Readers may remember that when the NFL St. Louis Rams moved back to Los Angeles last year after twenty years in the Midwest, I wrote an essay for Sport in American History outlining my personal connection to the Rams and the political situation that had been brewing for years which allowed for the Rams to move back to L.A. About a week ago I was invited to contribute some more thoughts on NFL franchise relocation for a new roundtable discussion the website proposed in reaction to news of the San Diego Chargers moving to L.A. and the Oakland Raiders getting closer to moving to Las Vegas. You can read this roundtable discussion here.
I have some pretty strong thoughts on this topic and I enjoyed reading the thoughts of the other participants in the roundtable, who come from a wide range of impressive backgrounds in history and sports. There are times when we agree but also times when there are interesting tensions in the way we answered the questions given to us. I argued that the Rams moving back to Los Angeles was one of the most significant relocations in NFL history for reasons I explain in the discussion, but another participant dismissed it as rather insignificant. I encourage you to read the roundtable discussion and decide for yourself.
I recently came across a Huffington Post article where it was discovered that the famous television show The Simpsons had a scene in 2005 (the episode was “Bonfire of the Manatees”) in which the two teams in tomorrow’s Super Bowl were on the television with a “final score” of 19-14 in favor of the Denver Broncos.
Last year on this blog I predicted that the Ravens would beat the 49ers 35-31; the actual outcome was 34-31 in favor of the Ravens. This year I predict that the Broncos will win 24-21 over the Seahawks.
I’m a big sports fan and I’ve always enjoyed football, even though I never cared to play the sport and am now seeing several of my friends who did play years ago going through their own pains today. Nevertheless, I’ve learned a lot about the dark side of football over the past year, and it’s hard to ignore the devastating physical and emotional toll the game has on those who play it. Mike Webster’s 2002 death was one of the first notable instances in which football undoubtedly played a leading cause his untimely death at the age of 50. More recently, Junior Seau committed suicide in May of 2012. No doubt there are other horror stories as well. My friend Joshua Hedlund has decided to stop watching the Super Bowl altogether, and the more I read stories like those of Webster and Seau, the more I wonder if that might be the route I go in the future as well.