For years, the N.F.L. played cat and mouse with the city of Los Angeles. Every so often a team in, say, Minnesota, would threaten to move to L.A. in an effort to crowbar concessions out of its government leaders back home. Once the team got public financing, it stayed put.
To move the ball, AEG, the sports and entertainment group, and Majestic Realty Group, a big real estate developer, promised to build stadiums in Los Angeles County if a team would commit to moving. For years, none did.
But the roulette wheel has spun a lot faster this year. In January, the owner of the St. Louis Rams, Stan Kroenke, said he planned to build an 80,000-seat stadium in Inglewood, 10 miles south of downtown Los Angeles. Last week, the Inglewood City Council voted unanimously to give the project the green light. The Rams switched to a year-to-year lease at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis, giving them the flexibility to move.
Alarmed by the possibility that the Rams could move back to Los Angeles, the San Diego Chargers and the Oakland Raiders last month said they would build their own stadium in Carson, about 15 miles farther south. The move was viewed as a way for the teams to maintain leverage in stadium negotiations with their home cities and potentially forestall the Rams.
In the blink of an eye, the N.F.L. went from shadow boxing to boxing in Los Angeles. Faced with the possibility of three teams rushing to the city at once, the N.F.L. established an owners committee to oversee the process.
But the process appears to be a work in a progress. AEG, which secured environmental approvals and sold naming rights for its proposed stadium next to Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles, and which perhaps fears being shut out of the N.F.L. stadium sweepstakes, re-entered the fray.
The company commissioned a report by Tom Ridge, a former secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, who outlined several safety and operational risks of locating a stadium in Inglewood just a few miles from the runways at Los Angeles International Airport.