The NFL has indeed become the Not-For-Long league when it comes to franchise movement.
The Raiders became the 10th franchise to relocate in the last 35 years when the NFL approved a move by this original AFL team to Las Vegas for the 2019 season. It’s the third move approved by NFL owners in the last two years. The Rams left St. Louis for Los Angeles in 2016, and the Chargers will leave San Diego for Los Angeles this season.
Baltimore, Cleveland and Houston have all lost teams since 1984. Los Angeles, Oakland and St. Louis have lost two different NFL teams during that same stretch. Indianapolis, Nashville and Phoenix have joined Las Vegas among the beneficiaries of those moves.
So who’s next? What will be the next city to land a disgruntled NFL franchise that can’t get a new stadium built? That’s the subject of our weekly Talk of Fame Network poll — what city will benefit from the next relocation? Here are your eight options:
London. This has been a carrot the NFL has coveted for decades. The NFL began playing preseason games in London in 1983 and regular season games in 2007. London would become the gateway for international expansion as the NFL bids to create a world-wide footprint.
Mexico City. The largest crowd ever to seen an NFL contest turned out in Mexico City in 1994. It was a mere preseason game between the defending Super Bowl champion Dallas Cowboys and the Houston Oilers, but it drew 112,376. Mexico City drew two other crowds in excess of 100,000 in the 1990s for preseason games featuring the Broncos in 1997 and the Cowboys again in 1998. The first regular season game in 2005 between the Cardinals and 49ers drew 103,467. There’s a thirst for the NFL in Mexico.
Oakland. The Raiders have one of the most loyal followings in football in one of the worst stadiums. Twice the Raiders have abandoned Oakland, but this is a fan base that deserves better. When Oakland commits to a new stadium, the city would become an attractive landing spot.
Portland. Placing an NFL team in Portland would give Seattle a natural rival. Portland housed a World Football League team in the 1970s and has a successful NBA team and one of the top Major League Soccer franchises. Portland is also the 26th largest city in the nation.
St. Louis. Two teams have moved to St. Louis – the Cardinals and the Rams – and those same two teams have since moved away. St. Louis made a last-ditch effort to keep the Rams with a new stadium proposal, but team owner Stan Kroenke had his mind set on moving the franchise back to the West Coast. A new stadium would again make St. Louis an attractive landing spot.
San Antonio. San Antonio is a forever expansion candidate and even housed an NFL team for a stretch during the 2005 season when the New Orleans Saints were forced to relocate because of Hurricane Katrina. As the seventh largest city in the nation, San Antonio is the largest metropolitan area without an NFL team.
San Diego. Like the Raiders, the Chargers also have a large and loyal following that deserved better than to have their team ripped out from under them. Like Oakland and St. Louis, if San Diego committed to building a stadium this city would be among the most attractive relocation sites.
Toronto. The other three sports all have a foothold in Toronto, with baseball’s Blue Jays, basketball’s Raptors and hockey’s Maple Leafs. Toronto does have a CFL team but, like London and Mexico City, the NFL started playing preseason games there and eventually switched to regular-season games. The preseason games started in 1993, and the regular-season games in 2008. Putting teams in Mexico City and Toronto would give the NFL a North American footprint.