By Rob Hamilton

HOUSTON — Follow the money. The big money.

It was the key to toppling Watergate and it was the critical element to the NFL finally solving the Los Angels labyrinth. Rams owner Stan Kroenke has the most of it and he was willing to contribute the most toward a project that stands to make the most.

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And so, for as popular as Chargers owner Dean Spanos is, and for as many votes as he had for his Carson proposal with the Raiders, and for as much good will as he engenders among his peers, and for all of loyal years or service, he got, at best, to ride in the sidecar while Kroenke brings a tricked-out new toy to Los Angeles. And Mark Davis ends up the third wheel — as he frankly always was in this project, without the economic means or industrial currency to execute a deal of this magnitude.

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Money, and the opportunity to make much more of it, trumps all in the world of business, and make no mistake, this is business of the highest order. The Los Angeles market has always been about making all 32 pieces of the league’s ownership pie more robust, and with Kroenke’s state-of-the-art facility now under construction — which means impressive new digs for NFL Media among others — times are very good in the NFL. Anyone surprised at the fan bases left in limbo, or, like St. Louis, left in the lurch, somehow wasn’t paying attention the last 30 years to what’s occurred in Baltimore and Cleveland and Houston and St. Louis.

The endgame for the NFL owners was to somehow get a way to couple the savvy and easy-likeability of Spanos with the cunning and detached approach of Kroenke, one of the richest men on the planet and one who never even pretended to shed a tear over getting out of Missouri as quickly as possible. It seemed they might be running out of time to get these two together, in Inglewood, but where there is a will there is a way, and when we broke the bombshell Saturday of Jerry Jones (the ultimate facilitator) crafting a last-minute resolution to get the Rams and Chargers together on Stan’s Land, well, the direction of this move changed once and…

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