St. Louis’s Case Against NFL Destined for a St. Louis Courtroom
Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk and KSDK’s Corey Miller, reported that St. Louis’ lawsuit against the NFL will go to trial on January 10th, 2022 after the Missouri Court of Appeals denied the NFL’s last-minute effort to summarily dismiss the lawsuit, pending a settlement between the parties. This trial date is significant because less than a month later, Stan Kroenke’s gem, SOFI Stadium, hosts Super Bowl LVI. Stan Kroenke owns the Rams, and is public enemy #1 in St. Louis. He relocated the Rams from St. Louis to Los Angeles, and nearly five years later, Kroenke and the NFL are being relocated back to St. Louis for trial after they exhausted all options to show there is not a triable fact or enough factual evidence for a trial.
From the first filing for a motion to dismiss, the local media outlets in St. Louis kept reporting every action taken during the discovery process. Mike Florio from Pro Football Talk and Seth Wickersham, investigative reporter for ESPN were the only national reporters until September, when there became a possibility (now almost a certainty) the NFL could face a jury trial in a former team’s market. The NFL filed motions for venue changes to motions for this case to be heard at the Missouri Appellate level and Supreme Court level. They got desperate and filed an emergency writ to dismiss the case earlier this afternoon, as reported by Corey Miller, Dan Wallach, among others.
Seth Wickersham reported a settlement offer had been made; St. Louis rejected it. There are rumors that a possible expansion team could be offered to St. Louis, first reported by Mike Florio. The NFL is desperate because they did not believe St. Louis had the evidence to take this case, first filed in 2017, to trial. Nearly five years after St. Louis lost the Rams on January 12th, 2016, the NFL’s litigation team will head to a St. Louis courthouse because they pursued greener pastures, in the form of money, in Los Angeles.
When Stan Kroenke bought the Rams in 2010, he told the local media he would do everything possible to keep the Rams in St. Louis, but they could read the tea leaves. In 2012, Jeff Fisher was hired as the Rams head coach. On Tim Mckernan’s podcast, “The Tim Mckernan Show,” Fisher revealed he was told about the possibility the team would move after he exited the interview. Jeff Fisher previously coached the Houston Oilers, and assisted with their relocation to Tennessee to become the Titans. Stan Kroenke had the coach he needed to help with the relocation.
Earlier this year, Joel Currier and Ben Frederickson of the St. Louis Post Dispatch revealed Kroenke and the NFL conducted secret phone calls about viable land in the Los Angeles area that was big enough and could be a potential site for a stadium as early as 2013. These articles mention NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell deflecting questions from the media about a return to Los Angeles at his Super Bowl XLVIII press conference. In 2014, Rams COO Kevin Demoff told St. Louis media outlets the land Kroenke bought near Los Angeles, in Inglewood, was not for a football stadium. Lies were everywhere beneath the surface.
As reported by the St. Louis Post Dispatch staff, St. Louis had belief they could keep the Rams. This belief led to the St. Louis’ aldermen board vote, which led to the approved stadium proposal for an open-air stadium on the Mississippi riverfront, with a naming rights deal from National Car Rental. It was smoke to cover the NFL’s fraudulent acts towards St. Louis.
Multiple St. Louis Post Dispatch stories revealed St. Louis paid nearly $20 million for a proposed stadium in 2015-2016. St. Louisans were still paying off the $600 million used to construct and finance the Dome. Nearly five years later, it has come full circle. In 69 days, pending a settlement between the parties, opening statements will be made in St. Louis.
Alex Patterson is a 3L at Thomas M. Cooley Law School in Lansing, Michigan. He played football for seventeen years as an offensive and defensive lineman. He graduated from Lindenwood University-Belleville in 2018 with a Bachelor's in Sports Management. He can be followed on Twitter @alpatt71.