Greetings, Raider fans! It is I, Raiderdamus and I am here to tell you why the Raiders being passed over for relocation is good for the team. I have been following the relocation saga with great interest in recent years and yesterday it all came to a head, with the Raiders being the only one of three teams that filed for relocation to be left out of the Los Angeles scene.
Many rabid Raider fans have been campaigning for years, both in cyberspace and meatspace for the Raiders to stay put. This development puts the Raiders one step closer to that goal.
For my first point of argument, please visit the St. Louis Rams blog, Turf Show Times. It is now a wasteland, full of tears and ennui and the wailings of small children who now have nobody to root for except the wretched St. Louis Cardinals. They may as well root for Stalin.
Is this what you want for your city of Oakland? Your city, which has already lost the best basketball team in the world (and possibly of all time) and had the Raiders left would have nothing else but the A's, the cheapest and most profit-hungry baseball team since the 1919 White Sox threw the World Series for a few thousand dollars a player.
The Rams belong in Los Angeles. Their having moved to St. Louis was a blatant cash grab by Georgia Frontiere in the first place. When a team sucks as much as the Rams did in the early nineties, there are going to be hard times, but no team in their right mind moves AWAY from the second largest market in the United States.
The Raiders, however, belong in Oakland. They are the heart and soul of the city, the blue-collar contrast to the more glitzy San Francisco across the Bay. The Raiders get their identity from the City of Oakland and vice versa. You find this principle in other small markets as well, particularly Green Bay and Pittsburgh.
Secondly, this will ensure that the Raiders will have a new stadium somewhere. While it's true that they would have had a new stadium in Los Angeles had the owners approved their move there, I'm sure most of us would prefer they get a new stadium in Oakland.
Had the Raiders moved to Los Angeles, that would have assured that Oakland would never get a football team again so long as it exists.
The NFL's $100 million allocated toward a new stadium might not seem like enough, but it's certainly better than nothing, and it's probably better for Mark Davis than having to pay a relocation fee of $550 million to go somewhere he claims he didn't really want to be in the first place.
Stan Kroenke really wants to be in LA. Dean Spanos also really wants to be in LA. Mark Davis really wants to be in Oakland, and has always been clear on that point. The city's shenanigans and tomfoolery were what forced his hand, and what had forced his father's hand in 1980 when the city refused to make improvements such as luxury boxes to the Oakland Coliseum.
While Mark no longer has the ability to leverage Los Angeles to the city of Oakland, he does have an extra $100 million to show them and won't have the ghastly spectre of the Oakland Coliseum to deal with, as it is clearly not long for this world. Something else must be built, most likely on the Coliseum site. The NFL earmarked that $100 million for a permanent home for the Raiders, and the Coliseum is not that.
While it's true that the city of Oakland has screwed the Raiders around for basically the team's entire history, these are new days coming up. These Raiders are only going to get better, and the NFL is attempting to ensure they get a great place to play.
The city has been under tremendous pressure from Raider Nation to keep the team, and now the eyes of the entire sports media machine will be on it as well to get something done. The political futures of many members of the Oakland city leadership will be riding on this.
Will Oakland be the next Houston and let the Oilers go, or will they be the next Minneapolis, which has built a wonderful new stadium for the Vikings? The fact that Oakland even gets another chance to show it can be the next Minneapolis is a huge win for Oakland fans.
While it's an immutable fact that Mark Davis will have to sell a large chunk of the team to get the rest of the money for a new stadium, there's a strong possibility he would have had to do that anyway. The NFL Owners Club isn't going to let Mark Davis play any reindeer games as long as it's just him, without considerable capital backing him up. They all hated his dad and they don't really know Mark. It's best for the Raiders to get this over with as soon as possible so that they have as much cash as they can get to get a new stadium deal done and get shovels in the ground and finally blow up the Oakland Coliseum once and for all. Rip off that Band-Aid.
As the Rams are about to discover (again), Los Angeles is home to some of the biggest bandwagon, fairweather fans on Earth. Fans who turn their back on a team as soon as it is fashionable to do so. The Raiders have not been fashionable in 13 years, yet the Coliseum still sells out on a regular basis. That's the kind of team free agents want to play for, with fans that come out no matter what. The next time the Rams or Chargers lose three straight, they'll lose their fourth in a half-empty stadium. Lose five straight and they'll be playing in front of ten people and their immediate families. Nobody in Los Angeles is excited to watch Nick Foles play quarterback.
Furthermore, the Raiders in Inglewood would have been playing second-fiddle tenant to Stan Kroenke and the Rams. In Carson they would have had to share with the Chargers which may have had the Raiders moving out of the AFC West, breaking up all the historic rivalries which make Raider history so colorful. Neither of these outcomes were ideal.
The relocation vote going against the Raiders was the best thing that could have happened for them and their fans. Football is preserved for the time being in Oakland, the city has new impetus to get a deal done on a new stadium, and the Raiders avoid a less than stellar parasitic state in Los Angeles. What could go wrong?