The St. Louis Rams on Tuesday won permission to relocate to Los Angeles, despite an NFL committee recommendation that the Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers be allowed to move.
But the committee's two-team recommendation didn't have much support with the league's 32 owners, who met in Houston to decide the matter. They voted 30-2 on Tuesday evening for a proposal that would have the Rams move to a new stadium in Inglewood, California, about 10 miles from downtown LA. Beginning next season, they could play in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum while the new stadium is built.
The Chargers could join them later, while the Raiders humbly announced that they had abandoned their relocation proposal.
The approval followed hours of dealmaking among NFL owners and the three teams -- the Rams, the Chargers, and the Raiders -- that have spent much of 2015 vying to return to the city each once called home.
The Raiders and the Chargers had submitted a proposal to play together in a new stadium in Carson, another Los Angeles suburb. That plan received approval from a six-owner relocation committee earlier Tuesday.
But it could not secure a two-thirds majority when put before all 32 NFL team owners, opening the door for the Rams to move to Inglewood with another of the teams possibly joining them.
Though the Chargers received permission to relocate, the team’s chairman, Dean Spanos, said he'll take weeks to decide where the team will play next year.
“I will be working over the next several weeks to explore options that we have now created for ourselves to determine the best path forward for the Chargers,” Spanos said in a statement.
Meanwhile, politicians in St. Louis lamented the imminent loss of the city’s team.
"The NFL ignored the facts, the loyalty of St. Louis fans, who supported the team through far more downs than ups, and the NFL ignored a strong market and viable plan for a new stadium," St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay said in a statement. "I am proud of our effort and what St. Louis was able to accomplish in an extraordinarily short period of time.”
The NFL allowed the Rams to move even though the St. Louis's Stadium Task Force, created by Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, tried keeping the team with a package of more than $470 million in state and local funds for construction of a new stadium in the city.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said the decision was painful for all involved.
"Relocation is a painful process. It's painful for the fans, communities, the teams, the league in general," Goodell said in a press conference held during President Barack Obama's final State of the Union address. "We realized this was our opportunity."
The Rams have a long history in LA. The team settled there in 1946 from Cleveland. They moved to nearby Anaheim in 1980, though continued calling themselves the Los Angeles Rams. The Rams began playing in St. Louis in 1995.