Home I Daily Fantasy Sports I DFS I NFL Franchise Relocations – A Brief History
With two big moves on the way in the near future, we investigate the phenomenon of NFL franchise relocations.
NFL franchise relocation is not something uncommon in NFL history. More than 15 teams have moved from one place to another since 1921 when the Decatur Staleys moved to Chicago to be later renamed as the Bears. Now with San Diego Chargers moving to Los Angeles, Oakland Raiders moving to Las Vegas, and maybe more to come, we focus on the reasons, impact, and history behind NFL franchise relocations.
In late 2015, shortly after the Rams’ owner proposed moving the team to LA and the city council approved the construction of a new stadium in Inglewood, the San Diego Chargers and the Oakland Raiders also stated their intentions to relocate.
Chargers owner Dean Spanos announced for the media that he made the decision to relocate because the team “couldn’t compete with the rest of the league financially at his old stadium in San Diego”. Los Angeles was not chosen randomly, as it had been the Chargers home in 1960.
Not only is the franchise changing its city back to LA for the 2017 NFL season, it also tried changing their logo. That attempt though faced the fury of the fans and was terminated.
In the next two years to come, we will see the Raiders leave Oakland – the city that already lost them once in 1982. We are about to witness the Raiders conquering Las Vegas, becoming the first football team the city has ever had. The ambitions of Raiders owner Mark Davis are clear – more money and better conditions, as Vegas is known for its high standards and bigger market.
When talking NFL, we often argue about division winners, AFC and NFC champions, and of course Super Bowl winners. But when it comes to identifying the weakest team in the league, it seems we all reach an agreement – the Browns. While most teams dream about reaching the Playoff phase or even playing the big Super Bowl game, all the Cleveland fans wish for is seeing their team win a single game. This season it happened once for a team record of 1-15.
How is it possible? Why are they that weak? Well, you know building a well-organized team with successful strategies and tactics takes many years. But did you know that the Cleveland Browns we watch today was actually formed in 1999 and that is one of the reasons they struggle in the league? In 1995 the managing board of the once glorious Browns arranged a relocation to Baltimore and renamed the team, giving birth to the now successful franchise of the Baltimore Ravens.
Teams relocate for different reasons – most of them financial. Often the city cannot afford to take good care of its football team, as it requires a vast amount of expenses. This is the case for the Oakland Raiders right now – neither the team wishes to stay playing in the current conditions, nor the city is willing to put more money and resources into supporting the Raiders.
The most serious impact franchise relocations have is on the fanbase. Fans either love or hate the change. The ones who see the financial benefits and business opportunities embrace the moving and even sometimes the rebranding (which was not the case with the small but hardy following community of Chargers fans in San Diego). But the hardcore fans are often angry, feeling they have been exiled from their homes, or something has been taken away from them.
During the years though, we have seen several franchise returns, the most recent being 2016/17 season Rams’ return to Los Angeles. In 1995 they moved to St. Louis, Missouri and four years later their dominating offence earned the nickname “The Greatest Show on Turf”. Rams won Super Bowl 36 that year becoming St. Louis heroes. But their home was elsewhere and the managing board realized it. In 2016 the Rams made a glorious return to LA, which was even featured in EA Sports’ video game Madden NFL 2016. The game starts with a cinematic called “The Rams Experience”.
1921 – Decatur Staleys to Chicago later renamed Bears
1924 – Toledo Maroons to Kenosha, Wisconsin
1928 – Cleveland Bulldogs to Detroit as the Wolverines
1929 – Pottsville Maroons to Boston as the Bulldogs
1930 – Dayton Triangles to Brooklyn as the Dodgers later renamed Tigers
1934 – Portsmouth Spartans to Detroit as the Lions
1937 – Boston Redskins to Washington, D.C.
1946 – Cleveland Rams to Los Angeles
1960 – Chicago Cardinals to St. Louis
1982 – Oakland Raiders to Los Angeles
1984 – Baltimore Colts to Indianapolis
1988 – St. Louis Cardinalsto Phoenix later renamed Arizona Cardinals
1995 – Los Angeles Rams to St. Louis
1995 – Los Angeles Raiders to Oakland
1996 – Cleveland Browns to Baltimore as the Ravens
1997 – Houston Oilers to Memphis as the Tennessee Oilers
1998 – Houston Oilers to Nashville later renamed Tennessee Titans
2016 – St. Louis Rams back to Los Angeles
2017 – San Diego Chargers back to Los Angeles
??? – Oakland Raiders to Las Vegas
If we managed to spark the fire of interest and curiosity about the shape and size of the NFL during the years, you should definitely have a look at the NFL Timeline.
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