SAN FRANCISCO -– NFL commissioner Roger Goodell put some heat on East Bay efforts to keep the Raiders in Oakland on Wednesday afternoon at the NFL owners meetings.
Those were just words.
An expected rule change discussed that morning could have a greater impact.
NFL owners seem prepared to shorten the relocation window and move it into the latter portions of the 2015 regular season. The window, typically set for Jan. 1-Feb.15, will also likely be shortened to less than the standard six weeks.
That alteration was discussed during the owners meetings, which concluded Wednesday at the Ritz-Carlton hotel.
Appropriate question in this market: How will an updated timeline impact Oakland’s stadium efforts?
The pressure was already on. This turns the vise a little bit more.
A pair of privately financed, fast-tracked stadium proposals in L.A. The Rams have one in Inglewood; the Chargers and Raiders have one in Carson. The faster these teams can move to L.A, the less time home markets have to get things together.
“The timeline may rush them,” Raiders owner Mark Davis said.
The pressure presents trouble for the Oakland effort, which NFL executive VP and L.A. relocation frontman Eric Grubman has said is going backwards.
“It’s very simple,” Grubman said. “I don’t mean to make light of it, but I’ve been to Oakland several times over the past four or five years, and each time I’ve gone there I’ve heard the promise is right around the corner of a great master development of that parcel that will include substantial proceeds from a developer, or multiple-party developers.
“I’ve heard that for three or four years and it hasn’t been produced. We now have lost all that time. The timeline has shrunk and no results have been produced. That, to me, is going backwards. The timeline has shrunk but the probability (of producing a viable stadium proposal) hasn’t gone up.”
Grubman declined comment on a one-hour Wednesday morning meeting where teams with eyes on L.A. updated efforts in their home markets.
June 21 is a big date for an East Bay stadium. That’s when a market feasibility study and a development schedule should be delivered. Per Bay Area News Group, Aug. 21 maybe even bigger. That's when a financing plan is due. Even still, what would be the start of a longer negotiation and, at this stage, every day counts.
Despite political efforts to the contrary, it’s entirely possible that the Raiders could request relocation before season’s end. Their last home game is a Dec. 24 affair against the Chargers.
There’s been a lot of doom and gloom surrounding Oakland stadium efforts, which is exactly what the NFL wants. The league stated priority is to keep teams put, but those efforts don’t last forever.
“I feel like our responsibilities are discharged by giving the home markets the best possible chance to put up a proposal that allows them to keep their team,” Grubman said. “It’s important to the league and the fans. At the same time, you have to recognize that things just can’t get done. It’s incumbent on all of us to help a club that doesn’t want to fall behind the rest of the league.
“My best outcome is to produce proposals in home markets that compete with L.A. and give the owners a chance to vote and make their best judgment.”