The ice between the Chargers and city of San Diego has finally broken.
On Friday, several months after walking away from stadium negotiations, team chairman Dean Spanos returned a phone call he received earlier this week from Mayor Kevin Faulconer.
“Everybody was wondering, was Dean going to call the mayor back,” said Tony Manolatos, spokesman for the mayor’s Stadium Advisory Committee. “So that’s a good sign.”
Manolatos told NBC 7 the conversation lasted a few minutes, but said Spanos made no commitments other than promising to get back to Faulconer when he's considered his alternatives.
Here's what the mayor said about the situation last night in his State of the City address: "Our San Diego family has stood with the Chargers in victory and defeat for more than 50 years. That ought to count for something. This franchise has prospered because of generations of loyal fans.
“The passion, the heart, the energy that has powered the Bolts for 55 years – you can’t get that in L.A. You can’t get that in Inglewood. You can only get that in San Diego.”
But does that 'something' rise above the mega-market riches to be had by joining the Rams in Inglewood?
Conventional wisdom says no, based on widespread reports that the framework of a deal with Rams owner Stan Kroenke already is pending -- awaiting details and fine print.
The Chargers have until next January to consummate one.
But there's a deadline of March 23rd, when NFL owners next meet, for deciding whether to commit to San Diego for this coming season.
If Spanos opts to go north, he's facing a huge franchise relocation fee: $550 million.
In Friday’s recording session for Sunday's edition of "Politically Speaking", NBC 7 sports director and Jim Laslavic and Voice of San Diego editor Scott Lewis outlined how dicey the risk-reward equation is for Team Spanos.
"If the Chargers don't take L.A., the Raiders are going to pounce on it like a cheetah,” said Lewis. “So we're inevitably going to have three teams down in Southern California."
All three teams played here in SoCal from 1982 to 1994. But only the Chargers managed to maintain a viable market.
How much of a difference has two decades made for that equation? The NFL's rolling the dice on that.