The news that the Chargers and Raiders are working on a deal to move to Los Angeles together raised once again the specter of the Seahawks moving back to the AFC — and, if the NFL does come calling yet again, Paul Allen needs to make the league pay in a major way.
A few months after Field Gulls posited the idea of the ping-pong move, 12th Man Rising brought it up again Thursday after the Los Angeles Times reported the newest development in the saga to get an NFL team back in Los Angeles.
A Field Gulls poll back in October indicated that an overwhelming 63 percent of Seahawks fans would be disappointed if the team got flipped back into the AFC West, where it resided from 1977 through 2001. The Hawks played their first season (1976) in the NFC West and were moved back there with realignment in 2002 — ending 25 seasons’ worth of rivalries with the Chargers, Raiders, Chiefs and Broncos.
The Seahawks have since created rough-and-tumble rivalries with the 49ers, Cardinals and Rams and are the only team in NFL history to play in both the AFC and NFC title games.
To send them back to the AFC West would be asinine. But, if the NFL does indeed ask Allen to agree to yet a third conference change (getting dizzy yet?), the Seahawks’ owner needs to make the league pay. Here are some suggested stipulations (aim high and see what you can get):
1 — The NFL must pay Allen’s Seahawks 5 percent of the relocation fees for the Raiders and Chargers. The fee reportedly could be as high as $275 million per team, and Allen should demand a cut off the top before the fee is shared among the other NFL teams. It’s the least the money-grubbing league can do for treating the Seahawks like the ugly, unwanted stepchild and making them clean up after the messes left by other franchises/cities.
2 — Never schedule the Seahawks for more than two 10 a.m. starts per season. It’s ridiculous that the New York-centric league makes West Coast teams play at that time anyway, so Allen should make this a condition of any move.
3 — No London game. The Seahawks have no interest in playing in London, so they need to make sure the league never approaches them about traveling 4,800 miles for one game. The league currently has enough interested teams and is making future Super Bowl host teams play in London as well. Seattle probably will never get a Super Bowl, so that is not a worry. But, just in case, Allen could include a clause exempting the Seahawks from that rule, too.
4 — The Seahawks will play at least one Sunday night home game every season for the next 10 years. Some prime-time exposure is not too much to ask for the franchise that once again bends over backward to help the league stay balanced.
5 — If the Seahawks ever again have a preposterous penalty differential of minus-3 per game — the historically ill-favored stat they were saddled with in 2014 thanks to officials ignoring the other team — the league will owe the Hawks a third-round pick in the following draft. Consider it punishment for playing favorites, as the league did last season.
6 — Allen also could propose to the NFL that the Raiders and Seahawks rotate between the NFC and AFC every two years. The league can’t make up its mind where to keep Seattle anyway, so why not?
In the end, Allen probably doesn’t care which conference his team is in, so he won’t put up a fight. But he should.