The stadium-building playbook usually involves a team owner using leverage at various points to coax a compromise out of the public officials on the other side of the table. Raiders owner Mark Davis employed this tactic three months ago he openly complained about a lack of urgency on Oakland’s part, even though Davis has done little lifting on his own in the local effort.
At the conclusion of A’s lease extension talks, JPA Board President Nate Miley said that talks had started with the Raiders for a short-term extension, presumably to allow for more time to flesh out Coliseum City. Those talks appear to have gone sideways, as Davis said today that he has no plans to extend after the end of this season. I had earlier reported that there may be an option, but the lease is only for the NFL’s 2014 season, plus the playoffs stretching into 2015 if that occurs.
Meanwhile, Davis has been pallin’ around with Jerry Jones, Magic Johnson, and others in Oxnard this week as the Raiders and Cowboys have held joint practices. Magic waxed nostalgically about Michael Ovitz’s plan to re-do the LA Memorial Coliseum. Jones gave Davis his support, no doubt with the idea that a Raiders move to LA means that the team won’t encroach upon Texas (San Antonio to be specific). There’s no shortage of media willing to buy the LA move plan, from CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora to the BANG’s Tim Kawakami.
LA still remains a tough proposition, because of the lack of consensus on a site and the NFL’s own agenda, which may have roadblocks for Davis on the way south. It should be crystal clear, though, that most of the problems with LA can be solved with money, and when it comes time to decide, there are more than enough people there to write the checks.
For the Raiders it comes down to following the rules. The NFL’s guidelines dictate that all teams looking to leave have to give their current city at least a year of good faith negotiations before turning elsewhere. By having involvement in Coliseum City, Davis has done that. Then there’s the brief window that all NFL teams have to notify the league that they intend to move to another market. That doesn’t happen until after the season ends. Assuming that Coliseum City doesn’t get finalized in the next six months, Davis will probably provide notice.
Knowing how the JPA reacted to Lew Wolff’s and MLB’s threat to relocate the A’s, Oakland could easily go into another panic mode. That’s the plan, the playbook. For better or worse, Coliseum City is Oakland’s playbook.