Friday, October 28, 2005

Not so much of an upgrade

Rumor has it the NFL is considering moving the Saints from New Orleans to Los Angeles. As a longtime advocate now of an NFL-free Los Angeles, let me explain why that's a bad idea.

Inevitably the city will run to dust off one of it's already inadequate 15+ year-old plans to 'renovate' the LA Coliseum, calling it the 'key' to any deal to bring the Saints to Southern California. The city council is married to this idea, and frankly it has been and always will be in this matter, their un-doing.

What's wrong with the Coliseum you ask? Ask the Rams, who left it in 1980 or the Raiders who left it a decade ago even after a partial remodeling of the venue. It is 70+ years old and if the worn facade and huge-capacity that will never be sold out isn't enough of an issue, consider it's incredible lack of parking.

It shares parking with the Sports Arena, an area woefully inadequate for either venue. If you are planning on attending an event at either you can count on having to park on the streets or an improvised spot on someone's lawn. Though perhaps that's part of the attraction for the city council--$10 bucks a pop for every home-owner within a mile radius of the Coliseum for every car they put on their lawn adds a considerable punch to the underground-economy of South Central LA, an area that needs it badly.

But the Coliseum is worn, it is old, it is ugly and it cannot be re-made into something competitive in today's world of new stadiums. Right now the only upside I would see over the Superdome is that the roof doesn't leak. And thats because it has none.

If Tom Benson- who has talked about leaving New Orleans for years- signs on to this deal, I firmly believe he will come to regret it just as the Raiders did. He will find himself and his team trapped in a bad stadium in a city that doesn't support championship football teams, much less the mediocre.

He will long for the days that he played in the beautiful confines of the Alamo dome.

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