The Oakland Raiders may be in the midst of their best season since the 2002 campaign. At 10-2 and in first place in the AFC West, they are legitimate Super Bowl contenders.
While we let the shock wear off regarding that, there’s something else happening behind the scenes with the Raiders. In reality, they could be playing their last handful of games in Oakland, a city the franchise has called home for the past 20-plus seasons.
By now it’s well known that the Raiders could potentially be on the way to Las Vegas. While the stadium situation in Northern California remains fully up in the air, they have a plan in place with casino mogul Sheldon Adelson to build a new state-of-the-art venue in the desert metropolis.
We won’t know for some time whether the Raiders relocating to Las Vegas will become reality. What we do know is that their current situation in Oakland is not sustainable over the long term. That’s been the case since the team moved from Los Angeles in 1995 and it hasn’t changed since.
Now comes this report from Bleacher Report’s Jason Cole suggesting that the National Football League itself believes the city of Oakland has no real desire to keep the Raiders.
— Jason Cole (@JasonCole62) December 8, 2016
Cole’s report goes on to indicate that the NFL has approached the Raiders twice about the possibility of buying or leasing the Oakland Coliseaum as a way to act as a developer for a new venue in Northern California. City officials have not responded to these two inquiries over the financial feasibility of such a possibility.
If this is truly the case, Oakland’s last potential ally in this situation could very well decide to move on with the Raiders’ plan to relocate to Las Vegas.
This all comes at a time when it seems Raiders owner Mark Davis has already committed to the idea of moving to the desert. And even if that weren’t to come to fruition, the team has another option. Should the San Diego Chargers decide not to opt in to a potential move to Inglewood with the Los Angeles Rams, the Raiders could swoop in and move back to Southern California.
The Vegas situation itself is interesting in that it would include the Raiders playing at a temporary location for a couple seasons until a new venue is built in Nevada. If the Raiders were somehow able to land in Los Angeles, they could conceivably relocate as early as next season.
At the very least, we now seem to know the city of Oakland and its officials aren’t doing everything in their power to keep the Raiders in Northern California.
That has to be a bad sign for fans of the long downtrodden organization during a season in which their team is dominating the landscape of the NFL on the field.