Aug. 11, 2011
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Every now and then, like a particularly predatory cicada, Los Angeles crops up as a quasi-suitable NFL site again, and when it does . . .Yes, its time for Oakland Raider Football. Dont blink. You never know how long it will be there.Our states largest city took a mighty stumble forward . . . oh, about a foot and a half, pretty much . . . toward its dream of stealing two franchises from other parts of the nation this past week, and L.A. being L.A., it declared itself ready for action. With none of the signs of a construction project -- no post holes blasted, no concrete mixed, no bribes paid.But there it is anyway. Los Angeles, ready and willing to prove what it could not (or didnt feel like proving) before -- that it is a two-team NFL market. And the two teams?
San Diego and Oakland. Of course San Diego and Oakland.We should guess that this is a story again on the cusp of the beginning of the Raiders exhibitionpracticenon-vitaltime-wastingmeaning-deprived season. The lads began the Hue Jackson era with a 24-18 loss to Arizona that mostly showed us that: Denarius Moore is going to be regarded as the next Chaz Schilens.
The Raiders are not deep at cornerback.
Sebastian Janikowski will probably keep his job after a 57-yard field goal off the dirt that temporarily gave the boys an 18-17 lead. Ticket sales are going to be a point of emphasis at tomorrow's staff meeting.But back to the bigger picture, hazy though it might be.We don't know that anything is in the works yet for either team, the game of stadium leverage being what it is, but it is a topic again.
And it is a topic with too many loose endings to be reasonably settled now. Construction, money, free-range lawyers, debt financing, ownership issues, long-term bonds, city, county and state governments, cash, other teams, Roger Goodell as the broker, and property taxes . . . it all stands in the way of this latest chimerical master plan.But well say it this way: The Raiders will go to Los Angeles if: The team is sold to someone who wants to put the team in Los Angeles. The Raiders disregard the two-tenant stadium idea. The Raiders cant get a one-tenant stadium going. Los Angeles doesnt try to side-door the Raiders with a different second tenant. The NFL tries to midwife its own deal and is willing to do the legal fight the Raiders would surely promise.And there are about six or seven or 26 other things in play here, but we cant list them all without bleeding out of our eyes.The point remains, though, that having crushed its fan base down to an impenetrable core -- sort of like a sun imploding -- the Raiders are back in play whether they are or not. They need to pick up some level of momentum on the field to rebuild that audience because of the many ways that they have made themselves repellent to the casual ticket-buyer, and that remains Job One.Well, Job Only, to be more specific. L.A. is too far away to throw away any more seasons on coaching uncertainty or booable quarterbacks or any of the other entertainments the Raiders have been better at than winning these past eight years.And while we all enjoy trying to foretell the future five years down the road while knowing maybe one-third of the variables, there really is only the now. Hell, whos to say if Santa Clara falls through that the 49ers wouldnt be interested by Los Angeles?See the problem? Neither of our football teams are standing firm against the vagaries of an uncertain future in a willow economy, and Los Angeles is the only potential leverage either one has.But Los Angeles is far far away, and doing what Los Angeles does best -- talk the talk. When someone is ready to walk, well cast another eye at the Raiders, if only out of habit.Until then . . . its time for Oakland Raider Football, and you know that because Greg Papa has promised to throw an extra 12 Rs into Touchdown Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrraiders. He managed that on Trent Edwards' third quarter touchdown pass to tight end David Ausberry, so he's in shape at least.
Hey, its how he drags himself through practice games. You have to find your own level of passion. But you have plenty of time before you need to begin any tearful vigils.