As the only team left in the NFL who shares a stadium with a Major League Baseball team, it’s easy to say that the Oakland Raiders need a new stadium badly. However, what isn’t so obvious is how that stadium is going to be built. Anyone following the situation the past few months must feel like they are in the middle of a forest fire with all the smoke that seems to be hanging around. One minute, the Raiders are on their way to San Antonio, the next they are on the verge of signing a deal to stay in Oakland.
But the latest “news” on the Raiders and their seemingly unending search for a new stadium is by far the most intriguing.
This time, the rumor is about more than just the potential new home for the Raiders, it also has the Raiders switching conferences to play in the NFC West. That’s right, the rumor has the Raiders and the San Francisco 49ers, the same teams who stopped playing each other in the preseason because of fan violence at the games, playing two regular season games every year. Anyone who said the Niners and Raiders do not have a real rivalry wouldn’t be able to say that anymore if this actually comes to fruition.
According to Jason Cole of Bleacher Report, there are two teams that are likely to land in Los Angeles in the next few years, the San Diego Chargers and the Oakland Raiders. Per Cole, that would create a problem since it would mean that not only would Los Angeles have two AFC teams, it would have to AFC West teams, something that apparently is unacceptable. Cole goes on to say that because of this, Mark Davis has said that he is willing to move the Raiders to the NFC West so that they can get a new stadium in Los Angeles. That could mean moving the Seahawks back to the AFC West, where they last resided back in 2001.
According to Pro Football Talk, the NFL expects to send either one or two teams to L.A. in the next 12-to-24 months.
Currently, the universe of teams that may relocate consists of three: the Rams, Raiders, and Chargers. The Raiders’ current lease expires after the 2014 season. The Rams can exit without penalty after each season. The Chargers can leave by paying a relocation fee that shrinks every year.
It’s hard to know what to make of this story since none of the previous stories about the Raiders’ stadium issue have turned out to be much more than rumors. But one thing is for sure, if Al Davis was still alive, there is no way that this would happen. Can you imagine the man who resigned as AFL commissioner because the AFL-NFL merger was worked out behind his back willingly leaving the AFC? Not likely. But with a new Davis may come new ways of doing things. It is not entirely crazy to think Mark Davis did actually say this. But until something actually happens, this can probably be thrown into the heap of other rumors competing to be the right rumor.