For years, Los Angeles has served as the leverage for NFL owners hoping to squeeze maximum public money from their current localities in order to build new stadiums. Now that L.A. is off the table, NFL owners need to find new “or else” options if they hope to shake taxpayer dollars from the trees on which money doesn’t grow.
Enter San Antonio.
It’s no coincidence that media reports linking the Raiders to San Antonio emerged immediately after the door was slammed shut on the Raiders moving to L.A. With the very real threat of the Raiders bolting from the Bay Area back to Southern California, the folks in Oakland did nothing meaningful to assist with the construction of a new stadium. Now that the Raiders: (1) can’t go to L.A. unless the Chargers choose not to partner in Kroenkeworld; and (2) have an extra $100 million for the purposes of building a stadium in Oakland, will the powers-that-be in Alameda County feel more compelled to act? Or less?
That’s why San Antonio is back in play. But it won’t be as easy as owner Mark Davis thinks.
“We don’t have a lease right now at the Oakland Coliseum,” Davis said Tuesday. “America, the world is a possibility for the Raider Nation.”
The lease in Oakland is only part of the equation. Davis still needs 23 other owners to approve any move to a new city. Unless Davis plans to take a page from his late father’s playbook, it means that it will take only nine other owners to freeze him out of a given market, like San Antonio.
And two strong “no” votes surely would come, quickly and loudly, from the state of Texas. Neither the Houston Texans nor the Dallas Cowboys will want to see another NFL franchise wedged into their territory.
“Well if they go there, we have a suburb called Plano, Texas right outside of Dallas,” Cowboys owner Jerry Jones told PFT Live last March. “There’s a higher percentage of Cowboy fans in San Antonio than there is in Plano; 97 percent. So it’s a great hotbed for us down there, we do a lot of things down there, we train down there. So if they go down there they’ll be surrounded with a lot of Cowboy fans and that’s good, that’s good.”
On the surface, Jones acts like he isn’t worried about the Raiders causing that 97-percent saturation in San Antonio to fall. At a deeper level, he surely is. While he would have no qualms about the Raiders using San Antonio as a crowbar to get something/anything from Oakland, Jones would drop the hammer if/when Davis tries to move to San Antonio.
And Jones, who had the vision, leadership, and commitment to help make Kroenkeworld a reality for the NFL, undoubtedly has the juice to get at least eight other owners to tell Davis that the Silver and Black will never be infringing upon the Blue and Silver.