As Raiders eye future home, struggles at their current one continue

Given the Raiders are already halfway to Las Vegas, perhaps they shouldn’t stop there. Keep going until they reach the Eastern time zone. That’s where they have the most success.

Certainly not at the Oakland Coliseum, that aging concrete massif that on Sunday afternoon following a few hours of driving rain looked like an extension of nearby San Francisco Bay. Multiple areas of the stadium were flooded, and then the Raiders received a 26-10 soaking courtesy of the Kansas City Chiefs.

It’s a curious phenomenon the Raiders are experiencing these days. They’re a better outfit on the road than in the place owner Mark Davis so desperately wants to bolt.

The Raiders are a better outfit on the road than in the place owner Mark Davis so desperately wants to bolt.

The Raiders’ 4-2 record is built largely on road triumphs at Baltimore, Tennessee and New Orleans. At home, where players run onto the field for pregame intros beneath a flame-shooting gate with AC/DC blaring, they’re a mere 1-2.

“It sucks,” said Derek Carr, the third-year quarterback out of Fresno State. “When you come home, that has to be an advantage.”

This isn’t exactly a new development. Under second-year coach Jack Del Rio the Raiders are 4-7 at the Coliseum compared to 7-4 on the road. They’ve gone 3-5 at home each the past five seasons and haven’t posted a winning record in front of their own fans since 2002.

Of course, most of those teams were lousy. These Raiders, the ones of Carr, Amari Cooper and Khalil Mack, are purported to be one of the NFL’s up-and-comers.

That’s the narrative, right?

It’ll be short-lived if the Raiders keep letting opponents march into their own stadium and act like their name is on the deed.

When we come home, we have the best fans. We should be able to have the biggest home-field advantage and go out there and dominate.

Derek Carr

“There’s got to be something where it’s a just different feel – it has to be. We have yet to create that,” Carr said.

“It’s frustrating. When we come home, we have the best fans. We should be able to have the biggest home-field advantage and go out there and dominate. But we haven’t created that yet. It’s frustrating, but it’s not concerning.”

Certainly Raiders fans aren’t to blame. Despite last week’s news that the Nevada Legislature passed a bill to pony up $750 million toward construction of a new $1.9 billion stadium in Las Vegas, they still turned out – in less-than-ideal conditions. (Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval signed the bill into law Monday.)

Still, you have to wonder how their owner’s wandering eyes have affected his team’s inability to win on its erstwhile home field.

And also whether, if and when the Raiders enter into lame-duck status at the Coliseum – Davis reiterated to ESPN.com his intention to play in Oakland in 2017 and ’18 while the Las Vegas stadium is under construction – loyal fans will withdraw their support.

$750 million Pledged to the Las Vegas stadium effort by the state of Nevada

As someone whose memory stretches further back than what Facebook reminds me, I’m not entirely convinced the Raiders are moving to Las Vegas.

Just as in 1987, the Raiders didn’t leave Los Angeles for the nearby gravel pits of Irwindale – though that didn’t prevent Al Davis from bilking that hamlet of 1,425 souls for $10 million, plus interest.

Certainly the Las Vegas effort has plenty of juice behind it, but there are a few remaining hurdles that must be surmounted until anyone reserves the moving trucks for the team’s second departure from Oakland in 38 years.

Not only does any move require approval from 24 of the NFL’s 32 owners, but also the inside business deal (how the revenue pie gets divided, how the taxpayers of Nevada recoup their investment, how many sacks of money billionaire developer Sheldon Adelson gets to keep) must still be worked out.

“No market should lose their team once, let alone twice,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said last month. “I believe there’s a solution in Oakland.”

No market should lose their team once, let alone twice.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell

If there is, one has yet to present itself that’s anything more substantial than politicians and former players flapping their gums.

So, yes, the Raiders could be on the verge of leaving. If not to Las Vegas, then perhaps back to Los Angeles provided San Diego voters approve a hotel tax increase to build a new stadium for the Chargers. That could keep the Chargers right where they are and open the door for the Raiders to join the Rams at their fancy new digs in Inglewood.

The real bummer for Raiders fans in Northern California is that now that the team is finally decent, it has one foot out the door.

The real bummer for Raiders fans in Northern California, who’ve proudly supported the Silver and Black through years of ineptitude, is that now that the team is finally decent, it hsa one foot out the door.

Would that support continue, through two lame-duck seasons, if the Raiders sign their official walking papers? I’d expect a noticeable chunk of the fan enthusiasm to wane. And as illustrated earlier, it’s not as if the Raiders have much of a home-field edge as things stand now.

With that in mind, it’s probably a good thing for the Raiders’ playoff aspirations that the next two games are in Florida – not to mention the Nov. 21 “home” game in Mexico City.

Home these days is wherever the Raiders lie their heads. And that place, based on their won-loss record, is starting to feel like Oakland less and less.

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