It used to be an almost annual ritual for the Raiders and 49ers to play in the preseason game. They would alternate playing in each other's stadiums each year and the fans would enjoy the rivalry and the bragging rights from the victory. That all ended two seasons ago with several violent incidents between fans at Candlestick Park following the two teams' preseason game.
Since then, the league suspended preseason match-ups between the cross bay rivals indefinitely. The Raiders and 49ers have also both seen the sons of their former owners take over the team and a resulting shift in philosophy. Now 49ers and Raiders have been in discussions about scrimmaging during training camp.
"We are talking to the Raiders now about potentially doing some things in training camp," 49ers CEO Jed York said on Bay Area radio station 95.7 The Game. "And hopefully, obviously you have two teams that are right here, right next to each other, I think both teams can get a lot of benefits from doing things together, during training camp. There are a lot of things that we can do together and I think we will do together just because of proximity.
"Just scrimmage together. It's nice to hit somebody that's not wearing your own uniform, and it's nice to get more work from your first team going against somebody else's first team and the twos and the threes and something like that and being able to do more work with your guys and being able to do split squads instead of having your guys go against your guys. I think you can get more out of doing something with another team."
The idea of the Raiders and 49ers scrimmaging is not new. They scrimmaged in camp back in 2010 under then head coach, Tom Cable. The difference here is the discussion now is involving the idea that this event be open to the public and placed in one of each team's historic former playing fields.
"I don't know if we'll ever be able to get them done, but if we're not playing a preseason game because the NFL didn't schedule us to play a game, there's nothing that says we can't do a scrimmage with each other and go to Kezar where the 49ers originally started playing in the Bay Area, go to (Frank) Youell Field and do something there, do something that's more fan oriented that you can do together where you can still be part of the community. Your football aspects, which is obviously first and foremost for both organizations, that comes first and you want to make sure your players are taken care of, your players are safe, your players are healthy, they get a lot of work and they get something out of going against each other."
This is an idea the York presented last off-season but at the time the Raiders new regime was fairly new and had much bigger fish to fry than trying to organize a public scrimmage. Now, it seems the idea is coming closer to a reality.
We already knew the Raiders were looking to scrimmage with another team because the idea of scrimmaging with the Saints before the two teams play in the preseason this year was discussed between Dennis Allen and Saints head coach, Sean Payton. The discussion occurred mainly because Allen was a position coach with the Saints under Payton three seasons ago. Ultimately, Allen said that arrangement won't work out but the 49ers and Raiders is far more convenient and therefore makes a great deal more sense. It would also be a tremendous thing for the fans.
If it happens, you can count on there being a LOT of security.