The St. Louis Rams are moving to Los Angeles, news that is largely insignificant to the Ravens but tremendously conspicuous in Baltimore, a city once left behind by an NFL franchise, only to be inhabited by another.
The circumstances of the Cleveland Browns’ relocation to Baltimore in 1996 and the Rams’ imminent departure from St. Louis vary greatly. Indeed, every franchise’s decision to leave home is fraught with complexity and nuance. Yet in the nearly two decades between moves, familiar narratives haven taken hold.
1. Lease terms loomed large in each team’s relocation.
In 1973, then-Browns owner Art Modell signed a 25-year...