Following an evening of upheaval in the NFL, one of the league's most recognizable fan bases could get their wish after all. It looks like the Raiders will be staying in Oakland -- for now.
Owners voted late on Tuesday night by a tally of 30-2 to move ahead with the Inglewood stadium project, which will bind the Rams to a proposed arena at the site of the former Hollywood Park racetrack. The San Diego Chargers will have the first option to join the Rams in Los Angeles. Should the Chargers not exercise their option -- and the City of San Diego still has a chance to keep the Chargers -- to join the Rams, the door could be re-opened for the Raiders.
Dean Spanos, the owner of the Chargers, was also tied into a plan with Raiders owner Mark Davis for a new stadium in Carson, California, which was the recommended plan by the NFL relocation committee. That deal lost momentum quickly, and was all but dead by the time the league's brass came together for a deciding vote. The Raiders agreed on Tuesday night to vacate their exclusive partnership with Spanos in order to pave the way for an Inglewood deal to go through.
"This is not a win for the Raiders today, but at the same time, I'm really happy for Stan Kroenke and the Rams moving to Inglewood," Davis said. "We'll see where the Raider nation ends here. We'll be working really hard to find us a home and that's what we're looking for and for our fans. Don't feel bad. We'll get it right."
So what happens now?
The NFL will need to find a way to improve Oakland's situation -- and quickly. A move elsewhere seems unlikely at the moment, so the Raiders will more than likely get monetary aid to assist them in the building of a new stadium. Per NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport, the Raiders are currently looking at a funding gap of roughly $500 million. Rapoport also noted that the Raiders could get "favorable consideration" for relocation in the future.
The O.co Coliseum, currently the only stadium in the United States to host both a professional baseball and football team simultaneously, was built in 1966. The Raiders played there from its groundbreaking until they moved to Los Angeles prior to the 1982 season and returned to the Coliseum in 1995. The Oakland Athletics baseball team recently signed a 10-year lease on the stadium.
So possibly ends a bizarre chapter in Raider history. Oakland went 7-9 this season under new head coach Jack Del Rio and, for the first time in more than a decade, gave off the vibe of an emerging franchise. Second-year quarterback Derek Carr and wide receiver Amari Cooper teamed up for 72 catches, 1,070 yards and six touchdowns this season. Linebacker Khalil Mack became the first player in NFL history to be elected as an All-Pro at two different positions.
With massive changes coming to the AFC West in the coming years, including a monumental passing of the torch at quarterback in Denver, Oakland will soon be looked at as a potential contender.
For now, they will contend in Oakland.