The Oakland Raiders traveled down to Oxnard, Calif., to practice and brawl with the Dallas Cowboys this week, and they were greeted by a sizable contingent of Los Angeles area fans who fondly remember the franchise’s time in Southern California from 1982 to 1994.
“Bring them back!” the Raiders-fan-heavy crowd chanted.
That sounds like it could very well be possible, based on a report Wednesday by Vic Tafur of the San Francisco Chronicle.
There hasn’t been any progress in talks between the Oakland Raiders and the City of Oakland in recent weeks, according to multiple league and city sources. The Raiders were hoping for a renewed effort on the city’s part after Oakland signed a 10-year lease with the Oakland Athletics earlier this month.
But that hasn’t happened, and Raiders owner Mark Davis is stepping up his efforts to find a new stadium elsewhere. And it appears he has the NFL’s support, according to league sources.
Davis said he hasn’t asked for a 1-year extension on the the Raiders lease at O.co Coliseum — which expires at the end of next season — and has no plans to ask for one.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell recently brought up the idea of the Raiders renting the field at the 49ers’ new stadium in Santa Clara, and while Davis is opposed to that idea, he seems to be looking for other places to play in 2015.
Davis, son of Al Davis, has said that “we continue to try to get something done in Oakland,” but those comments came in a Chronicle report that detailed Davis’s visit to San Antonio last month. City officials “quietly and feverishly prepared for his arrival, updated an NFL relocation study and war-gamed a potential move by the NFL team to Texas,” Josh Baugh and Tom Orsborn reported.
Nevertheless, “LA has been and remains the most likely eventual destination for the Raiders,” Tim Kawakami wrote for the San Jose Mercury News on Wednesday.
Adding fuel to that fire was the presence in Oxnard of Hollywood power player Michael Ovitz, who joined Davis and Jerry Jones while they were speaking to reporters on Tuesday. Ovitz has formulated plans to build a stadium in downtown Los Angeles that could conceivably house two NFL teams — the San Diego Chargers and St. Louis Rams are the other teams who could move — and Jones gushed about the proposed arena on Tuesday.
But as Jason La Canfora reported Tuesday, any Raiders franchise in Los Angeles might not have the Davis family involved with it.
“The NFL, however, would prefer to give another ownership group the rights to Los Angeles — make no mistake, the road to LA goes through the league office in New York — as the Davis family already pulled out of Southern California once, and Davis doesn’t have the real estate, marketing and overall business expertise the league would demand for the coveted market,” La Canfora wrote.
Jones, of course, wants nothing to do with a team relocating to Texas and thus possibly stealing his team’s thunder, so his boosterism for a team or teams in Los Angeles is easily explainable. But still, Jones has the ears of the league’s other owners, and his voice likely will carry great weight.