Less than a year after Pasadena pulled out of the competition for a National Football League team, the city will probably ask voters whether they want to get back in the game.
But even if Pasadena says it wants a team, the NFL must decide whether to consider a bid for the Rose Bowl, because two other contenders -- Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum south of downtown and the city of Anaheim -- are farther along in talks with the league.
Representatives for those sites are to present proposals to the league in coming weeks.
That puts Pasadena behind -- too far behind, said Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabe, a member of the Coliseum Commission.
"I don't think the Rose Bowl is a player right now," he said Wednesday. If NFL officials "reintroduce the Rose Bowl into the process, I would see that as trying to stretch us out and have us negotiate against each other. Having the Rose Bowl reintroduced certainly wouldn't indicate any sense of urgency."
The Rose Bowl has been a longshot all along, because its shape is not ideal for the NFL. In addition, historic preservationists oppose having a team there.
League executives had hoped to have a Los Angeles team for the 2009 season, but now say it's not likely until 2010 or 2011.
"We want to have a team in Los Angeles, but it's been a difficult challenge," NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said. "We're interested in this latest development."
The Raiders and Rams left Southern California after the 1994 season. At times, the Rose Bowl has been seen as a contender in the NFL's bid to bring a team back to the region. But last June, the Pasadena City Council effectively pulled the city out of the running, when it failed to act to continue negotiations with the league.
Pasadena City Councilman Chris Holden, who led a petition drive to revive the city's efforts to court an NFL team, said his city would not be "starting from ground zero."
"We certainly have another step to go -- that is, to get the authorization to be fully back at the table as the other two communities are -- that is true," Holden said. "Whereas they could sit down today and say, here is our deal. That is a distinction."
The Los Angeles County registrar of voters determined Tuesday that the petition had enough signatures for the issue to be put on the ballot.
Pasadena's City Council will decide Monday whether to schedule an election between now and November, ask the city manager to study the issue, or vote outright to seek a team -- an unlikely option, Holden said.
Holden argues that Pasadena needs the revenue the NFL would bring.
The Rose Bowl loses about $2 million a year, which is offset with profits from the adjacent Brookside Golf Course, said Steve Mermell, acting finance director for Pasadena. With an NFL team in the Rose Bowl, that money could go to other services.
In addition, the NFL would put up $500 million to renovate the Rose Bowl.
But Pasadena officials continue to argue over whether an NFL team would be good for the city.
"We get more national and international coverage of our town because we have the Rose Bowl than any other facility," said Sue Mossman, executive director of the historic preservation group Pasadena Heritage. "This is a valuable treasure -- and we're about to hand it over to the NFL and let them ruin it? To me that is crazy."
Councilman Sid Tyler said bringing an NFL team to Pasadena would change the character of a city famous for its history and tradition. "We like to think of ourselves as a cultural center, a center for the arts. This doesn't help us," he said.
Mayor Bill Bogaard said he doesn't think Pasadena has what the NFL wants.
"One of the biggest issues from the NFL's point of view is that they probably want the opportunity to do a significant amount of commercial development adjacent to the stadium," he said. "In L.A. and Anaheim, there are big commercial development opportunities. We don't offer anything."
In Anaheim, the NFL would build a stadium and retail businesses on 50 acres of the parking lot at Angel Stadium.
Bogaard said he thinks other restrictions would hurt the NFL. The league could only have 25 events a year that draw more than 20,000 people. Up to eight of those would be for UCLA games and two events would be for the Tournament of Roses. In addition, there could only be up to 20 events with 2,000 to 20,000 people.
"I think in the end, the NFL is going to say ... we need to be able to recover costs through a whole range of 365-days-a-year operation. They couldn't do that at the Rose Bowl."
Times staff writer Sam Farmer contributed to this report.