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THE NFL IN LA LA LAND
Recently I attended the NFL 101/201 event on the field at the Los Angeles Coliseum. This was the seventh year the league has coordinated this function with the L.A. Sports and Entertainment Commission. One of the main points of it is to keep an NFL presence in the second largest city in the country. Amazingly, it has been 15 years since an NFL game has been played in L.A. To give you an idea how long ago that was, Tom Flores was the Seahawks coach when the Raiders and Rams last called L.A. home.
The Coliseum is probably the most storied stadium in America. (Two Olympics , the first Super Bowl, numerous other great football games and even a World Series. Yankee Stadium can’t top those credits.) The most memorable Seahawk Coliseum appearance has to be the 1988 game against the Raiders that determined the AFC Western Division title. I actually walked the route of John L. Williams’ incredible 75 yard catch and run TD that helped the Hawks to their first division championship.
The NFL 101/201 event gave participants (who paid pretty good coin to attend) a chance to throw, catch and kick footballs on the field of the Coliseum with some former NFL players. (However, no Seahawks involved.) There were also a number of booths promoting various NFL-related enterprises. The swanky Wolfgang Puck catering company supplied all the food and booze at the event. It was rather gourmet to say the least. No pigs-in-a-blanket at this affair.
The main feature was a panel discussion with Warren Moon, Joe Theisman, Trent Dilfer, Carson Palmer, Peter King of Sports Illustrated, Raider prez Amy Trask, head of officiating (and SB XL apologist) Mike Pereira, and Andrea Kremer, sideline reporter for NBC. The panel was pretty lively with Theisman surprisingly funny and Trask unsurprisingly defensive when asked about the questionable draft choices of the Raiders (all questions asked by the audience were written and submitted in advance). Both King and Palmer said they were very much against an 18 game schedule. Palmer also called TJ Houshmanzadeh “irreplaceable” and said he would never refer to Chad Johnson as “Ochocinco.” Dilfer admitted that when he was a 49er playing against the Hawks, he told the defense all the signals Hasselbeck was giving at the line. This is considered standard when you become “the enemy.” When the panel was asked which non-playoff team from 2008 was going to be in the postseason in ’09, Kremer said the Seahawks. Unfortunately, my question to Pereira asking him “if there were any plans to have Bill Leavy officiate a game at Qwest Field?” was not used.
Moon also signed free copies of his new book “Never Give Up Your Dream.” I was able to talk to him briefly during the signing about his old Husky days and my new book, which apparently he had heard about via an e mail the Seahawks sent out (which I thought was pretty cool).
Probably the biggest story of the evening was the upcoming groundbreaking for the new Los Angeles Stadium, a privately-funded billion dollar sports and entertainment complex in East L.A. County. The city is hoping to attract not one but two current NFL teams to the facility and they have a bullseye on seven franchises: Chargers, 49ers, Raiders, Rams, Jaguars, Vikings, and Bills. Personally, the team that should be coming here is the Rams. Los Angeles would have never lost the team if it were not for it’s now-dead owner Georgia Frontiere, a former showgirl who inherited the team from her husband. The franchise is up for sale and there have been no offers from St. Louis-based ownership groups. I would also like it to be the Rams because that would give Seahawks one guaranteed appearance a year in the city. And really, when it comes to anything about the NFL, it’s all about how it will affect the Seahawks and my selfish interests. Now I’m off to make some pigs-in-a-blanket.
Mark Tye Turner[Comments taken in SeahawkBlue Forums]
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