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Volume 25 No. 196
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Raiders Pull Deal To Play '19 In Oakland, Turn Focus To Temp Home

The NFL needs to know where the Raiders will play by February to make the '19 schedule
Photo: GETTY IMAGES

The Raiders withdrew from a tentative deal to stay in Oakland for the '19 season, a day after the city "sued the team over its impending departure to Las Vegas," according to a front-page piece by Veklerov & Kawahara of the S.F. CHRONICLE. The move appeared to "fulfill the team’s threat to find somewhere else to play next year if the city filed suit." The team’s options include "sharing Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara with the 49ers, playing in a city such as San Diego that lacks an NFL team, and moving to Nevada ahead of schedule to a university facility." Each option "carries complications and downsides." Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Authority Exec Dir Scott McKibben said that a Raiders exec called him yesterday and "formally and officially pulled their proposal off the table." NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said that the league "needs to know where the Raiders will play by February" to make the '19 schedule (S.F. CHRONICLE, 12/13).

WHERE TO GO? Raiders Owner Mark Davis yesterday said that he is "considering a variety of options about where the team will play next season." He added that he is "not even ruling out the possibility of the franchise remaining in Oakland for one more season despite the federal lawsuit." In DC, Mark Maske noted that represented a "softening of Davis’s previous stance that he would not play another season in Oakland if the city filed a lawsuit" (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 12/12). Davis: "All options are on the table." In L.A., Sam Farmer notes Davis "wouldn’t rule" out such venues as Cal's Memorial Stadium, Levi’s Stadium or even SDCCU Stadium in San Diego. Davis said that he is "not interested in playing games in San Antonio." Farmer notes the "most logical option" would be staying in the Bay Area. Conceivably, that could mean "playing at California, Stanford, or at" AT&T Park. It is somewhat "less likely" the Raiders would play at Levi's Stadium, or that the league would "allow them to play in San Diego." If the Raiders were to "go to Las Vegas a year early and play for a year in a temporary venue, that could bleed off a lot of excitement there about the move, especially if the team were to play poorly" (L.A. TIMES, 12/13). CBSSPORTS.com's John Breech wrote Davis "absolutely loathes the idea of playing in Levi's Stadium." He has said that on "multiple occasions and likely wouldn't play there unless it was an absolute last resort" (CBSSPORTS.com, 12/12). NFL.com's Jim Trotter tweeted that a source "suggested playing in Levi's Stadium could backfire on the Raiders by helping the city of Oakland in its lawsuit." San Diego-based KGB-FM's Cookie Randolph: "Are the Oakland Raiders coming to San Diego? ... Do you think San Diego would roll out the red carpet when the @Chargers come to town as the away team?" (TWITTER.com, 12/13).

RIGHT MOVE: A S.F. CHRONICLE editorial states that the "upshot of the lawsuit is spot on: that the Raiders and the NFL ignored the league’s relocation guidelines and did not otherwise play fair in stacking the deck for Las Vegas." However, there is "no law on the state or federal books that requires a business to act in good faith in choosing where to house its operation." NFL bylaws "contain detailed guidelines that teams must meet before moving to a new market, with a requirement that it 'work diligently and in good faith' to try to stay in its home territory." It expressly "prohibits a franchise from granting 'exclusive negotiating rights' to a community outside its current market -- such as the Raiders effectively did with Las Vegas." It is "not a clear-cut legal matter, but it’s an argument that needs to be tested in court not only for Oakland’s sake, but for the interests of other cities that subsidize professional football to even greater degrees" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 12/13). SI's Michael McCann: "Are NFL owners running an illegal cartel? The is the critical question in City of Oakland v. Raiders" (TWITTER.com, 12/13).

THE NEW NORMAL: Raiders QB Derek Carr said of the constant changes within in the organization, "It's crazy, man. My brother (David) warned me about stuff like this, because he played for 12 years. I was like, 'No, man, when you get here it's just rainbows and butterflies because you made it to the NFL.' All of a sudden, you get new friends every year. I've had like 27 different people in the locker next to me in five years. It just shows you how tough this business is." He added, "Not only in the last five years, but in the last 12 months, there has been a lot of turnover." Carr on the possibility of not playing in the Coliseum in '19 said, "It's ours. It's been fun." He said the fact that the Christmas Eve game against the Broncos "could be the last" in Oakland is "crazy." Carr: "But when that time comes, we will enjoy it" (ESPN.com, 12/13). Pro Football Talk tweeted, "Unless there's a clear deal in place for the Raiders to play in Oakland next year, the Christmas Eve home finale vs. Denver could be a cross between the last game played by the original Browns in Cleveland and 'Disco Demolition' night in Chicago" (TWITTER.com, 12/12).