There was a time not too long ago when Ice Cube seemed cool, and Raider football was crazy, but also mildly glamorous, a quality that’s very, very absent in Oakland. That doesn’t make sense at first, but then you remember that there’s at least a thin layer of glam to everything in L.A. Everything except Batman impersonators and their uncontrollable rage that ends in vicious beat downs.

Now with two proposed stadium projects percolating in the NFL’s largest vacant market, the league’s return to L.A. has become a forgone conclusion. Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports talked to several sources to outline the latest on the posturing, and he wrote that it’s now a widely accepted formality that the league will return to Tinseltown. It’s just a matter of when, and who.

The Rams are the leading candidate for relocation. Owner Stan Kroenke maintains an office in Los Angeles, and the Rams are tangled in a disagreement with local government in St. Louis over the amount of funding needed to upgrade the Edward Jones Dome to ensure that it remains a viable NFL venue. They’re about $500 million apart, according to La Canfora, an impasse that won’t be bridged easily, or quickly. The two sides have entered binding arbitration, and if the arbitrator sides with the Rams and rules that substantial upgrades are required, the team’s future seems sealed, a future that won’t be in Missouri.

The other major option is not too far down the road in southern California, although the Chargers aren’t nearly as favorable because they’re not meeting the same strict opposition in their efforts to get a new stadium. The Raiders have been floated too, but that’s a mistake the league likely won’t want to repeat.

And the league will be involved. Heavily involved, as one source told La Canfora that the ultimate direction of the NFL’s re-entrance into L.A. will be determined by Roger Goodell and his posse:

“The road to L.A. goes right through 345 Park (Ave., the league’s Manhattan headquarters),” as one ownership source put it. “There is no way around it. It’s been made clear. It’s in the minutes from the [ownership] meetings.” The source also added that even though Goodell’s memo last week spelled out several directives regarding football in L.A., that having a team there in 2013 “while not impossible, seems ambitious.”

This is a league that makes a lot of money because it’s filled with savvy owners who never turn down an opportunity to make more money. So yes, there’s reason to be concerned if you’re a fan of a team struggling to fill plastic seats with humans eight times a year, and avoid local TV blackouts.

The latter half of that definitely applies to you, Buffalo, and be worried about the whole ticket sales thing, Jacksonville, no matter what Shahid Khan says.

And now the links part of the links post…

  • The Chargers have their own Pete Campbell in their ticket sales office, as it seems a rep eager to make an extra dollar (or rather, many extra dollars) targeted Chiefs fans. He’s since received the ire of Dean Spanos. [San Diego Union-Tribune]
  • The buzz about Josh Gordon is real, and it’s spectacular. Sports Illustrated’s Tony Pauline says he’s the most talented player to enter the supplemental draft over the past 15 years. [Ben Volin]
  • Now you ladies can be covered in Rob Gronkowski anytime, anywhere. Behold the Gronk bikini. [Terez Owens]
  • Ed Reed wants the Ravens to know that he wants to get paid, and he’s quite comfortable sitting on his lawn and staring at concrete. [PFT]
  • Jim Harbaugh thinks that Randy Moss is the 49ers’ best receiver. If we’ve learned anything from the failures of past offseason judgements, it’s that attaching that label to a player you’ve only seen in shorts is always a confident statement about a team’s depth at a position. [Cam Inman]
  • The Jaguars really want to remove the tarps over sections of the seats at their home field. That would require finding people to sit in those seats, and that would in turn require people caring. [Big Cat Country]
  • Normally we’d scoff at concerns over Arian Foster’s new vegan die (snark is my favorite July pastime). But a person who’s paid to be knowledgeable on such matters says that there are real football reasons to be at least mildly concerned, specifically saying the lack of protein in a vegan diet could make it difficult to recover from injuries. [Paul Kuharsky]
  • Some Seahawks fans decided to go all white boi gangster on an Aaron Curry jersey and blow it up, because making stuff explode is AWESOME, bro. [KSK]