Stan Kroenke’s Path to Stripping St. Louis of the Rams
Image via In The Zone Network
Stan Kroenke spent about twenty years trying to figure a way to move the Rams from St. Louis to Los Angeles. As Howard Balzer reported, Stan Kroenke was part of the minority ownership group that helped former owner Georgia Frontiere move the Rams to St. Louis in 1995. When she passed away in 2008, her children inherited the Rams. This is when it turned for the worse for St. Louisans and St. Louis Rams fans.
After Ms. Frontiere’s passing, her children sold the team in 2010. The Rams were in the midst of a 15-65 five year stretch that lasted from 2007-2011. This is the worst five year stretch in NFL history. Minority owner Stan Kroenke exercised his right of first refusal on the last day to match the offer current Jaguars owner Shahid Khan placed to buy the Rams. The first refusal right is parallel to an NHL offer sheet. An NHL offer sheet is where the club, that controls the player’s rights, can match another club’s offer to a restricted free agent by placing it on an “offer sheet.” After Stan Kroenke bought the Rams, it became known he planned on moving them to Los Angeles.
It would be sweet justice should Stan Kroenke win his indemnity action against the NFL, only to realize he would have to use that money to fund the new team, its stadium, the personal seat licenses, and while I am on this topic, Jerry Jones must fund the new seating, clubs, and suites in the stadium with his Legends company without pay. This is the sweetest karma St. Louisans and St. Louis Rams fans could receive from this lawsuit. Charlie Marlow, Fox 2 reporter for St. Louis, hit the nail on the head; there will likely be a parade in the streets if St. Louis is granted a NFL team, but if the city is only granted monetary damages, it will be cool to see St. Louis beat the NFL in a civil suit, but there would hardly be any jumping for joy.
The only parallel I can think of, should this hypothetical happen, is the situation in Cleveland after Cleveland Browns owner Art Modell announced he was moving the Cleveland Browns to Baltimore in 1995. To make things right, Commissioner Paul Tagliabue granted Cleveland an expansion team, and they began play in 1999.
However, I caution all fans about getting their hopes up that another franchise is coming to St. Louis. Two teams relocated, credit to Charlie Marlow and Brooke Grimsley on their coverage here, the city and the county have not merged into one entity yet. Should they merge, it would make St. Louis more attractive. Unfortunately, as Dan Wallach and Dan Lust mentioned, there are rumblings the NFL owners do not want to go back to St. Louis for the reason mentioned above, that St. Louis lost two teams already.
The NFL does not want to put a team in a market that has not kept a team for more than thirty years. The Rams were there for twenty-one seasons, and the Cardinals were there for twenty-seven seasons. Both teams left due to inadequate stadiums, the Dome at America’s Center and Busch Memorial Stadium (Busch Stadium II). The key is going to be Mayor Jones, who I wrote about earlier. She is non-committal to a franchise, and she wants the stadium to be funded because she does not want to use taxpayer or city money to construct it. It remains to be seen, will the city get another franchise, a monetary settlement, a monetary verdict, etc.? Trial is just under two months away, so get your popcorn ready.