Issue: Attendance and stadium renovations
If there was another Davis running the show, this might just read as a detailed plan for the Raiders' move back to Los Angeles. There might even be a joke about whether some uneaten Razzles or unopened cans of Crystal Pepsi are still in their old room after they left it in 1995.
But with far kinder owner Mark Davis running the show, it's just a depressing story about the Raiders' awful O.co Coliseum. That name is the least of its troubles, as there are only three stadiums in the NFL older than the 1966-vintage Coliseum. San Francisco's Candlestick Park, which was built in 1960, is being vacated by the 49ers after this season. Chicago's Soldier Field bears almost no resemblance to the stadium built in 1924 after getting a facelift in 2003 that makes it appear as if a spacecraft landed in it. The Green Bay Packers' Lambeau Field, meanwhile, is the cathedral of the game that's been renovated several times since opening in 1957 and was paid for by selling shares of the team, giving a whole bunch of Packers fans and other like-minded Americans a stake in its history.
The Coliseum's age wouldn't be so bad if it wasn't an outright disaster. Its full capacity is 64,000, but it has trouble reaching even a reduced capacity of 53,000. Raiders fans have dealt with dozens of home-game blackouts since the team returned, while the Raiders themselves have to deal with a building in which raw sewage occasionally backs up into the locker rooms.
The Raiders' lease at O.co Coliseum ends this year, and management briefly considered joining the 49ers at their new stadium in Santa Clara and weighed building a stadium in Dublin, Calif. Davis is invested in Oakland, though, and even accepted the 85% attendance threshold for lockouts last year. The team has instead proposed building a 56,500-seat, $800 million stadium in Oakland. It's cheaper than the $1.3 billion stadium the 49ers are building, but the Raiders want $300 million in public funding to get it going.
With baseball's A's still looking for a home while weighing an extended lease at the Coliseum and basketball's Golden State Warriors already planning a move to San Francisco (though that won't take place for several years), Oakland doesn't want to see the Raiders bolt for Los Angeles or some other willing host city. Keeping all three would be costly, but staying in the crumbling Coliseum isn't doing wonders for a team that hasn't had a winning season since 2002, when they lost to Tampa Bay in Super Bowl XXXVII.
The Raiders could benefit from a change of scenery. How far they'll have to travel to get it is anyone's guess.