If the Rams return to Los Angeles is a done deal, the fate of the Raiders and the Chargers remains uncertain. Will they stay put? Will either one share a stadium with the Rams? Or will they seek greener pastures elsewhere?
After months of speculation, the Head Honchos of the National Football League have spoken. The Rams are heading back to Los Angeles, the city they abandoned in 1995. The Rams played in Greater Los Angeles from 1946 to 1994. They played in Cleveland from 1936 to 1945.
The good news about the Rams moving back to Los Angeles is that the move will not require a realignment of the National Football League.
Despite the move from St. Louis back to Southern California, the Rams will remain in the National Conference West along with the Arizona Cardinals, the San Francisco 49ers, and the Seattle Seahawks.
And there’s more good news: the traditional rivalry between Los Angeles and San Francisco will be revived.
Oakland and San Diego will remain hosts of the Raiders and the Chargers for at least another NFL season. Both cities have been given breathing room.
They now have another year to get their respective acts together if they want to hang on to their teams.
Or do they?
Writing on the Wall
Apparently seeing the writing on the wall, the Raiders withdrew their bid to move to Los Angeles at the last minute.
Does that mean they will redouble efforts to work out a deal with Oakland? Or will they revive threats to move to San Antonio or Portland?
And what about St. Louis? That city has expressed a willingness to build a US$1.1 billion riverfront stadium in the shadows of the iconic Gateway Arch. Would the Raiders consider moving there?
The Chargers, meanwhile, have been given the green light to join the Rams at a state-of-the-art stadium, which will be built in the Los Angeles suburb of Inglewood.
Will the Chargers take the bite or can a deal be struck to keep the Bolts bolted to America’s Finest City?
The View from Baja Oakland
If the Chargers do move to La La Town, would the Raiders consider a move to San Diego, which some Raider fans refer to as “Baja Oakland” because of the massive number of Raider fans there?
When the Oakland Raiders play the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium, it’s the Raiders that have the home field advantage.
Tiffany Baxter, Official Accidental Travel Writer Correspondent for San Diego, hopes that the Raiders stay in Oakland.
As a Raiders fan, however, she would still feel sad to see the Chargers bolt for another town.
First of all, it would be bad for the economy as people will lose their jobs, and money that would normally come to San Diego will go to another city.
Worst of all, Tiffany says, she won’t be able to “watch my Raiders come to San Diego plus the tailgating and the blacking out of the stadium”.
What’s Wrong with the Coliseum?
Mike Sommers, Co-founder of the Raiders Fan Convention, is upbeat about the news. He thinks the US$100 million Oakland gets should be put toward refurbishing the Oakland Coliseum, which has been plagued by faulty plumbing and wiring.
“Do you some repairs to the one we have now and leave it alone, keep ticket prices fair, put a winning team on the field, and have sellouts to make money,” Mike posted on Facebook.
“Or take the money and pay off that damn loan.”
As Mike points out, the Oakland Coliseum is close to an airport, there is public transportation, it is altogether a great spot.
What’s more, if a new stadium were built, there probably would not be a Black Hole close to the football field at the end zone.
It might be 35 feet up in the air like in San Diego, and everyone would “be pissed”, he says.
And a new stadium would inevitably drive ticket prices up to astronomical levels. Look at what happened in Santa Clara!
According to Statistca.com, the average ticket price for the San Francisco 49ers at Levi’s Stadium is US$117, the 3rd highest in the NFL after the New York Giants and the New England Patriots.
The average ticket price for Oakland Raiders games at the dilapidated Oakland Coliseum, meanwhile, is just US$65, the 4th lowest in the league.
“What if the tickets went up to US$250 each for nosebleeds?” Mike asks. “Forget it! Keep the stadium we have!”
Chris Stashik, Official Accidental Travel Writer for Greater Los Angeles and the Central Valley, is not happy with the news. As she points out, Oakland is the only team that has to share a stadium with a baseball team.
“Oakland is bankrupt; even with 100 million dollars from the NFL, I don’t think it’s going to get done,” Chris says.
“They were talking about this giant complex in Oakland with restaurants and shopping. Well, people that go to Oakland go to tailgate, not to eat in restaurants. People will continue to go to Ricky’s and the Hilton sports bar the night before the games.”
As for the location?
“It’s in the middle of an industrial area,” Chris points out.
“[Dallas Cowboy owner] Jerry Jones is dirty, but he got what he wanted. I think San Diego will try to keep the Chargers with US$100 million from the NFL. Even if the Raiders came back to Los Angeles, the Rams should have been the last team to come. Wonder what Jerry Jones gets out of this? In my opinion Jerry Jones is dirty.”
On-going Soap Opera
According Mike Smallwood, Official Accidental Travel Writer Correspondent for Arizona, Raider fans in Northern California and Southern California initially heard what they wanted to hear, and in both cases, it was in their own favour.
“By the time I got off work and listened to the press conference MYSELF, the ONLY thing I heard for sure was that the Rams were going back to Anaheim,” Mike says.
“THAT’S IT!!! Unfortunately, we could be up to 2 years away from a final decision for the Raiders.”
Mike’s right. This on-going soap opera has yet to be cancelled. It will run for at least another season – if not 2.