Number of blackouts in 2012:
By Raiders standards, having only one home game blackout blackout in a season borders on miraculous.
The Raiders' O.co Coliseum is absolutely awful, as fans and the team can attest. There are only three stadiums in the NFL older than the 1966-vintage Coliseum. San Francisco's Candlestick Park, 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. 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.
The Coliseum's age wouldn't be so bad if it wasn't an outright disaster. Its full capacity is 64,000, but 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
occasionally backs up into the locker rooms.
Blackouts have been a fairly standard affair since the team returned from Los Angeles in the mid-1990s, and even kindly owner Mark Davis has a tough time putting a positive spin on the state of things. He's invested in Oakland and even accepted the 85% attendance threshold for lockouts, but his team hasn't had a winning season since 2002, when they lost to Tampa Bay in Super Bowl XXXVII.
The team has instead proposed building a new
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 considering a move to San Jose and basketball's Golden State Warriors already planning a move to San Francisco, Oakland doesn't want to see the Raiders bolt for Los Angeles or some other willing host city. But it also hasn't secured funding for its proposed sports complex at a time lenders are loath to shell out for such projects.
Fans will endure a little more misery if it's clear there's a payoff waiting. With former quarterback Carson Palmer taking snaps in Arizona, career backups Matt Flynn and Terrelle Pryor fighting for the job and Darren McFadden still trying to prove he's not one of the most fragile running backs in the game, fans might be better off rooting for a new stadium.