Los Angeles is the hub of many things in America. Whether it's stars ingraining themselves in all things Hollywood, musicians trying to make it big, or even USC and UCLA's grasp on the area, the city has a lot of things that draws crowds. Now, it has become the epicenter of professional football, with the Rams relocating there last year and the Chargers announcing their similar intentions last week.
Much like Cincinnati, the city of San Diego is a town of cynically rabid football fans. Unfortunately, the Spanos family, who owns the Chargers, ignored the city's pleas to keep the team in San Diego and opted for what they felt was a more lucrative move to L.A. It has been met with overwhelmingly negative responses, whether it was regarding their new logo (which has already been retired), or from bitter fans who felt slighted in an unheralded region of professional sports.
Now, to be fair to the Spanos family, there were a number of different factors that played into their decision--both of what the public is privy to and those behind closed doors. The negotiations between the city of San Diego and the Chargers isn't wholly known, but in the recent election, a measure for a new stadium didn't pass with voters, and wasn't even close.
On this week's Orange and Black Insider, we got to thinking about a hypothetical with the Bengals. What if the Brown family made a similar decision to move the team from Cincinnati? While it now seems far-fetched because of their favorable stadium deal, it actually was a distinct possibility about 20 years ago.
After the Rams and Raiders left Los Angeles in 1995, the city has been clamoring for another NFL franchise. With Roger Goodell's mantra of global expansion, the agenda to get a team or two back to the second-largest market in the U.S. was a high priority.
When the Bengals were coming up on an expiring deal at Riverfront Stadium, Mike Brown strong-armed the city into getting the team a new facility, Paul Brown Stadium. Part of the negotiation tactics revolved around veiled threats of his moving the team to another city to get the stadium he coveted. The Bengals unveiled their new stadium in 2000 and have been there ever since.
With the tense history between the Bengals and the city of Cincinnati, as well as the Chargers' move to L.A., we discussed the issue of fandom on this week's episode. If the team moved to another city, would you still be a fan?
Now, obviously, there are caveats to the idea. What city are we talking about when it comes to a move? Would the Bengals keep their name and logos? If they didn't would the NFL grant another "Bengals franchise" to Cincinnati in the future, as they did with the Browns?
Regardless, a dichotomy exists with being a fan of a Cincinnati sports team. Bengals fans are some of the most loyal fans out there, but they always want more and seem to always wait for the other shoe to drop--rightfully so, given some of the teams' histories.
Given today's NFL landscape and a stadium approaching the 20 years mark, there will likely be another interesting round of negotiations between the city and the Bengals. If, in the off-chance, the team moves elsewhere, would you still be a Bengals fan?