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As we enter February, two of the three NFL franchises that faced major uncertainty last month have some sort of resolution for at least the short term. The Rams are heading to Los Angeles immediately and will play at the Coliseum until their brand-new Inglewood stadium is ready in a few years. The Chargers will play the 2016 season in San Diego before making a final decision on their long-term future.
The only team without any short-term certainty is the Raiders, who appear likely to return to Oakland for at least one more year, but don’t have an agreement in place to play at O.co Coliseum at this point. The stadium, which the Raiders share with MLB’s Oakland Athletics, isn’t exactly the NFL’s most impressive venue, but it’s fine as an interim home, and I expect the Raiders to play there in 2016 while the franchise considers its long-term options.
Owner Mark Davis is in the process of considering those options as we speak — Davis paid a visit to Las Vegas last Friday to meet with a group of investors proposing to build a $1 billion domed stadium near UNLV. Additionally, ideas such as the Raiders building an NFL stadium in San Antonio or sharing Levi’s Stadium with the 49ers have resurfaced in recent weeks as the Raiders mull their next move.
Of course, there are as many cons as pros for most of the Raiders’ potential homes. There’s major skepticism that the NFL would allow a team to relocate to Las Vegas, America’s gambling capital, and Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and Texans owner Bob McNair would likely push hard to keep the Raiders out of Texas. As for sharing a stadium with the Niners, Davis has shown no interest in such a partnership.
Los Angeles is a possibility for the Raiders, but only if the Chargers ultimately decide to pass on a partnership with the Rams, and Davis would still have to reach his own agreement with Stan Kroenke in that scenario. If the Chargers head to L.A. in 2017, San Diego could be in play for the Raiders, though there’s some uncertainty about how the NFL and Chargers owner Dean Spanos would feel about that possibility.
London and Toronto have frequently been cited as potential homes for NFL franchises as well, though there’s no indication that Davis has explored international options yet. St. Louis, having just lost the Rams, would appear on the surface to be a logical match, but Davis has said he’s not considering St. Louis, and mayor Francis Slay doesn’t appear interested in pursing another team.
Oakland may be the best home for the Raiders in both the short- and long-term — Mayor Libby Schaaf expressed optimism for that outcome during an appearance on KTVU on Sunday night, as Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk details.
According to Florio, Schaaf hopes to secure a renewal of the Raiders’ lease at O.co Coliseum and then move on to negotiations on a “permanent, beautiful home for those Raiders.” That’s easier said than done though, and so far none of the discussions between the Raiders and the city of Oakland have resulted in any sort of viable stadium plan. It’s not clear whether the NFL committing an extra $100MM to the project will change that.
What do you think? Should the Raiders do everything they can to make it work in Oakland, or is there another city that makes more sense for them? Where do you think the Raiders will ultimately end up, and where do you think they should end up?