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Psst, City of Industry: Sorry, turns out the NFL really loves Chavez Ravine

March 24, 2010 |  7:19 am

Chavez_400 Hmm, so how are you with secrets? The kind that just everyone knows. As in worst-kept secrets.

Apparently we all know this one. I mean, you do, right?

The NFL lusts for Chavez Ravine. Has for 15 years.  All that other stuff -- and there’s too much to touch on here -- was just so much dog-and-pony show. Just extended sleight of hand while waiting for the stars, and politics, to align and allow the NFL to return to Los Angeles in its most desired location -- the Dodger Stadium parking lot.

This comes from Dodgers owner -- or co-owner, depending upon your legal perspective -- Frank McCourt. As reported by the Los Angeles Times’ Bill Shaikin, McCourt said just everybody knows the NFL really wants to be next to Dodger Stadium.

If only we’d known sooner, we could have saved 15 years of civic grief.

"There's no question L.A. should have an NFL franchise,’’ McCourt said. "It's probably the worst-kept secret in Los Angeles that the NFL would love to be at Chavez Ravine. Other than that, I can't comment right now.’’

Hey, what more is there to say? I love you, you love me, we’re a happy family!

Except, of course, the NFL never knows what it wants when it comes to Los Angeles. It knows it should be here. Getting here, however, is like conquering quantum physics. Or the mind of Chad Ochocinco.

No doubt at some point, the NFL has blown in McCourt's ear. Hope he didn’t get all excited and flustered. The NFL is a shameless flirt. It just can’t help itself.

Ask the Coliseum, Anaheim, Carson, the Coliseum, Hollywood Park, AEG, the Coliseum and the City of Industry. Actually if you have a plot of land in your backyard and the NFL hasn’t blown in your ear, you should feel offended.

Now if the NFL really was sure it wanted to be next to Dodger Stadium, we’d be celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Los Angeles Whatevers by now. All it had to do was get behind Peter O’Malley’s bid to build a stadium in Chavez Ravine. Let City Hall understand, that’s where it wanted to be. Apply some pressure. Be firm, proactive.

Alas, the NFL had no idea what it wanted to do. Unlike now, of course.

So it stood by while City Hall and Mayor Richard Riordan mucked it up. In 1995 it asked O’Malley to make a bid for an NFL team, which he excitedly did. Then the city decided the doomed Coliseum just really had to be supported and asked him to withdraw his bid. He did, threw his support behind the Coliseum and soon after put the team up for sale.

Oh, what could have been.

Fast forward 10 years. The NFL is supposedly ready to decide between the Coliseum and Anaheim -- no, really, it’s true -- when word leaks out that McCourt has approached the NFL about building a stadium and retail complex in the Dodger Stadium parking lot.

That was in 2005. Guess absence does make the heart grow fonder. Because now it’s love!

You’d think McCourt might have a few other things on his mind right now. Like the start of a new season, the L.A. Marathon, his new bicycle race, the Divorce of the Decade, paying taxes, a World Series.

No one, though, ever said McCourt wasn’t ambitious. He’s just lousy with secrets.

-- Steve Dilbeck

Photo: Dodger Stadium. Credit: Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times.