EDIT: Roger Goodell will have a live press conference at 10:45 CST. You can listen on the radio at KFAN, or you can watch it at this link here:
You know, the last thing on my mind right now is the draft, which stinks, because it should be all we're talking about. So let me offer my apologies for pretty much neglecting that the past couple days to cover this...ridiculous bullshit...about the stadium. It should've never reached this point, but now that we're here, things are moving pretty quickly, in one of several directions.
I'm going to try and explain just where everything sits as of about 9:00 AM CST.
When I first heard that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and Steelers owner Art Rooney II (chairman of the stadium committee) were coming to Minnesota today, I thought it was a 'quit screwing around and get something done' kind of meeting. But on the heels of Zygi Wilf jetting to L.A., after Goodell had talked to L.A. people, the tone of the meeting that's going to take place to day has dramatically changed: Act now, or lose the Vikings.
To Governor Dayton's credit, he seems to grasp the gravity of the situation, but he is unable to overcome the partisan bickering in the legislature. Democrats and Republicans seem more concerned with who would get the blame for losing the Vikings than, you know, saving the goddamn team.
Yesterday, House Minority Leader Paul Thiessen (DFL-Minneapolis), made a motion on the floor to move the near dead Vikings stadium bill to the Taxes committee.
The Republicans blocked it, and Morrie Lanning (R-Moorhead) was pissed that he wasn't consulted on the procedure.
This is the same Republican party that was pissed the bill was defeated in the previous committee and the bill wasn't advanced to begin with.
Oh, and Kurt Zellers? He won't be 'bound by deadlines'. Because, you see, he is an idiotic tool.
"I think any time you say that we have to be done or we don't have to be done, once you set those arbitrary deadlines for yourself, you set up potential failure or potential pitfalls. I think, again, we work the process," he told reporters Thursday afternoon.
You're not setting a deadline on you, you stupid sonofabitch. The NFL is. And quite frankly, the 'process' that you like to tout is broken.
It's like trying to referee a bunch of pre-schoolers.
So, where are we as of today?
There are three competing bills that will try to advance in the Minnesota legislature today. The first one is the Julie Rosen sponsored bill that was defeated in the House Government and Operations Committee (at this poiunt, they should rename it, since the Government clearly isn't 'operating) earlier in the week. Committee Chairman Joyce Peppin, though, says that's news to her:
"We're wrapped up," said Rep. Joyce Peppin, R-Rogers, who leads the House Government Operations and Elections Committee. "Nobody has asked me, or suggested, that we reconsider."
She was blunt when asked what Goodell could add to the stadium debate. "The plan has to be a better plan," she said.
So I'm thinking that bill has about a 0.3% chance. The second bill is a revival of the Arden Hills plan (yay!), sponsored by Sen Jim Metzen. However, the $300 million that Ramsey County would have to come up with in the form of a 2% beverage tax would be subject to a voter referendum--in November. That juuuuuust misses the end of the regular session deadline by about...210 days, give or take.
So, looks like we're 0-2 on stadiums. What's behind curtain #3? A bill that essentially moves the entire cost of the project on to the Vikings. The Vikings have said, approximately 3,207 times, that they aren't doing that.
It's the Theater of the Absurd in St. Paul today, and I'm sure things will come flying in throughout the day about this hot mess, and as one of these plans emerge to become workable, information will be flying. So, this is what we're going to do. This will be our all encompassing open thread for the stadium today. If something really big happens, like an agreement or an announcement that they're moving, we'll put up a new story. But everything else we're going to try and keep here. We'll post updates at the top of this story to try and keep up with everything.
1) If you have an update--be it Twitter, local news media, whatever, make a comment in the thread, and provide a link if you can.
2) CALL YOUR REPRESENTATIVE/SENATOR. Lars in SLP provided this link with some sound advice: when you call, be polite, respectful, and succinct. Tell them the Vikings leaving is unacceptable, please vote for the stadium, or I will vote you out in November. Here's the link:
The only way we're turning this battleship around is by putting MASSIVE public pressure on St. Paul to see the light.
3) Cross your fingers. If my calculations are correct, we're inside 200 hours until the Legislature adjourns. There will be no special session, it either happens within the next week or it's over.
Oh, and one more thing: