Back in 2015, Stan Kroenke – owner of the NFL Rams franchise – got the approval to build what is now SoFi Stadium and to develop the surrounding acreage. That approval set in motion a multi-billion dollar building project and it also set in motion the need for the St. Louis Rams to become the LA Rams once again. Obviously, the folks in St. Louis were not pleased with losing their team – and just as importantly their tenant in their stadium, the Edward Jones Dome. There was an interesting clause in the Rams’ lease of the Dome:
- The stadium was required to be in the “top tier of NFL stadiums” or the Rams could just break the lease without even saying, “Three, six, nine; I resign.”
How one would go about determining what the “top tier of NFL stadiums” might be and then how one might measure various aspects of the Edward Jones Dome as compared to the somehow identified “top tier stadiums” was left as an exercise for the reader. However, even St. Louis fans were not thrilled by the Dome’s ambience and space for tailgating. So, the Rams upped and moved to LA and played home games in the LA Coliseum for a couple of years while SoFi Stadium was under construction. And that would be the simple end to the story had not the folks in St. Louis filed a lawsuit claiming that the move was unjustified and that the NFL “fraudulently ignored their own Relocation Guidelines” in granting the Rams permission to move.
That case has been through all the early phases of a mega-lawsuit and was slated to go to trial until last week when the matter was settled out of court. Reports say that the NFL and Kroenke will pay St. Louis $790M. That is a whole lot of cheese, and the magnitude of the settlement says the following to me:
- The NFL and Stan Kroenke think that they will earn additional profits in LA – as compared to profits they would have earned in St. Louis – that are comfortably in excess of $790M. In fact, those anticipated long-term profits from Kroenke’s standpoint would have to exceed this settlement amount PLUS the approximately $500M relocation fee that he paid to the league for the approval to do so.
- The NFL and Stan Kroenke must have believed that there was a better than 50/50 chance they would lose the lawsuit to a jury of St. Louis citizens and that a jury award could well have been more than $790M.
- There may have been some shenanigans in the NFL’s approval process – or maybe in the “Relocation Guidelines” themselves – that the league would prefer not to have presented as evidence in open court.
Weep not for Stan Kroenke whose balance sheet will take a significant hit with this settlement. Forbes pegs his net worth at $10B and Stan Kronke’s wife is a Walton heiress – the daughter on one of the founders of Wal-Mart. You will not be seeing any of these folks in line at a soup kitchen any time soon…
There was a strange NFL-related story from off-field events last week. Minnesota Vikings’ defensive end, Everson Griffen, got into a stand-off situation with the police at Griffen’s home after Griffen made “a series of disturbing posts on Instagram earlier Wednesday morning claiming that someone was in his home trying to kill him.”
This is not the first time Everson Griffen has shown some odd behaviors. Several years ago, the Vikes directed him to take some mental health exams and Griffen wound up hospitalized for a short time after those examinations. I do not recall all the details of that previous event, but this time, there is at least one gun that was involved. In one of Griffen’s Instagram posts, Griffen says that he has a “.45 Wilson Combat” with clips (plural) and plenty of bullets in his house – – where he was supposedly in danger of being killed by someone the police could not find or identify.
Fortunately, that situation ended in a much better place than it could have. Armed confrontations with police officers often end with a chalk outline – or two – being drawn on the ground. In this case, Griffen came out of his house “without incident” after about 12 hours in standoff mode and reports from the police and the Vikings said that Griffen was then taken to a mental health facility where he was being evaluated.
Moving on … I have never tried to hide the fact that I don not like deciding the winner of a soccer game on penalty kicks for the simple reason that the decision is made by a series of events that probably had nothing at all to do with the fact that the score in the game is tied. To me, it is like taking a basketball game that is tied at the end of regulation and settling the outcome with a couple of games of H-O-R-S-E. Notwithstanding my dislike for penalty kicks or any other contrived way to break ties and determine a winner, there was an interesting circumstance in an MLS playoff game yesterday.
The Philadelphia Union and the Nashville SC ended regulation time and then extra time with the score tied at 1-1. That moved things along to a penalty shot finish where something unusual happened:
- Nashville SC took 4 penalty shots and none of them were successful.
- The first two were blocked by the Union’s goalkeeper; the next two missed the net all by themselves.
According to the good folks at instatsport.com, data from 2009 until last year involving over 100,000 penalty kicks worldwide resulted in 75% winding up as scores. Using that as a metric, the probability of missing 4 penalty shots in a row is .004.
Finally, let me close today with this entry from The Official Dictionary of Sarcasm:
“Income: Money that your employer should just hand over to your creditors, thereby cutting out the middle man.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………