The Carolina Panthers may finally be able to know what it’s like to Live and Die in L.A. as city officials are trying to lure the team to the west coast and are helping the Panthers and owner Jerry Richardson plot an Escape from Carolina. Okay, that last one wasn’t technically a move but nevertheless, city officials in Los Angeles are continuing to court the Panthers in an effort to get them to move into their new stadium in downtown L.A. and become the third franchise in NFL history to take on the Los Angeles moniker.
For now, Panthers fans can breath easy, as Richardson seems to be anything but interested in moving to L.A. He’s got no G.M., he’s got no disciple from his coaching staff, his pets heads are falling off! If things don’t change soon, there could be a total regime change in Carolina, one motivated both by the recent skid the Panthers are on and by the success of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers who cleaned house this past offseason and have been cleaning up during this season.
But there is one thing that should make Panthers fans a little nervous. Usually when a team moves from a city, it has to go through a painstakingly torturous process of freeing themselves from the lease for the building they play in. This is one of the reasons the Minnesota Vikings didn’t move (even though they likely weren’t anyways) and it’s typically used as leverage by the city and state to keep the exiting team there basically against their will.
Jerry Richardson owns Bank of America Stadium, meaning if he wanted to pack up and leave there is literally nothing stopping him.
Again, for now the Panthers have no interest in the courtship from L.A., but moving to the largest market in the country right now without an NFL team, one that includes a culture of both sports and Hollywood and is almost guaranteed to be a cash cow; that’s hard to pass up. While Richardson is uninterested at the moment, a lot can change between now and this offseason.