Isn’t it funny how badly Dean Spanos suddenly wants to stay in San Diego after Carson bombed and he had to spend time talking to Kroenke the Donkey?
If you see the Chargers owner carousing around La Jolla this weekend, make sure you get us that picture with his tail between his legs.
At least Spanos can go outside again without being jeered after announcing on Friday that the team will remain in San Diego for the 2016 NFL season and make one more attempt at finding a stadium solution.
Of course he made that announcement about an hour after reaching an agreement in principle to share the proposed football stadium in Inglewood with the Los Angeles Rams.
Got to keep the leverage as high as possible you know.
Actions speak louder than carefully crafted press release statements – you did notice Dean didn’t face questions from probing reporters, right? So what happens over the next few months will speak volumes about Spanos’ intentions as the franchise has until Jan. 15, 2017 to decide whether to move to Los Angeles.
And Spanos’ actions over the final six months of 2015 – often carried out by spin doctor Mark Fabiani – spoke volumes about how badly he wanted his team in Los Angeles.
But Spanos wanted to be in Carson as part of a two-team stadium deal with the Oakland Raiders. Having to be a lesser tenant with the Rams in Inglewood – and irascible owner Stan Kroenke – wasn’t the intended destination.
Spanos reportedly felt confident the Carson project would prevail at the owners’ meeting in Houston earlier this month. He felt Kroenke the Donkey didn’t have enough votes to get Inglewood approved.
Spanos couldn’t have been more wrong as Kroenke’s Inglewood stadium project won by a resounding 30-2 vote.
Hey, a four-touchdown margin. Sounds like some recent Chargers’ scores.
Then Spanos pondered his choices and neither were all that good. He could move to Los Angeles and be second on the NFL ledger behind the Rams – and third overall behind USC – or make peace with San Diego officials and the team’s fans.
It didn’t help when Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti made it clear he wasn’t interested in the Chargers joining the Rams. Garcetti strongly suggested the Chargers should remain in San Diego.
Spanos probably wasn’t in all that big of a rush to write that $550 million relocation check either.
Anyway, San Diego city officials submitted a $1.1 billion stadium proposal to the NFL earlier this month so there certainly is an opportunity to get something done and keep the team in San Diego.
In fact, Spanos said in his Friday statement that his intention is to work toward remaining in San Diego for the long term and finding a stadium solution.
“I have met with Mayor (Kevin) Faulconer and (County) Supervisor (Ron) Roberts and I look forward to working closely with them and the business community to resolve our stadium dilemma,” Spanos said. “We have an option and an agreement with the Los Angeles Rams to go to Inglewood in the next year, but my focus is on San Diego.
“This has been (the team’s) home for 55 years, and I want to keep the team here and provide the world-class stadium experience you deserve.”
Spanos said he is moving forward “with a fresh perspective and new sense of possibility” and I’m sure the team’s fans are hoping that proves true.
Spanos and Fabiani treated the fan base like dirt this past season. But the thing about fans is this – they just want their team to stay put.
Fans live and die with how the team fares each Sunday (or Monday, or Thursday). They just don’t want to live with the pain of their beloved team playing 100-plus miles up the freeway.
Another good thing the fans have going for them is that commissioner Roger Goodell feels the same way. He wants the NFL to remain in San Diego.
“We are very supportive of the decision by Dean Spanos to continue his efforts in San Diego and work with local leaders to develop a permanent stadium solution,” Goodell said in a statement. “NFL ownership has committed $300 million to assist in the cost of building a new stadium in San Diego. I have pledged the league’s full support in helping Dean to fulfill his goal.”
Getting a deal done in San Diego would change Spanos’ reputation from most-hated person in San Diego to merely tolerable.
But know this: being the main tenant in a new stadium in San Diego is infinitely better than playing second fiddle to Kroenke the Donkey in Inglewood.