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On Christmas Eve 1994, the Rams and Raiders played their final games in the Los Angeles area. Since then, L.A. football fans wishing for a NFL team have received only coal in their stockings. A stadium remains the major obstacle — the Los Angeles Coliseum has a long-term deal with USC – but two suitors have plans well under way. Steve Delsohn reports.
“There has to be a franchise. We’re not in an expansion mood so that means you’d have to attract a franchise from another market.”— Eric Grubman, Executive Vice President, NFL Ventures and Business Operations, on a team in Los Angeles
“(Los Angeles is) The second largest media market in the United States, the second largest city in the United States, a city that could easily support two football teams — doesn’t have one. It just doesn’t make sense.” — Antonio Villaraigosa, Mayor of Los Angeles
“We have to find the right way to come back and it does start with a stadium.“— Roger Goodell
Denny Hamlin had been touted as the driver to deny Jimmie Johnson a fifth Sprint Cup championship — until he tore his ACL playing pick-up basketball in January. The injury threatened Hamlin’s year, but he persevered and has won eight races to lead the points race for the Championship going into Sunday’s final event at Homestead, Fla. Hamlin discusses his year’s highs and lows, and the possibility of becoming the sport’s next big star, with reporter Marty Smith.
After the game, both head college football coaches meet at midfield amid players, fans, TV crews, photographers – and state troopers or highway patrolmen? Like many other trends, this started with Alabama’s Bear Bryant, and has become a weekly tradition at most southern schools. Chris Connelly looks at the unique and important game-day role law enforcement officers play.
“People say, well ‘Why do you do that (enlist help from state troopers)?’ They don’t know some of the circumstances we’ve been in and some of the anger fans can display. I haven’t faced that, to be honest with you, at Duke, but, I have faced it before where they’ve had to step in and use force to keep people away from you, to protect you. You haven’t lived if you haven’t taken an Ole Miss team to Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge on a Saturday night, beaten them, and then gotten out of there alive. That takes the help of a good state trooper.” — David Cutcliffe, Duke head football coach
Senior writer Elizabeth Merrill reports on the recent chaos surrounding the Minnesota Vikings, including anonymous players professing their hatred for coach Brad Childress, Randy Moss’ coming and going, the Brett Favre controversy and their 3-6 record.
The death of Nathan Stiles, a Kansas high school senior running back who collapsed on the sideline of a game in October, occurred amid rising concern of concussion-related brain injuries by everyone from the NFL to Pee Wee leagues. Skiles, who sat out two weeks after suffering a concussion, complained of a severe headache before falling and losing consciousness on the sideline in his first game back. He died October 29. ESPN.com senior writer Wayne Drehs talked with his parents about their son, his devotion to his faith, the days and weeks following his death, and the questions about concussions and a player’s return to the field of play.