Goodell: Raiders want ‘to continue to be in Bay Area’ in 2019
Did NFL commissioner Roger Goodell put the Raiders one step closer to remaining in the Bay Area for the 2019 season?
At his annual Super Bowl week press conference Wednesday, Goodell addressed a question about where the Raiders would play their home games this season by concluding “I think the hope of Mark (Davis) is to continue to be in the Bay Area with Raider fans.”
The Raiders pulled out of lease negotiations when the club and NFL was sued by the city of Oakland over the team’s move to Las Vegas, scheduled for 2020.
Raiders owner Mark Davis, reached by phone, said he hadn’t heard Goodell’s comments but doubted they represented anything new regarding this season’s home site.
“I stand by what I’ve said in the past,” Davis said. “I’ve been absolutely consistent. I want to stay in the Bay Area, but we’re looking at all options. I haven’t changed my mind.”
The three Bay Area options would be to return to the Coliseum or play at either Oracle Park (formerly AT&T Park) with the San Francisco Giants as host or at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara with the San Francisco 49ers as host.
Davis has said in the past he’d be reluctant to pay rent to a city that is suing the franchise, reasoning he would essentially be paying for the lawsuit. But he also has spoken of putting emotion aside before reaching a decision.
Playing in Oakland, San Francisco and Santa Clara would enable the Raiders to carry on a normal NFL season at their home practice facility in Alameda. Rumored potential destinations such as Tucson, Arizona, San Diego or even London have logistical obstacles which would mean heavy travel. The Raiders are scheduled to play their “home” game against the Chicago Bears and former teammate Khalil Mack in London in 2019.
“Many of those issues are obviously issues are taking a lead on, they have been having discussions with officials, looking at their options, making sure they evaluate that,” Goodell said. “It’s unfortunate that litigate was filed prior to their final season in Oakland, but that’s a reality. But it was filed by the city.
“Hopefully they’ll get a resolution soon. As far as timing, they thing on the timing is our schedule. We need to make a schedule obviously fro the 2019 season and the sooner, the better.”
Goodell said previously he hoped to to have a resolution by early February. The NFL schedule is typically released in early or mid-April.
Raiders coach Jon Gruden, who would like as little disruption to the season as possible, is on record as saying he hopes the team plays in Oakland in 2019.
When the Raiders returned to Oakland in 1995, they played their home games at the Coliseum but remained in El Segundo during the week at their practice facility, which was a renovated middle school. They moved into their present facility in 1996.
The facility was upgraded with a new performance center when Jack Del Rio was hired as coach in 2015.