New York Giants co-owner John Mara said he believes the NFL will have one or two teams playing in Los Angeles by 2016.
Mara was speaking from Phoenix, Ariz., the site of this week's owners meetings. A NFL return to Los Angeles has been heavily speculated since the Raiders and Rams left southern California following the 1994 season.
Two competing stadium proposals have emerged this year as possibilities for bringing a team back to Los Angeles. One, which would bring the Chargers and Raiders to the city of Carson, saw its supporters announce on Saturday they had collected over 14,000 petition signatures in Carson, nearly twice the number needed to put the plan before voters—unless Carson's city council approves the proposal, which would allow the election to be bypassed altogether.
The second proposal comes from a development group led by Rams owner Stan Kroenke, and would build an 80,000-seat stadium in Inglewood. Carson is about 18 miles south of Los Angeles, while Inglewood is roughly 12 miles south.
Earlier this month, Anschutz Entertainment Group announced it had abandoned plans to build a NFL stadium in downtown Los Angeles after failing to secure a team to relocate. This week, Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti said the notion of a downtown stadium was not completely dead.
NFL franchise relocation requires support from at least 24 of the league's 32 owners. The next opportunity for a franchise to file for relocation would be in January 2016.
In his media appearance on Sunday, Mara—a member of the NFL's competition committee—also said he doesn't foresee major changes to current instant replay rules. He also reiterated the widely popular belief that the playoffs will be expanded at some point after this year, and that there has been a "little tweak to the language" in the rules defining a catch.
- Mike Fiammetta