Oakland: Raider Nation without a home

- As the glow from the Super Bowl starts to recede, the fate of the Raiders is coming back into focus.

The team is expected to play in Oakland this fall, but if that’s reality is anyone’s guess.

If the City of Oakland and the Raiders could find the dollars to equal the delirium their fans bring for the team there would be no issue in funding a new stadium, but passion is not the problem and progress has come at a glacial pace. There are however, indications that most of the parties involved realize there is one location that makes the most sense.

Right now the Raiders are exclusively focused on the Coliseum site. That is one of the best locations in sports, says Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf.

Once all parties agree on a site, concrete progress could begin, but the distractions, like Mark Davis jaunting off to Las Vegas or speaking about San Antonio, to the media, has to stop.

Getting the Raiders to agree to the current site doesn’t necessarily mean they have to build a new stadium on it. Long-time Bay Area sports executive Andy Dolich says he feels the city and the team could do a remodel.

Dolich cites the re-modeled Oracle Arena for the Golden State Warriors as an example. “The Raiders know that the DNA of their marketplace is here,” says Dolich.

A Coliseum makeover is one option, but let’s say that gets nixed and it’s decided a brand-new stadium is needed. That’s where the nagging question of who pays for it keeps coming up.

“We don’t live in the world of miracles. We live in the world of green and that’s the fluid that flows through the veins of the NFL,” says Dolich.

If the financial hurdles are cleared, a new stadium could be built (it doesn’t need to be a Jerry Jones like palace; Mark Davis himself has said that).

Raiders fans are on board with what you might call a blue-collar like facility.

“We don’t need all the frills, all the bells. We want our own stadium though, because we’re the only two-team stadium left between baseball and football,” says Grizz Jones, Raider fan and Forever Oakland founder.

Former Raiders CEO Amy Trask, an astute follower of NFL activities calls for a stadium “paradigm shift” and would like to see a “modern-era” 40,000 seat stadium built on the current Coliseum site.

The hope is that this prototype stadium would be completed for under $1 billion, even though that’s less than any of the last 5-stadium projects for the NFL.

The league has offered to put in $100 million and a $200 million loan to the Raiders if they stay in Oakland. Mayor Schaaf, who has long insisted she’d keep taxpayer funds out of the picture, remains optimistic all masters can be served.

“Mark Davis has consistently said that his highest priority is staying in Oakland. He knows this is where his loyal fans are. This is where the legacy of that team is. I know that the decision by the NFL was disappointing for him. I recognize that he’s frustrated and needs a little bit of time to regroup and think of the next step for the Raiders,” says Schaaf.

Clearly there is no easy solution to keep the Raiders in Oakland, but there are many moving parts including; the Oakland A’s, the taxpaying fans and of course the NFL. Any project, no matter how simple or complex has to start with a first step. As of yet, no one seems willing to make that initial stride.

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