In Michael Silver's annual NFL owner rankings here's what he had to say about number 14, Dean Spanos:
14. San Diego Chargers – Alex Spanos (Dean Spanos): A few years ago, if you’d told me Dean Spanos could pull off a move to Los Angeles without being pressured by his peers to sell the team, I’d have accused you of having eaten some bad fish tacos. But it’s true: Of the teams theoretically in play for L.A. (Vikings, Jaguars, Raiders if Al Davis were no longer in the picture), the Chargers have moved to the top of an increasingly short list, partly because Spanos has come into his own as an owner – and also because his sincere efforts to make a stadium work in the San Diego area have been met with civic indifference. “Without a stadium he realizes they can’t compete [financially], and he has legitimately tried to get one built,” the aforementioned AFC owner says of Spanos. “His dream is to go to L.A., and it may happen.” That could mean a move up the freeway to Orange County, which might allow the Chargers to retain some of their fan base, or it could lead the team to the new stadium in the City of Industry being conceived by developer Ed Roski. In the meantime, give Spanos points for fielding a consistently competitive team fueled by brusque but brainy general manager A.J. Smith. As the labor showdown with the NFL Players Association looms, Smith and Spanos are also in lockstep on driving a hard bargain in player-contract negotiations, an approach that may cost the Chargers the services of a pair of Pro Bowl performers – wideout Vincent Jackson(notes) and left tackle Marcus McNeill(notes) – for part or all of 2010. Says the AFC owner: “Dean believes the system needs to be fixed and he’s putting his actions where his mouth is.” It’s a resolve of which politicians and voters around the San Diego area should take note in the near future.
I notice that whenever a writer mentions Spanos' sincere effort to get a stadium built in San Diego, they never mention the bogus loophole in the stadium contract after the Murph was rennovated years ago with city money. Much was made of how that contract was to keep the Chargers in San Diego until 2020. And no one talks about how the team sat back and collected money from the taxpayers for empty seats all those years while fielding a terrible football team. Yeah, that Spanos is a real prince. Oh, and let's not act like refusing to pay players their market value is some valiant effort to save the game somehow. It's a stingey, greedy move perpetrated by a stingey, greedy organization. Wait until L.A. sees what kind of team the Spanos family saddles them with once they finally get their way.