Former NFL executive Carmen Policy was brought in to help the Chargers and Raiders sell the NFL on their plan to build an NFL facility in Carson. Since then large portions of the fan bases of both teams have thought it's nothing more than a bluff.
On Tuesday morning Policy emerged from a room at the NFL owners meetings outside Chicago. He had just assisted in a presentation to the league and its owners, outlining why he believes the Bolts and Raiders should be the ones who move to Los Angeles. Then he eliminated any doubt about the intention of the franchises.
"The Chargers and Raiders are committed to Los Angeles," said Policy.
He cited a study that found the two most popular NFL franchises in Southern California are the Chargers and Raiders as a reason the Carson project is superior to Rams owner Stan Kroenke's plans in Inglewood. However, "Southern California" does include San Diego, where the vast majority of that Chargers fan base lives. Do the Chargers expect those people to make the drive up to Carson every Sunday?
"We don't expect it but we're going to work on it," said Policy. "We're hoping they're going to follow the Chargers to Southern California."
Interesting statement when it would seem San Diego County is the southern-most part of Southern California. Perhaps it hints at the possibility the team would not be known as the Los Angeles Chargers, instead taking on the name the Southern California Chargers. Policy continued to sell the Chargers to Carson idea.
"Twenty five percent of the Chargers business is located in the L.A. market. That number comes from the league and it also comes from their recognition of where their season ticket holders are," he said.
That's something we've heard before. However, a source close to the Chargers situation told me that number is a rough, non-scientific estimation, if not an outright fabrication. Problem is it's almost impossible to prove (or disprove) without opening the books, something the NFL has fought against repeatedly for its franchises.
The biggest reason the NFL wants to have a team or two in L.A. is, of course, money. Policy says combining the Chargers and Raiders creates something even larger than what the Giants and Jets have in New York.
"(It) now becomes a mega-market. What you've done is created a mega-market that runs from Santa Barbara to Mexico," he said.
At nearly 25 million people strong, that mega-market would be a dream for advertisers. It's also the reason the NFL is looking seriously at making it happen.