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Dodger Stadium and the NFL: a maze only a Minotaur could love

February 25, 2013|By Steve Dilbeck
  • Then-Dodgers owner Frank McCourt surveys the scene at Dodger Stadium in 2011, perhaps envisioning a time in the future that an NFL team would play on the same site.
Then-Dodgers owner Frank McCourt surveys the scene at Dodger Stadium in… (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles…)

And here we go again … The Times’ Sam Farmer picks up on a Business Daily report that says the NFL has had direct talks with the Dodgers’ new owners about putting an NFL stadium in the Dodger Stadium parking lots.

Cats don’t have this many lives. At some point, you have to wonder whether the NFL ever wants to come back to Los Angeles. It has so much fun just talking about it.

The idea was a good one when Peter O’Malley wanted to do it back in the Bronze Age, but it’s tired now and hard to imagine the city getting all excited about starting this stadium process over again.

Frank McCourt also floated the idea during his infamous ownership period, but possibly the NFL realized he didn’t have enough money to own even a baseball team, let alone two professional franchises.

If the Guggenheim Baseball Management group is serious about pursuing the NFL -- and why wouldn’t it be? -- the elephant in the city remains McCourt. He’s the most reviled owner in Los Angeles sports history, and in case you’ve forgotten, still owns half those Dodger Stadium parking lots. The one truly idiotic move made by Guggenheim.

City movers and shakers would be decidedly less than keen about working with McCourt. Guggenheim has consistently underestimated how loathed McCourt is in Los Angeles. It’s used to getting its way, of course, and has shown an amazing ability to successfully navigate where others have failed.

I asked Dodgers Chairman Mark Walter back in June whether he was interested in a possible NFL team and he gave something of a non-answer answer:

“We haven’t talked about it or thought about it a lot. It’s not on our radar screen. I mean, we’re trying to fix this place and get our team running and make this the best experience possible for our fans.

“If that came on our radar screen, we’d deal with it. But it’s not right now. The NFL has not approached us with anything.”

Radar screens are constantly updating, of course, so it’s very possible the subject has been broached by one party or another since June. Plus, AEG – the mega company behind the plan to build an NFL stadium at the convention center – is now up for sale. Side note: One interested party in AEG is reportedly Guggenheim.

Guggenheim is rushing to complete an estimated $100-million makeover of Dodger Stadium before the season opens, so it wouldn’t appear it’s planning on that suggested site swap that would put the ballpark downtown and the NFL stadium in Chavez Ravine.

The city’s politicians, bureaucrats and general public have to be weary about this never-ending dance with the NFL. Particularly when it constantly requires hitting the restart button, and this time with McCourt lurking unseen in the background.

Maybe Guggenheim really is the best answer to this Rubik's Cube quandary behind the return of the NFL to Los Angeles. Maybe, but it’s so tiring just to think about. Do they make energy drinks for this?

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