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In what might be one of the dumbest things I've ever had the displeasure of reading, St. Paul Pioneer Press columnist Tom Powers actually suggests that Zygi Wilf is taking a page out of the playbook of Rachel Phelps, the woman that owned the Cleveland Indians in the movie Major League, and intentionally trying to run the Vikings into the ground for the purposes of moving the team to Los Angeles.

Where do I even begin with this crap?  The fact that Major League is probably my favorite baseball movie of all time not withstanding ("You tryin' to tell me that Jesus Christ couldn't hit a curveball?"), the suggestion that a real professional sports owner would actually attempt something like this is ludicrous at best, and downright irresponsible at worst.

First of all, for all the talk of the city of Minneapolis needing a new stadium (something that yours truly won't argue), Los Angeles has fewer NFL-caliber stadiums than Minneapolis does.  As Minneapolis only has one, you can guess how many that leaves Los Angeles with.  They can't play in the Rose Bowl, because you're not going to sell 100,000 tickets for every home game, and hence the games would get blacked out.  The Coliseum/Mauseoleum needs a bunch of renovation before it can even be considered for use by an NFL team.  The state of California, to the best of my knowledge, is still WAY in debt, and a football stadium has got to be way down on their list of priorities.

On top of that. . .for as much as the general public feels compelled to think that the NFL "needs" a team in Los Angeles. . .I haven't heard that many people express a real, burning desire to bring a team there.  Honestly, have you?  Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong, certainly, but I haven't heard anyone talking about how the NFL "needs" a team in Los Angeles.

Seriously, 2007 will be the thirteenth season that there hasn't been a football team in Los Angeles.  The Rams and the Raiders both left the City of Angels following the 1994 season.  From all appearances, the NFL seems to be doing just fine, thanks.  Quite frankly, from what I can recall, for the last couple of years that they were in Los Angeles, nobody cared anyway.  What makes anyone think that they're going to care now just because you magically plop a team down in the L.A. market?  Particularly if the team you're plopping down there has spent a few years going 3-13 so that they can drive their attendance down and move to Los Angeles in the first place.

Another thing that comes to mind. . .Zygi Wilf is one of the newer owners (possibly the newest) on the NFL block.  What makes anyone think that the other 31 owners are just going to hand HIM the L.A. market?  On top of that, there are a few other teams that are much better/ready candidates to move to Los Angeles than the Vikings if the NFL wants a team there so damn bad.  Just off the top of my head. . .

  1. The aforementioned Raiders. . .because, you know, Crazy Al has done this before.
  2. The Jaguars. . .and it pains me to say that, because I sort of like the Jags.  That being said, they're (reportedly) about eleventy billion dollars in debt, and they're having to cover up seats because they're not selling all the tickets at Alltel Stadium.
  3. The Chargers. . .because their stadium deal with San Diego has, I believe, expired.  And hey, THEY'RE RIGHT THERE!  Seriously, move an hour up the coast, you've got a team in L.A., and you don't have to go through the pain of realignment.
Believe me, people. . .Zygi is NOT trying to run this team into the ground.  The Vikings will eventually get their new stadium. . .we might just have to wait until the Twins' new digs are completed, as well as the Gophers' new stadium.  After all, if they're going to use the site of the Metrodome for the new venue, the Vikes are going to need to play somewhere while it's being built.  The Seahawks played at the University of Washington while Qwest Field was being built, and I anticipate the Vikings ending up with a similar arrangement with the Gophs when their stadium is up and running for the 2009 season.  The Vikings' lease with the Metrodome runs through 2011, and by that time I'm sure the new stadium development will already be well underway.

That's my opinion, anyway. . .as always, your mileage may vary.  Have a good one, folks!