For the third time in four years there will be one less Raiders ‘home’ game played in Oakland. Those games are played internationally instead. The first game went to London in 2014, then Mexico City last season, where they will return to play again this season.
Many fans who purchase season tickets to see their team play in Oakland have not been too happy about having a game taken from them. Many of those fans lash out at the NFL for their longstanding belief the league is out to get the Raiders. But their anger is misdirected.
Sure, the NFL does make the rounds of teams and select some to lose a home game to an international game. But for a team to lose a home game three out of four years, that would have to be something the team agrees to.
With this game against the Patriots next season, the Raiders will be tied with the Jaguars and Rams for the most international home games played in the past ten years and the Raiders are the only team to have played home games internationally in three of the past four.
The Jaguars have signed a deal to play a home game at Wembley Stadium in London thru 2020. The Rams played in the old LA Memorial Coliseum last season when they opted into the game in London and are opting for one less game in LA for a trip to London again next season. Both teams opted into one fewer game in their home city.
With the Raiders playing in an aged, dilapidated stadium and Mark Davis actively seeking a new stadium in Las Vegas, he is very open to the team playing one of its home games elsewhere. If he wasn’t, the NFL would have no justification to force the Raiders to give up a home game nearly every season.
While the Raiders, Rams, and Jaguars are jet setting to London and Mexico City respectively, there are currently 7 NFL teams that have never played a regular season game outside the US -- the Baltimore Ravens, Carolina Panthers, Cleveland Browns, Green Bay Packers, Philadelphia Eagles, Seattle Seahawks and Tennessee Titans. The Ravens and Browns will play their first international games next season when both teams head to London.
Even after next season, there will still be 17 NFL cities that have never lost a single home game internationally. That includes New England, whose Patriots will be the visiting team against the Raiders in Mexico City.
You really think the Patriots are going to agree to having a home game taken from Foxborough? Not if Robert Kraft has anything to say about it. And certainly not with owners like Mark Davis jumping at the chance to move a ‘home’ game away from their actual home city.