The St. Louis Rams' strategic thinkers knew they would get crushed in the court of public opinion.
They agreed to play three "home" games in London anyway.
What does that say about the Rams? I asked a question along those lines Friday. Before getting to fans' answers, let's consider what the Rams' chief operating officer, Kevin Demoff, had to say about the situation.
"We do realize we are getting killed today, and that's OK," Demoff said during a chat Friday. "People say that we just don't get PR and if we did, we wouldn't do this. Our goal isn't to win the PR battle today, our goal is to make the best decisions for the long-term interests of the franchise in St. Louis and we all believe we did that with the International Series. If we have to trade a week of bad press for more opportunity for a long-term agreement in St. Louis, that's an easy trade for us to make."
The price for the Rams will exceed a week of bad press, in my view.
Fans worried about a tenuous stadium lease already weren't sure what to make of team owner Stan Kroenke. They are likely more skeptical after Kroenke remained noncommittal about St. Louis during the Jeff Fisher hiring news conference earlier in the week. Moving a marquee 2012 game against New England to London reinforced impressions that Kroenke has one eye one the horizon.
Kroenke is most likely trying to leverage the best stadium deal he can get -- in St. Louis or wherever it might exist. And he's willing to sacrifice short-term fan capital to best set up the franchise for long-term success -- again, regardless of location. Speaking about St. Louis lovingly wouldn't necessarily help his stadium cause. It might not be his style, anyway.
OK, then. Let's get to some of the Rams-related feedback I solicited via Twitter. I've cleaned up punctuation in cases where 140-character limits forced truncation.
@Scott_Castro: Interesting way to treat the fans who have witnessed horrid play and stuck by the team the last five years. Take away a home game.
@S_Horning: The Rams don't even have a national brand. What makes anyone think they can build an international brand?
@kburchard34: They can commit to London, but nothing to St. Louis. I've had season tickets since '95 and will not be re-upping anymore.
@75sNbelow: Rams will be playing every home game in London after those three years, for sure!!
@CBarrios28: Three years left on lease, three years in London. Hmmm.
@BaileyDvorak: Why would they commit to London for three years, and then not be committed to St. Louis? Better stay in St. Louis.
@AudobonStl: Not a big deal. Most fans watch on TV anyway.
@ShaneGmoSTLRams: I believe the best deal will be St. Louis. I think they take improvements to the Edward Jones Dome in exchange for real estate and a future new home.
@ShaneGmoSTLRams: Unfortunately, this puts St. Louis in an awkward spot when it comes to making a good-faith offer. Slap in the face.
@radiodoc881: StanK owns Emirates Stadium. We can't compete with Los Angeles or London.
@radioc881: Paranoia/anger at an all-time high this morning in St. Louis. Most attractive game on the 2012 home schedule gone to London.
@stlsprtsfanatic: I am curious to see how Stan expects to make money from a fan base in St. Louis that he keeps alienating himself from.
@stgdobber: The writing is on the wall. Brutal for true football fans in St. Louis. No way we will ever get another team.
@robzilla1979: Listen, I have been a fan for nearly 30 years. If they are your team, support them. The move to St. Louis didn't affect me.
@grantmp1: This looks like Bills-in-Toronto, Midwest version.
@SamtotheJames: I'm a huge Rams fan, but the St. Louis crowd has only themselves to blame ... some of the worst stadium attendance in the NFL.
@RamsHerd: The ball is in St. Louis' court when it comes to the Rams staying. If Kroenke hears London calling, it's up to our city to answer.
@brandonbirkhead: I don't think it says much. Owning Arsenal, Stan knows how important it is to grow an international brand.
@john_rob76: Pretty disappointed about losing the Pats home game. StanK indifferent in where this team ends up. #showmethemoney
@rabo12: Made me go from about 60 percent the Rams are staying to about five percent. Done with tickets and expectations.