In an era where we have seen such feats of architecture as AT&T Stadium (formerly Cowboys Stadium) and the new and improved Giants Stadium at the Meadowlands in New Jersey, Bay Area football fans have been treated to Candlestick Park in San Francisco and the [Insert Name Here] Coliseum in Oakland. While the San Francisco 49ers will be moving to their state-of-the-art stadium in Santa Clara next season, the Oakland Raiders have no such promises when it comes to a new home, let alone whether it will even be here in the Bay.
Following the completion of Marlins Park in Miami last year, the Raiders became the only NFL team that still shares a stadium with an MLB franchise. While some may argue that the infield dirt at the Coliseum provides a unique home field advantage, that sounds more like a convenient excuse to not build a new stadium. For an area that is known for advocating change, the Bay Area seems to be behind the curve when it comes to stadium upgrades.
Built in 1966, the Coliseum ranks as the fourth-oldest NFL stadium still in use, ranking only behind Chicago’s Soldier Field, Green Bay’s Lambeau Field, and Candlestick. While the Raiders’ current roommates, the Oakland A’s, have been in a tussle for years attempting to move to San Jose, it seems like the Raiders haven’t much of any kind of progress. The most logical plan, a shared stadium with the rival Niners, fell through. The lack of progress securing a deal on their own, coupled with several stadium proposals in currently NFL-less Los Angeles, have led to rumors the team could possibly end up moving back to LA.
As reported by the San Francisco Chronicle, owner Mark Davis, along with Oakland and Alameda County officials, met with NFL officials last week to discuss the team’s stadium prospects. With prospects and finances grim as they already are, the Oakland contingent wasn’t done any favors by Mayor Jean Quan – who arrived twenty minutes late.
In a city desperate for something good to happen, you would think the Mayor would show a little more initiative to show the Raiders are a priority, however the onus isn’t solely on Mayor Quan and city leaders to make things happen. It’s time for Raider Nation and the city to work in unison to keep the team here.
Despite less-than-stellar ticket sales, coaching changes, constant futility, and ever-present TV blackouts, the Raider Nation has remained one of the most loyal and respected fan bases in all of pro sports, but as the saying goes, actions speak louder than words. If the Nation needs an example of that, they need to look no further than in the state capital. There is a lot the Nation could learn from the grassroots efforts in Sacramento made by Kings fans as they faced the possibility of their beloved team moving over the last several years. Through rallies, fundraisers, and a united, honest effort with legislators and Mayor Kevin Johnson, the city ultimately succeeded in not only keeping the team, but also securing new ownership and a deal for a new arena.
In 1995, the city of Oakland begged and pleaded like an ex-girlfriend for a second chance with the Raiders. Years later, with the honeymoon period of the reunion having long since expired, here they are again; fighting over the same things they did the first time they split up. If the city doesn’t establish something concrete soon and show they care, the Raiders could be walking out the door again, perhaps for the last time.