It has been almost eighteen years since a regular season NFL game has been played in the Los Angeles metropolitan area.  Two competing organizations have been concurrently aiming to build stadiums in America’s second-largest media market, with L.A.’s city council approving construction of Farmers Field near the Staples Center this past week.  The $1.5 billion stadium should be ready by 2016, and Roger Goodell may (reluctantly) allow a franchise to move to L.A. as soon as 2014.

But when and if a modern NFL stadium is constructed, who will actually play there?  With the Minnesota Vikings ready to stay in the Twin Cities, there are still several franchises who play in aging venues and in markets that struggle to keep the seats filled during bad times on and off the field.  Here is a list of some of these teams, from those least likely to head to Los Angeles, to those who may already have their bags packed:

Buffalo Bills:    The Bills have a stable if not desirable future in and around their current city.  They have a verbal agreement to remain in upstate New York and also re-upped on a deal to play home games at Toronto’s Rogers Centre, which buys them time as they try to either build a new stadium in Buffalo, or move permanently up north.  This, however, would mean playing their entire home schedule in what would be by far the smallest stadium in the league, one that is almost 25 years old.  While Los Angeles could be a last resort, the Bills are more likely to move north than west.

Jacksonville Jaguars:  The Jaguars are unsuccessful on and off the field, and while Shahid Khan has given America’s largest city (by area) a vote of confidence, it might not be enough to fill the seats at EverBank Field.  What could hamper a Jags move, however, is their contract to play once a year in London, England starting in 2013.  The jet lag from L.A. to the east coast is enough to complain about, without tacking on a cross-Atlantic journey.

St. Louis Rams:  The Rams played in Los Angeles from 1946 to 1979, and in Anaheim from 1980 to 1994, but they never seemed to feel at home there, even in success.  While the St. Louis Rams won a Super Bowl and were arguably the league’s best team in the early 2000’s, they’re a long way from returning to past glory.  The Edward Jones Dome has not aged well, even though it is less than twenty years old.  Still, after St. Louis native Stan Kroenke bought the late Georgia Frontiere’s stake in the club last year, he might as well sit and wait as Jeff Fisher tries to build the Rams into a winner.

Oakland Raiders:  The Raiders have loyal followings in both northern and southern California, and once before moved from Oakland to L.A. before returning in the mid-1990’s.  The Raiders’ lease with the Coliseum expires after next season, which might allow for a return to Southern California, but there is a better chance that the Raiders may share the San Francisco 49ers’ new stadium in Santa Clara.  However, this may be discouraged by a shooting incident at a Niners/Raiders preseason game in 2011.

San Diego Chargers:  The Chargers could return to their roots, as they briefly played in Los Angeles when they began in the American Football League.  Qualcomm Stadium has hosted Super Bowls in the past, but was built in the 1960’s, and attempts to build a replacement in the San Diego area have stalled.  Chargers fans have had their share of heartache over the years, including the recent suicide of team icon Junior Seau, but are already almost getting used to life without football.  Owner Alex Spanos can easily get out of the team’s lease of Qualcomm, and the Chargers have declined to accept a lower blackout threshold which would’ve allowed local TV broadcasts if the stadium was at least 85% full.

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