The passing of Ralph Wilson has led to speculation about whether the Bills’ future will remain in Upstate New York. One potential destination: Los Angeles.
Those rumors should be put to rest, though, as the Buffalo News reported Los Angeles city officials are not confident the Bills — or any NFL team for that matter — is coming their way anytime soon.
Wilson died in March. The Bills are on the market. Los Angeles developers and officials want an NFL team.
But a hard look at the facts show the timing is all wrong for any NFL team to return to L.A. at the moment.
Many of the deficiencies that drove the Rams and Raiders out of the market in 1995 haven’t been corrected. California’s economic climate is unfavorable. Prominent advocates to bringing the NFL back to L.A. are giving up.
“I’ve finally, personally come to a conclusion,” Los Angeles City Councilman Bernard Parks said. “I have to resign myself to the fact the NFL is not coming.
“After you put 10 years into something with nothing in return … If this was a marriage, you’d be divorced.”
No NFL team has been in Hollywood for almost two decades, which makes little sense considering it is America’s second-largest media market. The Bills, along with the Oakland Raiders and Jacksonville Jaguars, are among the teams that have been mentioned in connection with relocation to Los Angeles in recent years.
Commissioner Roger Goodell has openly expressed the NFL’s desire to add both an AFC and NFC club in Los Angeles without league-wide expansion. The teams would ideally share one Los Angeles-area stadium.
But between campaigning from New York politicians about maintaining the Bills in Buffalo and issues concerning a new stadium in Los Angeles, former Los Angeles Raiders Hall of Fame defensive end Howie Long believes we’ll have a team in London before Los Angeles.
“When you factor in moving costs and what it will take to construct a stadium,” Long said, “the price of getting Los Angeles would be very difficult. …It’s sounding more and more like we’ll have a team in London before we do in L.A.”
Despite fans’ desires to put a team in Hollywood, it’s looking more and more unlikely.