After the release of the 2020 schedule, an effort was made to match the three California teams with alternate locations, if NFL games can’t be played in the Golden State this season, or if games can’t be played with paying customers there — but can be played with fans present elsewhere.
The 49ers and Cardinals could share the Arizona venue with no conflicts at all. The Chargers and Raiders could share the new Las Vegas Stadium with only one potential conflict. Ditto for the Rams and the Cowboys.
As it turns out, Las Vegas also could potentially absorb the Rams, too. Vincent Bonsignore of the Las Vegas Review-Journal addresses the possibility. A Raiders official declined comment to Bonsignore on the possibility, which is understandable given the NFL’s recent edict to avoid discussing hypotheticals regarding the 2020 season.
Said Rams COO Kevin Demoff: “Our sole focus is on playing at SoFi Stadium, hopefully in front of our fans.”
If both the Rams and Chargers were to play in Las Vegas, the Rams would open the stadium in Week One with a game against the Cowboys. The Chargers would play there the following Sunday, before the Raiders get a chance to break in their new building with a Monday night game against the Saints.
The Raiders and Rams would have a Week Four Sunday conflict. One of the games would have to be moved to Monday night, like the NFL did from time to time when football and baseball teams shared stadiums and the baseball team had a Sunday home game in the postseason.
Ditto for Week 10, when the Raiders are due to host the Broncos and the Rams host the Seahawks on the same day.
In Week 14, the Raiders and Chargers also would have a same-day conflict.
Otherwise, the schedules for the three teams would mesh. Which makes Las Vegas a potential home away from home for both L.A. teams.
Whether the NFL wants three teams playing in one stadium is a different issue. If the stadiums outside California are open to fans, the Las Vegas market’s first year as an NFL venue would see it saturated with 48 regular-season games. That could make the NFL inclined to put two teams in two markets instead of loading three into one.
Regardless, it won’t be hard to play a game of stadium shuffle if California isn’t open for NFL business, or if California won’t allow fans to attend games and other states will.