It’s looking more and more like the NFL is facing a three-team race back to Los Angeles, with the Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers eying a joint stadium in Carson and the St. Louis Rams pushing their project 14 miles away in Inglewood.
The NFL will support only one of those stadiums, preferably to be the home for two teams. And the league’s 32 owners could vote by the end of the year which two teams go and what stadium they’ll play in.
If so, a number of factors will come into play to determine the two teams who get the golden ticket to the second-biggest market in the county and the winning stadium bid.
Some positive, some negative.
One of the factors the Raiders face is their last go-around in Los Angeles, when an image problem arose thanks to a rowdy element of their fanbase sometimes turning the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum into nasty playground.
And we all know how the Silver and Black color scheme was adopted by local gangs.
After spending time in Oakland recently, I can tell you the Raiders are well aware of the issue and insist they will go above and beyond to address it. In fact, they’ve already begun that process in the Bay Area by reaching out to Oakland fans over the last few years to figure out ways to make their game-day experience more fan friendly, and by implementing a Fan Code of Conduct that they diligently enforce.
The NFL has taken notice, and insists there is no elephant in the room as far as old scouting reports potentially blocking a Raiders move to Los Angeles and by pointing out rowdy stadiums were much more rampant back in the day and hardly exclusive to the Raiders.
I wrote about the issue, which you can read here.
The Raiders believe their brand is iconic as any in professional sports, and that they can stand right alongside L.A. brands like the Lakers, Dodgers and USC football provided they field good teams.
They also understand they have a perception issue to deal with after what happened the last time in Los Angeles. And they are taking steps to address it.