After January first, the NFL regular season is over and the window for the Raiders to relocate opens. But that’s simply the earliest the window can open. Should the Raiders make the playoffs – which at 10-3 they very likely will – that deadline will be pushed back until they exit the playoffs.
Therefore, if they get a first round bye, the window won’t open until at least two weeks after the season. The same would happen if they played in the wildcard round and won.
The first win they would need to have is this week in San Diego. Should they beat the Chargers on Sunday, they would clinch a playoff spot, pushing the relocation bid window back at least one week.
After that, they would need some help from the Chiefs who currently sit atop the division. Should the Chiefs lose one of their final three and the Raiders win their final three, the Raiders would win the division and take one of the top seeds, giving them a first round bye and guaranteeing that two week extension.
It would also mean they have another home game in Oakland. Each win means another week, stretching out as far as the Super Bowl on February 5, making February 6 the first day they can apply for reinstatement.
Why does this matter? Well, it could give Oakland a bit more time to come up with something (even though an actual NFL vote likely wouldn’t happen until March) . It would also shine a bigger light on the excitement of the rabid and growing fan base in the city and give the NFL owners something to think about when voting on whether to rip their team away from them and out of the nation’s fifth largest market.
Can you imagine Mark Davis holding up the trophy, then coming home to Oakland for the victory parade only to simultaneously announce his intentions to leave the city? Those waves from the victory float would take on a different meaning, wouldn’t they?