Embracing the San Diego Raiders

Why fate may place that team from Oakland in San Diego

NBC 7’s Derek Togerson offers rationale for bringing the Raiders to San Diego in this commentary

Let’s all assume Dean Spanos makes the call to move his team to Los Angeles some time before next January. Just about every sign is pointing that way and Dean is probably too far down the road to Inglewood to pull back now.

So just, for a moment, put yourself in the frame of mind that the Chargers are no longer members of the San Diego community. Let us take a moment to mourn the loss …

OK that’s enough. In the words of the Monty Python crew: “Now for something completely different.”

I am here to tell you the Raiders coming to San Diego is not a possibility. It’s a probability. I spoke with Mark Davis at the NFL owners in Houston and his words were quite telling. Davis said outright he’s not interested in St. Louis and he simply laughed when asked about San Antonio.

When the inquiry about moving to San Diego came, Davis took a much different tack.

“San Diego has a team right now,” he said.

It’s a slight but very important difference. Davis knows he can’t go to San Antonio because it’s close to Houston but is also a traditional Cowboys stronghold so Jerry Jones will never let it happen. That means Davis is down to choosing between Oakland and San Diego. Right now the East Bay is not happening.

When asked what Oakland has to do to work out a deal and if the $100 million the NFL pledged to the process of getting a new stadium deal done there makes him optimistic, Davis was not exactly … well, optimistic.

“I don’t know what word to use,” said Davis. “Let’s just get to reality. They haven’t yet.”

Sounds a lot like the way Mark Fabiani and Dean Spanos would classify their dealings with San Diego and that means it’s likely reached a point of no return for the Raiders in Oakland. That means a move to America’s Finest City would be a big step up for the Silver and Black.

It would only be fitting for the Raiders to end up replacing the Chargers in San Diego. After all, the Chargers are the reason the Raiders even exist.

In case you don’t know the history, in 1960 Barron Hilton told the fledgling American Football League that they’d better put another team on the west coast or he was going to forfeit his new franchise (the Los Angeles Chargers). He wanted to establish a rivalry with someone. The AFL needed as many teams as it could get to stay financially viable so they looked to Oakland and the Raiders were born.

Now the Bolts are trying to move back to L.A. so why not have the team they spawned take their spot? The Raiders have arguably had more success in San Diego than the Chargers have anyway.

All-time the Raiders are 31-25-1 against the Chargers at Jack Murphy/Qualcomm Stadium. One of the NFL’s greatest wacky moments, the Holy Roller, happened in Mission Valley. The Raiders won the only AFC Championship Game ever played at The Murph (for the 1980 season; Oakland would beat the Eagles in the Super Bowl). The Raiders have even played in a Super Bowl at the Q (although they were destroyed by the Bucs).

All of this does not even include the likelihood of Davis being able to work a stadium deal with the San Diego political powers. Mark is not holding out for a massive, state-of-the-art facility. He simply wants, as some reporters who cover the Raiders I've spoken to put it, a place where he can have steady revenue streams. Heck, he'd even be happy in Qualcomm Stadium for a bit.

If that interesting back story (perhaps destiny?) is not enough of a reason for a San Diegan to throw allegiance to the Raiders then how about something more visceral?

Dean Spanos no longer wants to be in San Diego. If Mark Davis does … why would we not welcome him? I understand how tough it will be to stop rooting for a team that has been a part of our community for five and a half decades and how that becomes exponentially more difficult when you suddenly have a long-hated rival to call your own.

The Chargers have a long history in San Diego. History is important. But in my eyes it’s not as important as loyalty. I will support the team that wants to be in my city over the one that wants to leave regardless of how many good times we had together.

The name of the city is more important than the name of the team. If the Autumn Wind blows to the south and Mark Davis ends up slapping a San Diego in front of the Raiders name (and if I was a betting man I would put the house on that happening), you can deck me out in Silver and Black.

What will you do?

Contact Us