When the news first broke that Mark Davis was meeting with San Antonio officials about relocation possibilities for the Oakland Raiders I didn't think very much of it. It is very hard to believe that the Raiders would leave California, that would be a deal breaker for a large amount of the fanbase. Even without believing that it would really happen though, it has become an interesting idea to think about.
Don't worry, there won't be any endorsing of the idea to move to San Antonio in this article. There will be an endorsement for the NFL to get a team into San Antonio in general though, that one is a big hell yes from me. The City of San Antonio absolutely should have an NFL team, it just shouldn't be the Raiders.
Back to the Raiders and their stadium though, it is very sad that it is coming down to the wire here. There is a very real chance that they could leave Oakland for good and that would be a heartbreaking experience for many. With the clock counting down to zero every option that Mark Davis has with the Raiders has to be explored, even a possible move to another state.
It is a far cry from visiting with officials and actually agreeing to move to another city though and Oakland is not yet dead in the water. What visiting another city does is it reminds Oakland officials that they are running out of time. This visit turns up the pressure on the City of Oakland to get a deal done. It is known in the business world as leverage and Mark is using all of it that he can find. If he really wanted to move though he wouldn't be bothering with these displays.
Mark Davis probably did not anticipate having to talk much about this visit but the story has gotten big enough that he has had to reply. He claims that it was a visit that happened out of convenience because he was already heading to the city for a celebration of Raiders great Cliff Branch. He says it wasn't even his own idea, a former San Antonio mayor instigated the meeting, and that he definitely does not want to talk about it further.
"I was in San Antonio to honor Cliff Branch on his induction into the PVILCA. Former San Antonio Mayor Henry Cisneros is a friend, and Henry suggested I take the opportunity to meet with some of the city officials while we were in town. I have nothing further to discuss on the topic."
This will probably not be the last time you hear about this story since now San Antonio has officially become an option for the Raiders if they had to move. I don't want it, you probably don't want it, and Mark Davis himself does not want to move there. However, every realistic possibility must be looked at and if nothing else the visit adds some more leverage to them getting what they really want; a new stadium in Oakland.
The other thing this visit does though is put a spotlight on the possibility of San Antonio getting it's own NFL team soon. There wasn't a lot of talk about putting a team there before now, but now the city has officially been out onto the football map.
Maybe that was part of Henry Cisneros' and Mark Davis' plan all along, a quid pro quo if you will. San Antonio gets introduced as a city that would embrace an NFL franchise, and Mark Davis gets more leverage to use with Oakland to get what he wants. That is a win/win if I have ever seen one. If that was the plan all along then it worked on me because thinking about San Antonio as an option for the Raiders made it clear to me that they would be a great spot for an NFL team.
The NBA has already proven that there are plenty of fans to go around in Texas to support another team in the region. The San Antonio Spurs, Dallas Mavericks, and Houston Rockets all easily have large enough fanbases to control their own territories. With Houston and Dallas already having established NFL brands it makes perfect sense for San Antonio to follow their lead.
As much as any large city's population likes the other teams in the state, getting a franchise in their own city would immediately trump that for many fans. San Antonio would happily embrace another professional team, especially if it was an NFL team. What city wouldn't want a franchise of their own in the NFL with the speed with which the sport is growing?
Besides having a population easily large enough to support an NFL team, they also are a city that is known for their love of sports. They are passionate and eccentric about their Spurs, and there is no reason to believe there wouldn't be a similar embrace to a football team there. More evidence of this is seen with the Saints after Hurricane Katrina when they played 3 games in the Alamodome. The NFL fans in San Antonio showed up big time for their visiting home team during that tragic time.
After the news hit that the Raiders were even entertaining the idea to move to San Antonio you knew that a Jerry Jones soundbite on it would be short to follow. First Jerry thought that the reporter was joking with him, but then he answered that "97, 98, 99%" of San Antonio NFL fans were dedicated Cowboys fans. Remember, there already is a 2nd team in Texas while Jerry Jones is making that estimation.
The owner of the 2nd team in Texas, sometimes referred to as the Houston Texans, is Bob McNair. His opinion of this situation might just be a little bit important too. Besides having his fanbase affected by a team being brought to San Antonio, he also is the Chairman of the Finance Committee which would have to approve the move. He casually reminded everybody of his Finance Committee status after saying he wouldn't vote against the Raiders moving there on the basis of it being in San Antonio.
"We'll have to see what those options (for the Raiders to get a new stadium) are as this plays out, but they do need a new stadium," Bob McNair told the Houston Chroncle.
"If San Antonio ends up being the best option, I wouldn't oppose it just because it's San Antonio. The finance committee would have to approve a move, and I'm chairman of the finance committee."
He did also make a similar comment as Jerry Jones about the San Antonio fanbase though. He claimed that if San Antonio were to have an NFL team that half of the fans (in the stands) would really be fans of the Texans. Not as drastic as claiming up to 99% of the city as fans of your team, but it is still a similar overestimation of his own team's popularity.
I have nothing in particular against Bob McNair and Jerry Jones is always saying something off the wall, but I would still thoroughly enjoy seeing them eat crow if a team was put in San Antonio. That is of course assuming that the team that goes to San Antonio is not the Oakland Raiders though.