It’s easy to feel sorry for St. Louis and all of the fans in the region who wanted the city to keep a pro football team. But the Arch is the gateway to the West, and another football team in nearly 30 years has answered the cash register call to leave town.
Despite all of the talk in the Missouri legislature, political wrangling over taxpayer-funded enticements over the proposal to build a new open-air $1.1 billion stadium by the Gateway Arch downtown to replace the Edward Jones Dome, the Rams got their wish Tuesday night when the National Football League owners voted to allow the team to exit St. Louis to return to Los Angeles. The Rams had been in the Los Angeles area from 1946 to 1994.
The move shows the incredible transience and fickle nature of professional sports teams. St. Louis is left holding the bag — again.
Missouri’s second largest city and largest metro area got stiffed by the Cardinals when the flighty bird, having roosted in St. Louis from 1960 to 1987, left town for Phoenix, a much larger and more lucrative market. The Cardinals didn’t have an outstanding run in St. Louis.
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But the Arizona Cardinals did compete in February 2009 against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLIII, though the Cardinals were defeated 27-23.
The Rams did better for St. Louis, defeating the Tennessee Titans 23-16 in the Georgia Dome in January 2000 to take home the trophy for Super Bowl XXXIV. But St. Louis is not likely to have a pro football team any time soon, and that beautiful Edward Jones Dome will sit empty until some other use is found for it.
Perhaps regular tractor pulls, demolition car events and swap meets could be held there regardless of the weather outside.
Meanwhile, St. Louis football fans are welcome to travel to Kansas City to watch the state’s only NFL team play. The Kansas City Chiefs also happen to be on a winning streak with a franchise-record of 10 straight game wins and an 11-5 finish this season.
The Chiefs’ 30-0 playoff win last weekend against the Texans is keeping Super Bowl hopes alive for Kansas City and the state. A Chiefs win against the New England Patriots on Saturday will get everyone in the area super-excited with dreams to match the Kansas City Royals’ World Series victory over the New York Mets.
It would prove that pro-sports lightning can strike twice in one town. Kansas City Chiefs fans would go bonkers.
The Chiefs haven’t won the Super Bowl since 1970 with a 23-7 win over the Minnesota Vikings in Super Bowl IV.
For area businesses, a Super Bowl title after 46 years of dashed hopes and people saying “we’ll win next year” would be bigger than hitting the record $1.5 billion Powerball jackpot. Imagine a downtown parade and crowd around Union Station in February to in size and politeness to rival the one for the Royals — but instead of Royal blue the picture dazzling crowds around the world would be filled with Chiefs red.
It would be passionate and glorious. Of course, St. Louis football fans would be welcome to join that celebration.
After all the gateway to the West does lead to Kansas City, too.