Why Dallas mayor’s comments on city having NFL expansion team alongside Cowboys is no more than fantasy

Dallas mayor Eric Johnson isn’t up for reelection until 2023, but he’s already campaigning. Whether it’s to appeal to voters get re-elected or alienate himself from his constituents is up for debate.

The politician raised some eyebrows with his quotes in the Dallas Morning News, where he said he believes the city of Dallas could incorporate an NFL expansion franchise in addition to the Dallas Cowboys.

“I believe that Dallas is an area of this country that is the capital for football,” he said in the article he shared.

The demand for football here is greater than any other place. When you combine that with the fact that we’re going to be the third largest metro area in the country very soon, it makes a really strong case for why the NFL should be looking at Dallas.

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Adams is, of course, going off the assumption Dallas is still “America’s Team.” Dallas’ average ratings for NFL football this year were 29.55, ninth in the NFL among local markets. While not damning — Dallas has the fifth-largest media market in the country, so its ratios will always be a bit skewed, there’s the oil-farming elephant in the room: Jerry Jones.

Jones wields a tremendous amount of control over the NFL, and thought of him sharing the Dallas market is, in a word, laughable. Johnson, however, thinks he has it figured out.

What Johnson is ignoring is:

  1. Any competition would be too much competition for Jones
  2. Dallas doesn’t have the prestige New York or Los Angeles does.

That isn’t a slight on Dallas, but there’s no denying the allure of calling their team Los Angeles is what drew the Kroenkes and Spanoses to the City of Angels.

Tech companies are flocking to Texas, not NFL franchises.

Johnson even said teams who use the Dallas name will have to play inside the city limits of Dallas, when the Cowboys’ stadium is in Arlington.

Don’t worry, Johnson also has the two perfect teams in mind.

The Chargers, to be clear, will never move. At least not as quickly as Johnson likes and certainly not before his re-election. The Spanos family has an unbelievable deal on SoFi Stadium. They’re renting and they’re locked in for 20 years, with two team-controlled options for another 10 years. That means they’re locked in until 2039, and they have until 2059. Is the situation at SoFi Stadium embarrassing for the Chargers? Absolutely, but the Spanos family is paying off a $200 million loan and they don’t experience the shame to care about being out-represented at home. They like playing in Los Angeles and what that means for them.

For the Jaguars’ part, the Jacksonville to London rumors JUST died down. There’s no need to rekindle more relocation talks. Shad Khan has weathered storm after storm, and for all of the personnel missteps the Jaguars have made he seems to have no interest whatsoever in moving. As recently as December, Jaguars president Mark Lamping said the team is on a path to tackling a full stadium renovation of TIAA Bank Field. Look at the Oakland Athletics to see what teams who aren’t committed to their location do: They wait it out and the fans suffer for it.

Last, but far from least, the NFL has bigger fish to fry. With games in London, Munich, and Mexico City this year, the NFL’s push for an international market has never been clearer. If there is an expansion team or a relocation, the odds of it not being international are infinitesimally small.

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Johnson is saying what he can to hype up his city, which is perfectly respectable. But there’s a clear misunderstanding of how the NFL works with regards to its current franchises and priorities. Even the best argument for Jones allowing another team — A tenant could help him get more out of his AT&T Stadium investment — is undermined by Johnson saying any new Dallas teams have to play within the city limits.

Regardless of whether or not Dallas could support a second team — it certainly could — don’t expect to see a second team there any time soon. There are too many reasons that route isn’t practical.

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