Sources: Still Possible Raiders Play Next Season In Oakland
The Raiders are now scrambling to find a stadium for '19, but it is "not out of the question" that the team may end up playing next season in Oakland, according to sources cited by Jason La Canfora of CBSSPORTS.com. Owner Mark Davis is "under a significant time-crunch to work out his locale" for next year. League sources said that he will "face considerable backlash from the NFL office if this is not resolved by the Super Bowl." Sources also said that the Raiders have been "investigating other spots, including San Diego, for months." But as much as coach Jon Gruden "may want to move the team for a year," he is "going to need league approval to complete any arrangement, and there is a strong sense in the NFL office that keeping the team in the Bay Area makes the most sense for all involved" (CBSSPORTS.com, 12/16). CBSSN's Amy Trask said of the Raiders suing the city of Oakland, "I'm very, very confident that 31 owners at least have no interest whatsoever in sitting down and being deposed or engaging in discovery. They may be looking to force a settlement or grandstand with their constituents" (“That Other Pregame Show,” CBSSN, 12/16).
STAYING IN THE BAY? Santa Clara Mayor Lisa Gillmor said that it would be "challenging to have a second team" at Levi's Stadium. In San Jose, David DeBolt noted Gillmor acknowledged "complaints from stadium neighbors about noise, parking and other nuisances caused on 49ers game days." Gillmor: "We are looking at it in the event it becomes a possibility. I’m not sure if they are interested. ... It’s really a 49ers decision at this point" (San Jose MERCURY NEWS, 12/14). In Boston, Ben Volin wrote he "would love to see the Raiders become a true barnstorming team next year, playing games in San Diego, Las Vegas, Vancouver, Toronto, St. Louis, San Antonio, London, and Mexico City." But the "most realistic scenario, by far, is for the Raiders to share Levi’s Stadium with the 49ers." It "keeps the Raiders in the Bay Area, allows them to sell tickets to their fan base, and doesn’t force them to move operations for a year or play away from home" (BOSTON GLOBE, 12/16). In California, Phil Barber reported Cal and Stanford are not thought to be "interested in opening" their doors to the Raiders, and "even if one of the universities were amenable, the NFL traffic flow would be oppressive." Barber: "Levi’s is the only logical alternative to Oakland" (Santa Rosa PRESS DEMOCRAT, 12/16).
HOME IS WHERE THE HEART IS: CBSSN's Trask said it is too soon to "rule out the possibility" that the Raiders will play in Oakland next season. Trask: "This should be a festival for fans. They should open the parking lots early. They should get most, if not every, local Oakland musical artists. Get all those artists there, have a free concert for fans in the parking lot. I would spend a lot of money on this. I would make concessions free for the whole game, pregame while that concert’s going on in the parking lot. I would have the fans be able to mix and mingle with Raider legends from days gone by and get hugs and autographs. After the game, I would allow the fans to come down on the field and mix and mingle with current players and current coaches. This needs to be a thank you and a salute and an appreciation to the magnificent, magnificent Raider Nation." But CBSSN’s Brandon Tierney said, "The Raiders need to take care of their fans and do the right thing, and that means ripping the hideous tarps off Mt. Davis on Christmas Eve and treating that game against the Broncos as their final home game because it will be" (“That Other Pregame Show,” CBSSN, 12/16).