The Good, The Bad, The Ugly: How St. Louis Lost, Won, and suffered from the NFL ’89-’94

Posted in Football, NFL, Sports, St. Louis Cardinals, St. Louis Sports, Stan Kroenke with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 14, 2018 by derekkingsports


Where do you want to start?

Where do you end?

It just seem that for the great people of St. Louis, it never began or ended. So lets start at the beginning, of the end (the first time).

1988, William “Bill” Bidwell wants out of St. Louis, the town he’s called home since 1960, filing for relocation with the league. On March 15th 1988 the NFL voted to allow the St. Louis Cardinals to relocate to Phoenix, Arizona putting the final coffin nail in the franchises 28 year history in St. Louis. The vote was 26-2 with the now Los Angeles Raiders and Miami Dolphins abstaining. Both Al Davis and Joe Robbie were against the measure for their own reasons.

Davis was still engulfed in a legal battle with the NFL over his ill-advised move into the greater Los Angeles area. and due to the aforementioned legal issues with the league, Davis decided it was best to abstain from the vote, but he wasn’t all too thrilled about the matter.

Source: New York Times

 “It’s all a sham. They vote any way they want and allow anyone they want to move.” Al Davis

Joe Robbie was good friends with Joe Foss, former American Football League commissioner who represented a Phoenix group spent $2 million in a failed attempt to bring an expansion team to Phoenix.

The NFL as a group wasn’t enthralled about the idea of letting the Cardinals move to Phoenix either. The league would have preferred a move to Baltimore as the Phoenix area was looked at as an excellent candidate for expansion, this was all going down long after the Irsay-Rosenbloom debacle in 1972 which the Rams and Colts franchises were traded with their respective owners. That’s another story for another day.

St. Louis Expansion attempt

Jerry Clinton, Former Grey Eagle Distributors owner, who as part owner in the St. Louis Blues and St. Louis Steamers indoor soccer team, Mr. Clinton, told Civic Progress members over breakfast at the Bogey Club of their plans to build a new stadium and bring a new football team to St. Louis. On Feb. 27, 1989, they formed the St. Louis NFL Partnership.

Source: St. Louis Post Dispatch 


Mr. Clinton said it had been easy to raise money to buy a team. That turned out to be an exaggeration.

The partnership mailed a prospectus to local entrepreneurs asking for $250,000 each. They got just one solid commitment.

Meanwhile, Mr. Clinton was lending his partner money. “He had no other source of income. … He had to have living expenses,” Mr. Clinton explained.

The two partners lobbied the Missouri Legislature to approve financing to build a stadium-convention center they said would be self-supporting.

The legislation passed but never was used for the stadium. Instead, the city, county and state are paying the tab.

Mr. Clinton lobbied the NFL for an expansion franchise. He even signed a lease for his team to play at St. Louis’ new downtown domed stadium.

As most can see it was a very convoluted series of events. the original group lead by Mr. Clinton and James Busch Orthwein was stalling financially where as Orthwien couldn’t sell his team New England Patriots so he stepped aside allowing Stanley Enos Kroenke to be added to the group. Clinton made a bold move, he left the group and then teamed with a competing group lead by Fran Murray

Source: New York Times, FRANK LITSKY

Although Clinton’s group seems out of the picture, Fran Murray, an entrepreneur and a former minority owner of the Patriots, said yesterday he had taken over as majority general partner of the group. Last week, Orthwein dismissed a proposal by Murray to exchange 100 percent of the Patriots for 66 percent of a new St. Louis franchise. Murray said he would pay the $140 million fee for the St. Louis franchise.

Speaking by telephone from a plane en route to Chicago, Murray said he and three investors now controlled 54 percent of the group. He said he would appear this morning at a joint meeting of the N.F.L.’s expansion and finance committees in Chicago and identify the three investors. He said his appearance before the committees had been arranged by Jay Moyer, the league’s general counsel.

Murray said the remaining 46 percent of his group would be held by Clinton (20 percent), Orthwein (12 percent) Walter Payton (10 percent) and Tom Holley (4 percent). He would not say what share of the group he would retain himself. When asked if Clayton, Orthwein, Payton and Holley had agreed to this change, he said:

“They have not told me they would not participate. I sent them faxes and letters and have not heard that they did not want to remain part of the group.”

So, now you can see that series of events that unfolded during the process. Clinton-Orthwein, Clinton-Kroenke, Murray-Clinton-Orthwein-Payton-Holley and then Competing group; Stan Kroenke, Charles Knight, Andrew Taylor, and John Connelly.

If you are reading that trying to make sense out of what you just read, I was doing the same writing it. The process was so fluid and ever-changing I don’t even think the people involved knew what was happening. All of these things occurred between ’89-’94.

Also during this expansion process mess in St. Louis, Orthwein, bought the New England Patriots in 1992.

St. Louis had already begun construction on the soon to be Trans World Dome at America’s Center.

Orthwein was dead set on heading to St. Louis after the 1993 season. At that point, Robert Kraft, who owned the lease on Foxboro Stadium wouldn’t let Orthwein out of the lease, and due to that Orthwein sold the Patriots to Robert Kraft in 1994 and the rest is history.

I’m shaking my head even writing this stuff!

Thinking back on the entire saga of expansion one would have never thought it would have been this messy, yet it was.

At this point, the dream of having a franchise in St. Louis looked all but dead, on life support, but then, out of nowhere, there came a savior of football in St. Louis, or at least we thought.

Part 2 of this series will be coming soon, stay tuned.

Derek King

N The Zone Contributor

Sources: New York Times, St. Louis Post Dispatch, Chicago Tribune



How the NFL saved St. Louis…by leaving.

Posted in Football, Los Angeles Rams, NFL, Social Media, Special, Sports, St. Louis Rams, St. Louis Sports, Stan Kroenke on January 12, 2018 by derekkingsports


So, I grew up just outside of St. Louis during the 80’s when baseball was king. Whiteyball was in full swing and the Big Red football Cardinals were an after thought.

Terrible football and St. Louis go hand in hand, kind of like coffee and gooey butter cake. The football Cardinals had suffered from long tenures of losing with brief glimpses of success. Yet we showed up to games, we supported a sub-par product being shuffled out onto the field from time to time was rightfully embarrassing to all the fans who were still supporting it.

William “Bill” Bidwell, owner of the St. Louis Football Cardinals had long been dissatisfied with playing second fiddle to the baseball Cardinals, although the latter had very little to no success during the 70’s when the Big Red were at the heights of success winning 2 division titles and 3 playoff births in 27 years in St. Louis.

Mr. Bidwell petitioned the city of St. Louis for a new publicly funded stadium to where he no longer had to share facilities with the baseball Cardinals. The city balked on the idea of a perennially bad football team pushing for millions of public money for a new stadium in St. Louis. The city had issues of their own to address during that time besides giving a millionaire millions more to build a stadium for a bad football team. It was egos at work at its finest.

Instead of negotiating with Bidwell over terms of a new facility and lease terms, the city, in all their infinite wisdom decided to not negotiate with ownership and force Bidwell to find other avenues. City administrators thinking the whole time he’d never go. Much to their chagrin, he did.

Phoenix, Arizona

I was devastated to say the least. Even as a child football was everything to me. It felt like as I had lost my best friend. I became jilted and eventually got over the loss by rooting for the Kansas City Chiefs, at the time they had just landed Joe Montana and were a very successful team. Only problem was, they weren’t my team. My team left me for a desert, A DAMN DESERT! How could they do that?!

So you see my dilemma, I had no team. I had in all terms and purpose, became a free agent. During this entire search for my football soul there were talks between the NFL and St. Louis about the NFL returning to the city. Officials passed a bill to build a new stadium in downtown that would be christened the Trans World Dome at America’s Center.

This new expansion team would be called the St. Louis Stallions. It was a done deal, at least we thought. My father worked for Paramount Headwear and Apparel at the time and they were running hats and shirts for the Stallions. They couldn’t talk about it, take pictures of it, wear it or otherwise let the product see the light of day. They had an entire setup at the headquarters in St. Louis, they even had a Stallions cake, this is how close it was.

In the 11th hour due to potential franchise owner issues with Chuck Knight, Stephen Brauer, Charles Cella, Sam Fox, Fred Kummer, and Andrew Taylor, as well as the late John Connelly from Pittsburgh, the city introduced none other than Stanley Enos Kroenke as another financial backer, but the play was much too late and the NFL chose Carolina and Jacksonville over St. Louis for expansion. We all know what happened next, so let’s fast forward to 2018. St. Louis has an identity crisis at hand. A county city divide, dilapidated city infrastructure that is in desperate need of repair, dwindling city population, businesses disappearing from downtown faster than a pair of expensive sunglasses. We know this, Stan didn’t have to make such a scathing report on the matter. Fact is now the city can focus on these glaring issues, as long as they stay out of their own way, but that’s always been the issue hasn’t it? St. Louis city officials are more worried about getting their hands greased then doing what’s best for their constituency. Not to get onto a political stump, but this is how things need to get done. Stop fighting over who getting paid and do what’s best for the region. The city is getting there, everyone just has to hold those responsible accountable for their stewardship. Politicians don’t own the city and county, you do. All that being said, would I like to see another NFL team in St. Louis? Without a doubt! Only time will tell. The only thing everyone in St. Louis can do is work together to make their city, the best city they can.

Thank you for reading.

Derek King

N The Zone Network contributor

2017 WBCBL National Championship Replay

Posted in Basketball, Special, Sports, St. Louis Sports, St. Louis Surge with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 7, 2018 by ALNTheZone


I had the pleasure of handling the play-by-play duties for the 2017 WBCBL National Championship between the St. Louis Surge and the Georgia Soul…along with Palmer doing color commentary and with our freshman phenom Ashley Wright handling sideline duties along with color. I have said it before and I will say it again…THIS was a great team and I had a lot of fun working with these two. I also appreciate Surge owner Khalia Collier for allowing us to participate along with former Surge assistant Angela Lewis for coming up major with the equipment to provide for the game. 

But here it is…in it’s entirety from the Fontbonne Field House (the links are below):

The St. Louis Surge look to become national champions for the second year in a row and finish undefeated. They take on the Georgia Soul, a second-year team in the WBCBL.

Here’s the 1st quarter action from the Fontbonne Field House with the call from play-by-play man Arlington Lane, and color commentators Palmer Alexander III and Ashley Wright.

Sponsored by Deer Valley Home Health and Ol’ Henry Restaurant.

The 1st Quarter

Here’s the 2nd quarter action from the Fontbonne Field House of the 2017 WBCBL National Championship between the Georgia Soul and defending champion, St. Louis Surge.

Here’s the call from play-by-play man Arlington Lane, and color commentators Palmer Alexander III and Ashley Wright.

Sponsored by Deer Valley Home Health and Ol’ Henry Restaurant.

The 2nd Quarter

Arlington, Palmer and Ashley give their thoughts on the first half of the 2017 WBCBL National Championship with the “Ol’ Henry Restaurant Halftime Show.”

The Halftime Show

Moving to 3rd quarter action from the Fontbonne Field House of the 2017 WBCBL National Championship between the Georgia Soul and defending champion, St. Louis Surge. More with Arlington Lane, Palmer Alexander III and Ashley Wright with the call. Sponsored by Deer Valley Home Health and Ol’ Henry Restaurant.

The 3rd Quarter

Here’s the exciting conclusion of the 4th quarter from the Fontbonne Field House of the 2017 WBCBL National Championship between the Georgia Soul and defending champion, St. Louis Surge. Special guest Earl Austin, Jr. of the St. Louis American joins Palmer Alexander talking about the championship game. Does the Surge repeat as champions or would the Soul snatch victory and gain their first title? Here’s Arlington, Palmer and Ashley with the action. Sponsored by Deer Valley Home Health and Ol’ Henry Restaurant.

The 4th Quarter

Arlington, Palmer and Ashley give their final thoughts on the national championship, give their player of the game awards and conduct some interviews with the champions.

The Postgame Show



The A-Train

N The Zone Takeover on Girl Chat Sports

Posted in Basketball, Eagles, Football, Girl Chat Sports, Hockey, nba, Podcast, Social Media, St. Louis Surge with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 4, 2018 by ALNTheZone

Well not really…

But myself and Palmer Alexander joined Melissa Ferris on their podcast. We touched on a lot in just one hour of time. Plus there was a surmountable amount of laughs spread within the hour. It was a lot of fun.

We touched on Marvin Lewis, Jon Gruden’s chances with the Raiders, medical marijuana in professional sports, professional sports in Las Vegas, NFL Wild Card weekend, the all-SEC national championship, and the NBA. Plus we give a shoutout to co-host Stephanie Washington.

Check out the links here below.

Girl Chat Sports Episode 61 on Podomatic

Girl Chat Sports Episode 61 on ITunes

The A-Train

Happy New Year from “N The Zone”

Posted in Girl Chat Sports, Podcast, Social Media, Special, Sports, St. Louis Surge with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 1, 2018 by ALNTheZone

Yes, folks. It’s 2018. 

Big things are happening with the “N The Zone” Network. 

We hope that you will be with us on the journey.

It has been awhile since posting but if you haven’t heard the news…here it is.

  1. Beginning this Saturday, January 6th, N The Zone is broadcasting LIVE! Yes, it’s been overdue and now is a great time to start doing some LIVE shows. Right now we are working at making sure we get re-airings of the LIVE broadcast. So…you can now find us at Ferguson Hot Talk Radio from 10AM to 12PM. We’ll have that information on the Facebook and Twitter pages.  
  2. Palmer and I will be joining the ladies of Girl Chat Sports podcast this week. Make sure you listen in for that. 
  3. Also, for the first time we are re-airing the 2017 WBCBL National Championship between the St. Louis Surge and Georgia Soul. I had the pleasure of doing play-by-play, while Palmer and our newcomer Ashley Wright provided color commentary. It’s now available for download…just click HERE

We appreciate your support as we can continue to build upon the Network…and don’t forget to check out the shows through our network Twitter handle.


NBA Preseason Rankings

Posted in Basketball, nba, Sports on October 16, 2017 by Ashley Wright

Ashley Wright



In recent years once the notable NBA free agents sign during the preseason NBA Playoff Power Rankings have been predictable but, this year that is not the case. This off season has arguably been the most entertaining off season yet. From free agent signings to trade demands more top free agents and talents have taken their services elsewhere. With teams gearing up for a championship run the NBA has been shifted like never before. There are many stars in new threads like Paul George in a Oklahoma City Thunder uniform and Gordon Hayward reuniting with his head coach from Butler University Brad Stevens! How did all these changes impact the potential NBA playoff picture? Check out NTheZone’s NBA preseason playoff Power Rankings below!

Western Conference

  1. Golden State Warriors (67-15)

The Golden State Warriors bring back their starting five and add to a bench that many think is also worthy of being a starting five itself. With the addition of Nick “Swaggy P” Young and re-signing of Andre Iguodala the Warriors have been thrusted into repeat talks. Just how much swag can Swaggy P provide?

  1. Oklahoma City Thunder (47-35)

Russell Westbrook. Paul George. Carmelo Anthony. Translation offense, offense, offense! With the signings of Paul George and Carmelo Anthony to compliment reigning league MVP Russell Westbrook the Thunder should have no problem scoring with the heavyweights in the Western Conference. Center Steven Adams is also in the paint to provide a defensive upside. Let the Thunder roll!

  1. Houston Rockets (55-27)

Houston finished third in the West last season however that was before the signing of Chris Paul. Now that CP3 has been added to the mix the Rockets should have a better record however they are still in the same place due to the Oklahoma City Thunder’s offseason activity. Although Houston is still third they are ahead of the next team on the list that knocked them out of the playoffs, the San Antonio Spurs.

  1. San Antonio Spurs (61-21)

San Antonio has been quiet this offseason however they did sign veteran forward Rudy Gay. All-Stars Kawhi Leonard and Tony Parker has missed preseason action due to injuries. The Spurs defense should remain strong as they also return skilled veterans Patty Mills and LaMarcus Aldridge.

  1. Minnesota Timberwolves (31-51)

There is some roaring going on in Minnesota! With the acquisition of Jimmy Butler who is reuniting with head coach Tom Thibodeau, and that monster in the paint by the name of Karl-Anthony Towns anything short of the playoffs would be an absolute disappointment for the guys in Minnesota. Andrew Wiggins is also back after signing a 5-year $148 million contract extension. Jamal Crawford and Jeff Teague also add their offensive abilities.

  1. Los Angeles Clippers (51-31)

The Clippers should not decline as much as people might think even with the lost of Chris Paul to Houston. Los Angeles signed Serbian guard Milos Teodosic who has a similar style of play as Paul. They also have valuable replacements in Patrick Beverley and Lou Williams to sweeten the return of Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan.

  1. Denver Nuggets (40-42)

Denver just missed out on the playoffs last year, and with the addition of Paul Millsap, they expect to make it this year. This team has plenty of talent, much of it young in players such as Jamal Murray and Kenneth Faried. Denver’s success will depend on the continued growth of those young players.

  1. Utah Jazz (51-31)

Without Gordon Hayward, the Jazz are going to have a very tough time making a playoff push. That said, players like Rudy Gobert, Joe Ingles and Rodney Hood will keep them from being a disaster. Also guard Ricky Rubio is going to have to perform well at the point guard spot.

Eastern Conference

  1. Cleveland Cavaliers (2016-17 record: 51-31)

Yes, it is true Cleveland lost one of the most dynamic point guards in the NBA in Kyrie Irving but what they received in return is not bad. Isaiah Thomas is projected to be sidelined until January with a hip injury however the Cavs have also signed Derrick Rose and Dwyane Wade. Sure Derrick Rose is not what he used to be but he is averaging 11.7 points and 3.7 assists in the preseason. Also Dwyane Wade and LeBron James did win two championships in Miami. With all that being said I haven’t even mentioned other players in Jae Crowder, J.R. Smith, Kevin Love, and Tristan Thompson. Cleveland doesn’t look shabby!

  1. Boston Celtics (53-29)

This offseason Danny Ainge did what Danny Ainge does and shocked us all when he pulled off a trade that brought Kyrie Irving to Boston. The Celtics also acquired Gordon Hayward through free agency and drafted a gem this summer in forward Jayson Tatum. Although the Celtics have offensive firepower their defense seems to have taken a hit given they dealt away defensive studs in Jae Crowder and Avery Bradley.  However with Danny Ainge at the helm anything can happen especially during the trade deadline!

  1. Washington Wizards (49-33)

The Wizards largely have the same team that it had last year which is why they are in the same spot. The same team does not necessarily mean the same skill. John Wall and Bradley Beal are entering their fifth season together and they are complemented by players Otto Porter Jr. and Kelly Oubre.

  1. Toronto Raptors (51-31)

The Raptors lost contributors Patrick Patterson and DeMarre Carroll however they did re-sign Kyle Lowry and Serge Ibaka. Not to mention DeMar DeRozan is still in town. However last year they got a scare from the Milwaukee Bucks. Have the Raptors hit their ceiling?

  1. Milwaukee Bucks (42-40)

Many people are projecting forward Giannis Antetokounmpo to possibly when the MVP award nevertheless the young man can ball! Antetokounmpo paired with Jabari Parker who averaged 20.1 points and 6.2 rebounds per game last season, that may be a recipe for a strong playoff push!

  1. Charlotte Hornets (36-46)

Charlotte missed the playoffs last season but they didn’t have center Dwight Howard or talented guard Malik Monk out of Kentucky. Howard may not play at the level that he once displayed but he did average a double-double last season with the Hawks translating in 13.5 points and 12.7 rebounds per game. The team is also bringing back Kemba Walker, Nicolas Batum, and Frank Kaminsky who all averaged over 11 points per game.

  1. Miami Heat (41-41)

The Heat re-signed James Johnson and Dion Waiters this offseason which means they have retained the bulk of the squad that went 30-11 during the second half of the season. Center Hassan Whiteside will also return to South Beach in hopes of building on his phenomenal play from last season.

  1. Philadelphia 76ers (28-54)

Young guys better ball! Philadelphia is finally healthy for now. Former lottery picks Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid missed significant time last season due to injuries, but they are healthy now and they are directed by the number one pick of the 2017 NBA draft Markelle Fultz. The Sixers have also added a veteran presence in J.J. Redick. Can the 76ers make a legitimate playoff case?

NBA Woes

Posted in Basketball, nba, Sports on September 1, 2017 by Ashley Wright

Ashley Wright 



The 2017 NBA off-season has been one to remember. Seemingly no other free agency period in the NBA as had more notable trades, signings, or trade demands than this one. The NBA’s recent off-season drama has been at the forefront of sports news, and feels like a scripted spin-off of Basketball Wives. Recent dysfunction around the NBA has many people comparing it to reality TV and tabloid headlines. In an evolving league a new era has begun in which stars such as Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, and Klay Thompson can play with each other. Many people refer to this era as the super team era.

With a new way of forming teams in the NBA there has been an abundance of player signings and trades that has captured the attention of NBA fans everywhere. From Chris Paul teaming up with James Harden, Paul George heading to Oklahoma City, and Carmelo Anthony and Kyrie Irving demanding trades from their arguably dysfunctional front offices, it has been hard to miss any breaking news from the league.

Since LeBron James joined the Miami Heat in 2010 nearly every valuable talent in the NBA has tried to team up with another in hopes of winning a championship. Although there has been a lot of distractions the sole purpose is for teams to get better and players to have a better chance at hoisting a title. Despite the drama around the NBA this is undoubtedly the most anticipated season yet. Below is a list of teams graded on who conquered the crazy offseason best. Feel free to share your thoughts on any team in the NBA, and how you feel about their offseason!

Golden State Warriors: A+

The Warriors did what seemed to be the impossible this offseason and found ways to get better. They resigned core players Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant to multi-year deals while also managing to deepen their bench with the additions of scorer Nick Young and defensive rookie Jordan Bell from Oregon. Not to mention the Dubs still have Draymond Green, Shaun Livingston and Zaza Pachulia.

Boston Celtics: A

Danny Ainge strikes again! Recently the Celtics traded Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, and a second round pick in the 2020 NBA draft in exchange for Kyrie Irving. Seems like they virtually got Irving for free right? Boston also signed forward Gordon Hayward in free agency adding to Al Horford, Jaylen Brown, and Jayson Tatum. Be on the lookout for the guys in green!

Houston Rockets: A-

MVP runner-up James Harden is still in town and joining him in the backcourt is Chris Paul. The Rockets are actively trying to add forward Carmelo Anthony to the mix. Plus Houston landed veteran forward P.J. Tucker.

Philadelphia 76ers: A-

Trust. The. Process. Markelle Fultz, Joel Embiid, and Ben Simmons, it is absolutely no secret that these young guys are the future of the franchise. Can Fultz lead them to a winning record and the playoffs?

Minnesota Timberwolves: B+

The Timberwolves are on the rise. Minnesota traded for Jimmy Butler and signed veteran guard Jeff Teague to a young upcoming lineup. Jamal Crawford and Taj Gibson are also key pieces for the T-Wolves bench with Karl-Anthony Towns, and Andrew Wiggins rounding out the core. Does anyone foresee the playoffs?

Oklahoma City Thunder: B+

Now, you might be shocked to see “B+” as the grade for the Thunder’s offseason activity but, read the reasons why. Sure the Thunder acquired Paul George to team up with league MVP Russell Westbrook but answer the next question truthfully. Will they really be that much better? The post play for the Thunder is still weak to be a true contender in the Western Conference. Nevertheless their backcourt will be an offensive powerhouse!

Washington Wizards: C+

Wizards signed guard John Wall for the long haul with a four-year $170 million extension. Otto Porter also signed a four-year $106.5 million deal with Washington. Outside of those two signings the Wizards added Jodie Meeks and Tim Frazier.

Los Angeles Clippers: D-

Chris Paul is gone, must I go on? JJ Redick is gone. On the plus side Blake Griffin signed a five-year $173 million deal. Granted the Clippers added Danilo Gallinari and Lou Williams but, that is not enough to do any damage in the talent filled Western Conference.

New York Knicks: F

Perhaps the Knicks may be the most dysfunctional team in the NBA. Sure Phil Jackson is finally out the door but owner James Dolan has seriously considered trading the only reliable talent they have in Kristaps Porzingis! The same James Dolan who thought signing Tim Hardaway Jr. to a four-year $71 million contract was a good idea.

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