SAN FRANCISCO – Former 49ers President Carmen Policy is still competing against the Rams, but now his role is as an ally of the Raiders franchise.
During his time with the 49ers through five Super Bowl titles, Policy measured his success with wins and losses. Once again, his success in his role to bring the NFL back to the Los Angeles market will be easily defined.
“My job is to present Carson as the best-possible alternative,” Policy said. “So I’d say we are not successful if the NFL decides not to go to Carson.”
The Raiders and Chargers hired Policy to act as the front man in the effort to get NFL approval for a two-team stadium in Carson. On Tuesday, on the first day of the owners meetings at the Ritz-Carlton, Policy announced the land for the stadium has been secured.
“You can start moving dirt around there and finish what limited remediation there is this summer,” Policy said. “You could literally, if you had the plans in place, start construction right after January. . . No voter-approval is necessary-- no further legislative process from either state or local officials. It’s ready to go.”
While a couple dozen protesters intent on seeing the Raiders remain in Oakland and the Chargers stay in San Diego voiced their disapproval a short distance away, Policy said he is remaining removed from the teams’ dealings with their local markets.
“I’m not going to say anything to the people of Oakland or to the people of San Diego,” Policy said. “Part of the deal I made with these two teams is I would not talk to or deal with their situations in their local markets. They’re dealing with those situations. They’re trying to get a stadium done. Whether or not they can do it remains to be seen, I’m only focusing on Carson.”
Policy said he would be responsible for orchestrating the next move, likely to be a formal presentation to the NFL owners in June. He will establish an office in the Los Angeles area and work closely with Goldman Sachs on the financing of the possible stadium.
Rams owner Stan Kroenke is also in competition to move his team to L.A. market after unveiling a stadium plan for Inglewood. Policy is clearly in competition with the Rams for the market, but he said he is focused only on getting everything ready to go in Carson, where 180 acres have been secured.
“All I’m trying to do is develop the Carson site so it becomes an alternative for these two teams that have not been able to put a project in place – or even close to being in place – in their respective markets.,” Policy said.
And while Raiders owner Mark Davis said he continues to focus on getting a financing deal in place with Oakland, it is Policy’s job to make sure there’s progress in Carson.
“They’ve been going along a parallel path for a while now,” Policy said. “They’re saying they can’t let this opportunity to pass by because there’s going to be a decision and there’s going to be a decision much sooner rather than later as to the L.A. market.
“If something cannot be done in their home markets, they are not going to be left standing . They are not going to be left standing in the cold as the L.A. situation unfolds.”
Davis declined to say why Policy was tabbed to lead the stadium effort in Carson, but Policy had some ideas why he was the logical choice.
"They felt I understood how the league worked," Policy said. "I was on so many committees for all my involvement with the National Football League, both with the San Francisco 49ers and the Cleveland Browns. I know the way it works in the room. I know what they’re looking for. I know what has to be done. I do think you need some consolidation in terms of effort to make sure you’re speaking with one voice. And that’s why they picked me."
The irony is that now Policy is working with the Raiders after battling for years with the late Al Davis.
"It’s a new generation," Policy said. "I think it’s a whole new set of opportunities and challenges. And I’ve enjoyed my interaction with Mark Davis. It’s not only been interesting but productive."