The Rams were the winners of the NFL to Los Angeles sweepstakes in January and will once again call Southern California their home.

However, it's amazing how close and fierce the competition was between the Rams, Chargers and Raiders to be the team to occupy LA after a two-decade hiatus. And while the Chargers were given permission to move to the area with the Rams, the Raiders got the shaft.

And there's an interesting theory as to why. According to a story in the latest issue of ESPN The Magazine, many NFL owners were hesistant to allow the Silver and Black to return to Los Angeles since their team apparel had been co-opted by local gangs.

According to the story:

"Most owners wanted to avoid a Raiders return to Los Angeles, owing to Al Davis' burned bridges and the co-opting of the team apparel by gangs, concerns so deep that some wouldn't even consider Carson."

Huh, interesting. However, that attitude does jibe with what Bleacher Report's Jason Cole reported in January about Rams owner Stan Kroenke being skittish of partnering with the Raiders in Los Angeles.

Via The Comeback:

One of the big reasons, an underlying reason for the Rams wanting to have the Chargers in Los Angeles with them is that the Rams don't really want to have the Raiders there. They view the Raiders as part of a marketing challenge because of the Raiders' history there and specifically because they're building such an elaborate complex in the Inglewood area that's going to feature shopping. The Rams frankly don't want to have a lot of Raider fans in that area. That's what's working against the Raiders working against Los Angeles in this situation.

The ESPN story is an interesting insight into the NFL's fight for Los Angeles. One quote in particular, stands out. Apparently, a pair of buyers approached late Raiders owner Al Davis with an offer to purchase the team and move it to LA.

"During one such lunch meeting in 2010, two Los Angeles businessmen pitched a lowball offer to Al Davis, who started laughing. "F--- you," he told them. "Get the hell out of here." And he went back to eating his lunch."

Classic Al.

(H/T to Larry Brown Sports)