Don't count on the Chargers as being one of the existing franchises the NFL would move to London, so says Jerry Jones.
When the Dallas Cowboys owner was asked about the veracity of a report from The Athletic stating the league has discussed the possibility of moving the Los Angeles AFC team to London, and that the Chargers have been open to it, Jones shot it down.
"You're asking me the question: is it a viable option? And, no," Jones told "Shan & RJ" on 105.3 "The Fan" [KRLD-FM]. "The Chargers are committed to their future in Los Angeles and are going to be in a fabulous stadium. They're a great franchise."
The Chargers were a staple of the San Diego sports scene from 1961-2016 until they moved to Los Angeles to be a part of the NFL's commitment to the second largest television market in the United States. Along with the Rams, the Chargers will be co-tenants of SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Calif., a suburb of Los Angeles. With the cost of the stadium estimated to be $4.9 billion and set to open in 2020, even if completely true, it would be baffling the Chargers would back out of such a commitment and trail blaze as the NFL's first franchise overseas.
"They're out there, had a great game against the Packers last week," Jones said. "They're going to be a big part of the Los Angeles sports scene."
The Chargers are a franchise without a fan base. Playing at the 27,000 capacity Rokit Field at Dignity Health Sports Park, the AFC West club has not generated the Southern California interest the way the Rams have since their 2016 return. Meanwhile, London's NFL interest, would be a perfect nest for the Chargers if they were to move.
Houston Texans receiver DeAndre Hopkins was impressed with the London crowd following his club's 26-3 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars at Wembley Stadium Sunday, and endorsed the notion of an NFL team moving to Great Britain.
"I think you guys have the structure, you have the fans, the fan base, of course the great facility like this," said Hopkins. "In my head I'm thinking, ‘Why hasn't there been a team overseas?’ honestly. So I feel like that was supposed to happen yesterday.”
After 28 games over 13 seasons in London, the interest in the NFL is in place. Now, if the league wants to pursue that route, they will have to have to find a suitable team or create a whole new franchise.
Just because Jones doesn't believe the Chargers will move to London doesn't mean that he's opposed to the idea of the NFL having a franchise overseas entirely. On Nov. 6, 2014, when the Cowboys were playing the Jaguars at Wembley Stadium, Jones said that London meets the criteria of what they look for when evaluating potential NFL cities.
"It has cache," said Jones. "It has an air about it of international competition I think that London is probably one of two or three cities outside of the United States that really does have all of the criteria that I would look at for having an NFL team. I certainly know that one of the reasons we’re here this week and playing Sunday is to help encourage interest and increase the interest and awareness of our game. So I think it would work. I think timing wise, schedule wise, logistics wise, all of those things in this day and time are tantamount to something that is practical and workable as far as the NFL is concerned. I’m a big proponent of having a team in London."
Just not the Chargers in London, not when a nearly $5 billion stadium is set to open in 2020.
Do you think Jerry Jones is right about keeping the Chargers stateside? Share your thoughts on London’s chances of getting the Bolts with Mark on Twitter @therealmarklane.
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