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Roger Goodell Knew of Stan Kroenke’s Plan to Move Rams to Los Angeles in 2014

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NFL commissioner Roger Goodell was reportedly aware of Rams owner Stan Kroenke’s intention to move the franchise from St. Louis to Los Angeles well before it became public knowledge.

According to Austin Huguelet, Joel Currier and Katie Kull of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, documents released by the NFL and the Rams after the league reached a $790 million settlement with the city of St. Louis paint a picture of what went on behind the scenes leading up to the L.A. move.

When Goodell addressed the media in 2014 just days before the Super Bowl, he said he had no knowledge of Kroenke’s plans to build a stadium in Los Angeles and subsequently move the Rams there, but he was actually aware of it “long before” then, per Huguelet, Currier and Kull.

The Rams’ relocation was officially announced in early 2015, and the move occurred in time for the 2016 season.

After spending four years playing at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, the Rams made the move to SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California, once it was completed in 2020, and the Los Angeles Chargers joined them there on the heels of their relocation from San Diego.

In the released records, the Rams admitted to internally discussing a Los Angeles stadium during the summer of 2013. That included plans to show the NFL that St. Louis was in a “downward trend as a market.”

Additionally, the Rams and the NFL twice worked together to release statements with the goal of keeping the move under wraps. One occurred when Kroenke first bought land at Hollywood Park where SoFi Stadium was eventually built, and the other was released when news of Kroenke building a stadium was leaked.

It was also noted that the league once considered moving the Raiders from Oakland to St. Louis to make up for the loss of the Rams, but the decision was ultimately made for the Raiders to go to Las Vegas.

The Rams have done plenty of moving around since their inception in 1936 when they were known as the Cleveland Rams. Their first move came in 1946 and it was to Los Angeles.

After nearly 50 years in L.A., the Rams moved to St. Louis in 1995, and they remained there until the move back to Los Angeles in 2016.

The Rams enjoyed some success in St. Louis with two Super Bowl appearances and a Super Bowl win in 1999, but they have consistently established themselves in the upper echelon of the NFL since returning to L.A.

The Rams have reached the playoffs in four of the past five seasons, including a Super Bowl appearance in 2018 and a Super Bowl win last season on the heels of acquiring quarterback Matthew Stafford from the Detroit Lions.

That has perhaps made the deception that led to relocation sting even more for the city of St. Louis.

St. Louis did ultimately get a big-money settlement from the NFL, but it is still without an NFL franchise.

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