By Tim Graham
As long as Los Angeles doesn't have an AFC franchise and Buffalo Bills owner Ralph Wilson is reluctant to publicly explain his succession plan, the Bills will be considered on the short list of candidates to relocate.
Bills fans, then, should know what the NFL will require of any team that wants to move to Los Angeles.
Los Angeles Times reporter Sam Farmer obtained a memo NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell sent to all 32 clubs Friday. In the memo, Goodell reiterated that the league considers Los Angeles a two-team market and outlined criteria for a move because the stadium outlook is promising there.
"Although substantial uncertainties remain, stadium development in Los Angeles has advanced to the point where the prospects for a new facility are better than they have been in many years," Goodell's memo was quoted.
Bullet points from Goodell's memo, which also was obtained by the Associated Press:
* The NFL will control the relocation process. That means no owner can pull an Art Modell on his town.
* Any franchise that wants to move to Los Angeles for the 2013 season must apply to the NFL between Jan. 1 and Feb. 15. "If no application is received for the 2013 season," Goodell's memo was quoted by the L.A. Times, "we will consider when and under what circumstances clubs may apply for consent to relocate in a future season."
* The franchise must prove that it has exhausted all possible stadium options within its current market.
* Negotiate with a current site such as the Rose Bowl or L.A. Coliseum as a temporary home until the new stadium is finished.
Farmer reported the NFL wants to avoid a franchise squatting in Los Angeles, moving there with no plan other than claiming the territory before any other team does.
All approval must be agreed upon by 75 percent of the owners, or 24 of the 32 clubs.
We know the Bills will stay around as long as Wilson owns the team, and Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz has a goal of getting a new stadium lease signed before training camp.
But I'm of the mind that Bills fans always should remain attuned to what the NFL is thinking about Los Angeles.