As the Cowboys open training camp in Oxnard, California, just 60 miles northwest of Los Angeles, it's the City of Angels that owner Jerry Jones is talking about. Specifically, the possibility of putting an NFL team back in the L.A. market is one of the NFL's top priorities.
"Closer than ever — ever being since they left, which has been a long time much to my surprise and anticipation," Jones told ESPN's Arash Markazi on Saturday, when asked if the NFL was close to returning to Los Angeles. "There are some viable ways for a team or teams to be in Los Angeles. We've got some very talented and very qualified people that want to be a part of it that are not a part of the league right now. We, obviously, have people within the league that want this very much."
When asked for a timeframe, Jones didn't want to get into specifics, but did offer up some vague thoughts.
"How long does it take to build a stadium?" Jones continued. "I know how long it took to build one. The other thing is that there's certainly ways to do it without having a stadium ready. Those are some moving parts but you have to have the commitment [from the team], which for the people that make those kinds of commitments it starts that day for them in a serious way. I wouldn't want to give you a timeframe on it but I do think that the commitment and the substance with that commitment is right around the corner."
The NFL may now be closer than ever to a return to L.A., but that doesn't mean the NFL is actually close at all. The Raiders, Rams and Chargers are the front runners for moving to Los Angeles, and there's always the possibility of an expansion team entering the league as Jones seemed to hint at when he mentioned talented people that aren't in the league right now.
Until a team does return to L.A., NFL franchises will be able to continue to use a potential move to the city as leverage to secure public funds for new stadiums or stadium renovations. It's a move that was used to great success in Minnesota, and with news of the Raiders wanting to build a new stadium, it may be used in the near future in Oakland as well.