The National Football League is no stranger to off the field issues, and it looks like they’re going back to the courtroom. The City of St. Louis claims that the Rams, who have moved from Missouri to Los Angeles, have violated their own “relocation guidelines”. A group of about 100 plaintiffs is upset about how the Rams went about the process and are looking for their pound of flesh. Not only was the football franchise named, but also the NFL itself, plus it’s 32 league owners. St. Louis Circuit Court Judge Christopher McGraugh ruled that the lawsuit would not be dismissed or brought to arbitration, which is a win for the football fans in the mid-west. Ironically, the Rams have returned to prominence since going back to Los Angeles, on the strength of top draft pick Todd Gurley and 31-year-old head coach Sean McVay.
The Rams franchise had previously been located in California for almost 30 years, but moved to St. Louis in the in the mid 90’s. They enjoyed a very high level of success, and for a term were known as “The Greatest Show on Turf”. With Hall of Fame QB Kurt Warner at the helm, the Rams won their first and only Super Bowl in 1999. Since then, the team faded considerably and kept having losing seasons, to the point where fan interest and attendance in St. Louis faded. As any business would do, the NFL and the Rams franchise decided that staying in Missouri was no longer a scaleable model. In 2016, after selecting first overall pick Jared Goff as their new quarterback, the Rams went back west; much to the dismay of a handful of die-hard St. Louis faithful.
The main question here is; what do the plaintiffs wish to gain? The judge has ruled that yes, it’s not off the table that the football franchise acted unethically, but did dismiss a claim of fraud. According to the lawsuit, the St. Louis fans are seeking “extensive” damages and restitution. What that entails is up for debate, although many would assume a monetary value will be found. Truthfully, in a league plagued by injury concerns and character issues, even a relocation lawsuit is almost insignificant when considering how much revenue Roger Goodell has brought in.