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Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis plays NFL 'Game of Thrones' well

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Four months after Oakland Raiders Mark Davis was blocked out of L.A., he's masterfully leveraged multiple potential stadium options.

Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis has several relocation options.
Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis has several relocation options.
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis may forever operate in the shadow of his iconic father, but he appears to have a gamesmanship all his own.

In January, Davis attempted to return the Raiders to Los Angeles, brokering a joint venture with AFC West rival San Diego Chargers — a  two-team stadium in Carson. But rather than the other owners backing either the Raiders-Chargers proposal or the Rams', a Jerry Jones-led faction froze Davis out.

A seemingly frustrated Davis emerged from the meetings, announcing that, "We came in third."

The Chargers and Rams were in, the Raiders out.

With that result in hand, San Diego franchise owner Alex Spanos seemed pleased they'd been invited to join the Rams in the City of Angels. However, when speculation surfaced that Davis would be open to moving to a potential stadium in downtown San Diego, Spanos wasn't smiling any longer.

For Davis' part, why not trek south. The Chargers were turning down more than the Raiders hoped to get in Oakland. Frankly, plenty of contests played at Qualcomm Stadium were like home games for the Silver and Black anyway.

These days, Spanos understands full well the younger Davis-led Raiders could usurp his fan base, and slice an even bigger piece of the total Cali pie should he vacate the West Coast city.

To date, the Chargers have not fully committed to the L.A. deal and continue to negotiate with San Diego.

Amidst this NFL version of Game of Thrones, Davis left San Antonio on the board and recently pressed hard to broker a Las Vegas deal. The result has been several owners rallying around Davis with their self interest in mind.

Understandably, the Cowboys owner and Texans owner Bob McNair would prefer to keep the Raiders out of their market. As the old saying goes, two's company, but a dragon will eat you. Or something like that.

Suddenly, the gambling capital of the nation looks more appealing to the owners club, particularly to those in California and Texas. Jones in particular, who played a critical role in thwarting Davis' move to the City of Angels, now appears to be whole heartedly backing his City of Sin relocation.

It's no mystery that the Raiders bad boy image would play very well in Vegas and could spike league revenue and further deepen everyone's war chests.

Partnering in a proposed $1.5 billion state-of-the-art stadium would add value to the NFL, the franchise and owners opposed to legalized gambling now see the "entertainment value" outweighing that issue, at least according to Jones.

Let's face it, NFL owners conduct business like Tyrion Lannister -- Money comes first. They're billionaires for a reason.

So four months later, Davis, who "came in third," appears to be driving the game on multiple fronts. He could seemingly end up in L.A., the long-held desire of his legendary father or burst open a new market, further augmenting the Raider Nation empire.

One has to wonder if the son of the great Al Davis may be the chess master of the family. He appears to have the league in check.