relocation of an existing franchise." A vote on the
Raiders' stadium could come at the owners' May meetings in
Jacksonville (T.J. Simers, L.A. TIMES, 4/13). In L.A., Bill
Plashke writes to expect an existing NFL team to move to L.A.
after the Raiders move into their new stadium in '97. That team
"will either join the Raiders in their new park or play in a
refurbished Anaheim Stadium." Plashke also expects "that this
new team will not be like the Rams, or the Cincinnati Bengals, or
any other club accused of poor ownership." Plashke reports that
the NFL has a plan for L.A., quoting a league official: "We're
controlling this move and this market from the start." Plashke:
"The league will examine the candidates and choose a winner just
in time for the beginning of negotiations on the new TV
contract," which expires in '97. Finally, Plashke predicts "the
better the team in the nation's second-largest TV market, the
better the contract. ... Worry not. Officials have assured that
it will not be an expansion team" (L.A. TIMES, 4/13).
HISTORY REPEATS? The Rams, originally from Cleveland, moved
to L.A. in '46. Gordon Forbes reports that the NFL's deal with
the Rams gives the team only a proxy vote on any realignment,
"meaning the Rams could end up in an AFC division." Forbes:
"Cleveland and Cincinnati are itching for St. Louis-type deals.
They are both AFC teams" (USA TODAY, 4/13). This morning's
CINCINNATI ENQUIRER reports rumors of a Bengals' move to CA may
not be viable. "A source close to the situation" says Bengals
President Mike Brown "isn't the high-profile go-getter the NFL
and Orange County have in mind" for Southern CA. The ENQUIRER
also calls Browns Owner Art Modell "a better fit" for L.A. But
Modell denies the Browns are candidates: "Not until my city has
been given every opportunity" (CINCINNATI ENQUIRER, 4/13).
OH, CANADA? In this morning's TORONTO SUN, the AP's Gary
Picknell writes that the Rams move "could accelerate the
expansion process." TORONTO SUN CEO Paul Godfrey, who is
"spearheading the drive" for an NFL team in Toronto, says "I see
this as a positive step" (TORONTO SUN, 4/13).