The Raiders will have a new home next season as the city of Oakland has filed a federal lawsuit against the team and the NFL. That rules out a return to their home city for 2019. While the Raiders will move to Las Vegas permanently in 2020, that reportedly isn’t an option for 2019. With that in mind, there’s only one city the franchise should pursue for a one-year stay: San Diego.
Yes, “America’s Finest City” is in the best position to give the Raiders a temporary home. While it’s not a viable long-term structure, a minimal investment from the Raiders could make SDCCU Stadium (formerly Qualcomm) a serviceable venue for a season. There are already Raiders fans in San Diego, and an enormous collection of them are just up the road in Los Angeles.
It also isn’t a long ride from Vegas to San Diego if some of the team’s future home fans were interested in checking out a few games before the move. The Raiders could get creative and offer ticket packages that included airfare and hotel accommodations on the cheap to drum up interest.
In addition to those advantages, San Diego has three major universities that could provide the space for a temporary practice and team facility. There is also a massive, 155-acre Olympic training center in Chula Vista that could probably make room. An outside-the-box idea would have the Raiders keeping their current facility while making a quick flight south for games.
Then there’s this: Fans in San Diego are so furious at the NFL and the Los Angeles Chargers that they’d show up in droves just to stick it to the league and franchise that rejected them. Oh, and could you imagine the scene if the Chargers had to play against their main rival in San Diego as the visiting team? The NFL loves compelling, human drama and I legitimately can’t think of a better plot right now.
I’m not the only one who thinks this would be a perfect marriage:
While this all makes too much sense not to happen, here’s where I throw some cold water on it. Dean Spanos and his idiot sons would fight tooth and nail to prevent it. The Spanos clan believes they own San Diego and will never let another team relocate there, even for one season. They’re obsessed with their former city and can’t understand why the its residents can’t stand them. They just don’t get it.
When you talk to people within the Chargers organization they’ll tell you Dean and his sons are convinced San Diegans will eventually come around and support the franchise again. In other words, they’re delusional.
Despite all their talk of being all-in on LA, the Spanos family wants and needs San Diego to support the Chargers. Raiders owner Mark Davis is keenly aware of that fact, but he’s also aware the city is begging for an alternative. He could pick up a ton of fans by giving the city one more year of NFL football.
Many believe commissioner Roger Goodell would protect Spanos by blocking a temporary move to San Diego by the Raiders. He’d spin it as protecting both LA teams, but I think it’s fair to say Rams owner Stan Kroenke wouldn’t care about the Silver and Black going to San Diego for a year. Kroenke is dominating LA with virtually no competition from the Chargers and he knows it. He’d probably love watching Davis and Spanos fight over San Diego while he reigns supreme over the nation’s second-biggest market.
Let’s be real, what could he Goodell realistically do if Davis just announced a temporary move to San Diego? If he claimed it was the only thing that made financial sense for his franchise, there’s not a whole lot the league could say to him. Unless the other owners wanted to help subsidize a one-year move elsewhere, Davis could probably just force whatever he wanted.
The city makes too much sense. It’s certainly a better fit than San Antonio, Phoenix, Seattle, Portland or St. Louis. I know, I know, if something makes sense the NFL will almost certainly not follow through with it. Let’s remember, this is a passing-heavy league that still can’t clearly tell its fans what a “catch” is.
Davis should finally prove that he’s his father’s son and pull a power move. He should go right at the throat of a rival and book a long vacation for his franchise in San Diego. After all, the only reason the Raiders aren’t currently in LA is because Dean Spanos wormed his way into the market. I think it’s time for a little payback.