With the St. Louis business and political leadership seemingly eager to spend whatever public money it takes to keep the Rams, FoS convention center correspondent Heywood Sanders sends along an expanded excerpt from his book Convention Center Follies outlining how these forces were so desperate for an NFL franchise the last time around that they offered to buy part of the New England Patriots just in the hopes that it would make the NFL happy enough to maybe give them an expansion team:
Charles Knight of Emerson Electric told his Civic Progress colleagues in late March, with the loss of the Cardinals inescapable, that he “had devoted a tremendous amount of effort, as a representative of Civic Progress, in trying to line up a professional football team franchise for St. Louis.” Knight went on, “we do not have a football team and we do not have a consensus among our political leaders regarding the construction of a new stadium.” For Knight, the continuing conflict between St. Louis County Executive Gene McNary and Mayor Schoemehl over a downtown versus suburban location for a stadium was a principal reason for the failure to keep the Cardinals. Absent some form of agreement between the two, and a fiscal commitment from the state government, there was little likelihood of actually building a new stadium. And a brand new stadium was the basic requirement for getting a new NFL team.
Charles Knight told the group, “The inability to get even a verbal commitment regarding the proposed new stadium from the political leadership made it impossible to take advantage of an opportunity to acquire part ownership of the New England Patriots for a period of up to three years—not to move the Patriots here but to relieve the NFL of the cost of having to subsidize the team’s inept present owners and, in return, to ensure a franchise for St. Louis when the League decides to expand.”
Now that’s dedication to a cause. Or stupidity. Or both.