The NFL generally schedules the preseason with an eye toward geography. The Giants play the Jets in the battle of New York (or New Jersey). The Eagles play the Steelers in the battle of Pennsylvania. The Chiefs play the Rams in the battle of Missouri. And so on.
But the annual Bay Area rivalry has been scrapped this year: The full 2012 NFL preseason schedule is out, and the 49ers aren’t playing the Raiders.
The reason is that last year’s Raiders-49ers preseason game turned ugly, with fights in the stands, a beating in a restroom and two shootings in a parking lot. Many law-abiding fans of both teams complained after the game that a relatively small number of troublemakers use the annual Raiders-49ers as an excuse to go looking for a fight with someone wearing different-colored gear, and officials from both teams and the NFL indicated afterward that they thought the game was more trouble than it was worth.
So now the game is off, and it appears that the two teams will only meet every four years in the regular season. The next Bay Area battle is slated for 2014.