The National Football League is coming back to Los Angeles and the winners are taxpayers. Certainly, local taxpayers won when the NFL chose the St. Louis Rams to move into a privately financed stadium to be built at the Hollywood Park Race Track site in Inglewood. The San Diego Chargers have an invitation to join them.

But, taxpayers around the country may also have chalked up a victory with this decision.

For years the NFL wanted to move a franchise into the nation’s second largest media market. However, league officials insisted on public funds to help build a stadium. I dug out an op-ed I wrote that was published in the Los Angeles Daily News on March 27, 1999 on a previous occasion when the NFL was pushing to place a team in LA. The piece began this way:

The National Football League raiders are coming back to town. No, not that football team that ran north to Oakland a few years ago. These are the real raiders of the NFL, the team owners who swoop in and grab money from public treasuries.

And later in the piece: It is no longer enough for Los Angeles fans to bleed Dodger Blue; the NFL wants them to bleed green, too.

The fight over bringing a team to Los Angeles nearly 20 years ago was about public money. This time around the cities of San Diego and St. Louis did offer public money to help build new stadiums to keep their teams but the league deemed the stadium plans in those cities inadequate.

By not taking the public money but accepting the Inglewood site and its privately financed stadium, the result is a great transformation for the NFL.

As I wrote in 1999: If Los Angeles, a market they covet, can acquire the team without public dollars, it would send a message across the country that the NFL owners wouldn’t like.

Yet, the desire to put their product in the huge Los Angeles market has moved the league to change strategies.

Of course, public money undoubtedly will be spent on infrastructure changes to assist in stadium access, but at least the stadium itself is not on the taxpayers’ dime.

Finally awarding a team to Los Angeles may be a blessing for taxpayers around the country, as well.

Since the region lost its previous professional football teams, franchises in other cities have threatened to move to Los Angeles unless their home cities’ taxpayers helped build or refurbish local stadiums.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles was used as blackmail bait at one time or another since 1995 by the Arizona Cardinals, Atlanta Falcons, Buffalo Bills, Carolina Panthers, Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, Kansas City Chiefs, Miami Dolphins, Minnesota Vikings, New Orleans Saints, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and even the expansion Houston Texans. If you add the three teams in the current discussions about moving to LA—the Raiders, Rams, and Chargers—that’s more than half the NFL franchises.

With the team (or teams) now chosen to relocate, at least the threat of using a move to Los Angeles to squeeze more money from city taxpayers around the country is gone.