National Football League commissioner Roger Goodell has played down speculation that the St Louis Rams franchise could be relocated to Los Angeles.
In his State of the League address prior to the Super Bowl championship game yesterday (Sunday) between the Seattle Seahawks and the Denver Broncos, Goodell described Rams owner Stan Kroenke as a “very successful developer” after news emerged that he had recently acquired a 60-acre plot of land in Inglewood, California.
“He has billions of dollars of projects that are going on around the country of real estate development,” Goodell said. “I think instead of overreacting we should make sure we do what's necessary to continue to support the team locally, which the fans have done in St Louis, and make sure we can do whatever we can to make sure that team is successful in the St Louis market.”
Goodell added that Kroenke “has not determined what he is going to do with that property… how he’s going to develop it.” Numerous teams have been linked with a move to Los Angeles since the city lost the Raiders franchise in 1995.
In his address, Goodell also indicated that he strongly supports the notion of expanding the playoffs to 14 teams, but added that the NFL does not envisage playing games on Saturday nights in the “very near future.”
With regard to the league’s increasing interest in the UK, Goodell said that the country is “further down the road” in being awarded a franchise. “The more we give the UK fans, the more they want,” he said.