The Los Angeles Raiders black cap is still a popular item among football fans in the Southland who would prefer they return. The team in in the final year of its lease in Oakland and could return to Los Angeles as early as next season. Associated Press Photo
The Rams which bolted and left before the Raiders in 1994 for St. Louis have been exploring returning to Southern California and have purchased a large parcel of land in Inglewood next to the renovated Forum that would be ideal for a football stadium.
Associated Press Photo
The Chargers are Los Angeles original team, but has been a mainstay in San Diego for decades. However, the team has been pleaded for stadium improvements and may be forced to return to their birthplace.
How many times have you heard it? The National Football League is returning a team to the Los Angeles region?
Now, ask yourself, how many times have you believed the NFL was on its way back to the second largest market in America?
Well, last week we heard it from a name that we can trust. From a man that we all admire and love. From a man we respect.
Dodgers part owner and former Lakers great Earvin "Magic" Johnson says that he thinks the NFL will return in probably two years.
Appearing at practice between his two favorite teams, the Cowboys and Raiders in Oxnard, Johnson sounded confident that L.A. is on the verge of getting a time for the first time since 1994 when the Raiders and Rams bolted.
"I think for the first time, I truly believe we're going to get a team. Finally," Johnson said. "Everybody is on board. The city is on board. The business community is on board. The NFL is on board. Finally we have momentum. In the next couple years, at least in the next 24 months, I think one team will be coming. I don't know what team that will be, but I believe in the next two years we'll have a team."
There has been no secret that the Raiders are operating on the final year of their lease in Oakland and have explored moving the team to San Antonio, Texas as recent as a few weeks ago.
Raiders owner Mark Davis, the son of the late Al Davis, has always said that he’d prefer to keep the team in Oakland, but it may be in the best interest of the team to pack its bags and go.
Los Angeles is an option, but clearly not the only option although the Raiders are the last NFL team to call Los Angeles home.
The Rams owners have purchased chunks of land in Inglewood next door to the renovated Forum. Rumors immediately circulated the purchase clears the way for the Rams to build their own Stadium.
The San Diego Chargers, to the south, have been desperately trying to get stadium improvements in S.D. to no avail, but may be forced by both the Raiders and Rams hands to jump ship first.
Johnson is more of a mover and shaker in the business community than ever before.
He was part of the ownership group that bought MLB's Los Angeles Dodgers. When he talks about the business community and city being on board, so knows what he’s talking about.
His long relationship with the Davis family, which has owned the Raiders for decades, goes back a long time to when the team was in Los Angeles in between its stints in Oakland. Johnson talked to Raiders owner Mark Davis during his trip to the training camp practice here, but he said the subject of moving to Los Angeles never came up. Davis has been vocal about wanting a new stadium. The team's lease with its stadium in Oakland is up after this season.
That's what Johnson, who is a longtime Raiders season-ticket holder, is hoping.
"It would be great to have the Raiders back in L.A.," Johnson said. "I would love for that to happen. But that's going to be up to Mark and the Raiders and the NFL. But I would love to have the Raiders back in L.A., where they belong. We just want a team. We want a team in the worst way."