When an NFL franchise moves cities, it's a double-edged sword. On the one hand, you've got a brand-new fan base eager to cheer on their new team. On the other hand, you have loyal fans who have to watch with disdain as their beloved team reps another city. With the new NFL season only a few months away, let's take a look back at five of the most notable franchise moves.
5. Houston Oilers to Tennessee (1997)
One of the original members of the American Football League, the Oilers called Houston home from 1960 until their move to Memphis in 1997, becoming the Tennessee Oilers. In 1998, the team moved to Nashville. They were renamed the Tennessee Titans a year later. Houston would go without a team until 2002, when they were granted the Houston Texans expansion franchise. The Titans retain the Oilers franchise history, but the brand has been officially retired by the NFL. There's been buzz that the Texans could bust out the old Oilers "throwback" gear for a game, but it has yet to happen.
4. St. Louis Rams to Los Angeles (2016)
This history between the NFL in Los Angeles is worthy of its own blog. The Rams first moved to Los Angeles from Cleveland way back in 1946. There they remained until 1995, when they moved to St. Louis. But as hard as the Rams tried, they just couldn't seem to quit L.A. The sparks were renewed when the Rams returned to the city of angels in 2016 and will finally see what the behemoth that is SoFi Stadium looks like with fans in attendance.
3. San Diego Chargers to Los Angeles (2017)
Los Angeles' first and only original NFL team was founded as part of the original AFL in 1959 and played only one season before they beat feet south to San Diego. For over half a century, the Chargers were San Diego's storied franchise until the promise of a larger market and the allure of SoFi stadium, arguably the greatest football stadium ever built, was just too appealing.
2. Oakland Raiders to Las Vegas (2020)
The Raiders have probably logged the most moving miles of any team in NFL history. The Oakland Raiders came into being in 1960 but ended up playing the majority of their first two years at Kezar Stadium and Candlestick Park in San Francisco until they eventually moved to Oakland proper and remained there until 1981 when they moved to Los Angeles. The team enjoyed a good amount of success in L.A. until they moved back to Oakland in 1995. That is, until the latest move to Las Vegas in 2020 when the Raiders became the first NFL franchise to ever grace the city.
1. Cleveland Browns to Baltimore (1996)
A move steeped in controversy, like L.A., this subject deserves its own blog. The abridged version is that team owner Art Modell claimed he had to move the team for financial success but ended up selling all but 1% of his stake in the franchise within a few years of the move. There was a silver lining for the city of Cleveland. Modell reached a deal with the NFL that allowed the Browns to be resurrected in 1999 using the same name, colors, and heritage. Unfortunately for them, Browns fans had to watch as the now Baltimore Ravens won a Super Bowl four seasons after leaving the city, with a dominant defense led by Ray Lewis – the 26th pick of the 1996 draft. Ouch.
For more fun reads, check out The Enclave blog.