NFL Relocations: Teams That Moved On Elsewhere

NFL Relocations: Teams That Moved On Elsewhere - partycasino

American sports teams are famous for moving around, a habit that’s far more controversial in European leagues. However, not all of the franchise relocations have been peaceful - here’s a closer look at some of the moves in the NFL which stirred up some strong feelings.

1982: LA Raiders

Anyone who’s familiar with NFL betting and its history will remember the uproar caused by the move by the LA Raiders. The owner of the club went toe-to-toe with the NFL itself, battling it out in court for the right to relocate. 

Based in Oakland, owner Al Davis was keen to move to LA and went ahead with the switch despite disapproval from the Commissioner. The NFL took the Raiders to court, but the team won, earning the right to stay in their new location. This led to uncomfortable scenes in the Super Bowl XVIII when the Commissioner, Pete Rozelle - who had been heavily involved in the battle - was forced to personally hand the Vince Lombardi Trophy to Raiders owner Al Davis.

1984: Indianapolis Colts

Indianapolis Colts were once known as the Baltimore Colts because they were based in Maryland, Baltimore. In another of the most unpleasant exits from a city, the Colts literally left overnight - and in secret. 

The Colts owner Robert Irsay had been scouting around various cities, looking for the best place to relocate. He settled on Indianapolis after being won over by the Hoosier Dome. Irsay and Colts coach, Frank Kush, used fake names to look round different locations, reaching their verdict after inspections in person. 

In March 1984, the Colts left Baltimore quite literally overnight, evacuating the city in secret. At the same time, the court case was going on between Al Davis and the NFL, and Commissioner Pete Rozelle said he wouldn't contest a move by the Colts. This left them free to relocate, much to the dismay of the fans they left behind.

1995: Cleveland Browns

In what was possibly the most complicated move ever seen in the NFL, Cleveland Browns moved from their native Cleveland to Baltimore. When owner Art Modell announced his plans in 1995, the fans were furious and didn't hesitate to make their feelings clear. Cleveland fans threatened legal action against the team in an almost unprecedented move, forcing Modell to compromise. 

The new deal allowed Cleveland Browns to move to Baltimore, establishing the team as a new franchise under the name of Baltimore Ravens while still retaining the contracts of everyone who had been in Cleveland. The name of Cleveland Brown was frozen for three years while other teams considered moving into the vacant spot in Cleveland. 

In 1999, when the name of Cleveland Browns was unlocked, there were no other teams interested in picking up where Modell had left things. Instead, a new team was established as Cleveland Browns, inheriting the club's colours, legacy, and logos, despite being essentially a new outfit.  Modell's team continued as the Baltimore Ravens, with no further links back to their roots as Cleveland Browns.

2020: LA Raiders

As the only NFL team to leave their original fanbase twice, the LA Raiders deserve a second mention on this list. After the acrimonious move to LA, the Raiders returned to Oakland in 1995, returning to their founding area. 

Fans welcomed them home, expecting them to have returned permanently - but it wasn’t to be. The Raiders did a long stint, staying for 25 years, but in 2020 they left Oakland in the dust once again. Following in the footsteps of the NHL’s Golden Knights, the Raiders cancelled renewal talks with Oakland and focused their attention on the bright lights of Las Vegas. 

Raiders’ owner Mark Davis secured a record $750 million of public funding for the move to the glamorous $1.8 billion Allegiant Stadium. Unlike the first time around, the Raiders received permission from the NFL to move.