With Oakland suing the Raiders and the Raiders yanking an offer for a one-year lease and the Raiders previously threatening to leave Oakland if Oakland filed its lawsuit, the Raiders may be playing their last game ever (or at least until they inevitably move back there again) in Oakland. In prime time. On Christmas Eve.
And with no clarity regarding a mutual commitment to continue the relationship beyond the regular-season home finale, plenty of fans will assume that the Raiders will be pulling the ultimate Grinch move on what could become a nightmare before Christmas.
What happens under those circumstances remains to be seen, but things could get ugly. Last Browns Game in Cleveland ugly. Or maybe Disco Demolition Night in Chicago ugly. Wherever it would land on the overall ugly scale, it’s the kind of ugly that the NFL shouldn’t want playing out in what will be the final Monday Night Football game of the year.
So maybe the NFL should exercise its prerogative to move the game, being proactive on this one instead of saying after the fact, “We didn’t think this would happen.” With the Raiders eliminated from playoff contention and the Broncos likely heading in that direction, there will be no significant competitive advantage or disadvantage to either team, and no reason to not relocate the game — if there’s any concern that the game will become secondary to the scene that could unfold in the last game at a dilapidated stadium featuring multiple dead animals, periodic sewage issues, and a really old X-ray machine, the smart move would be to move the game to Denver or Arizona or L.A. or anywhere but what would be the last game ever in Oakland.
At least until they inevitably move back there again.