After much uncertainty as to where the Raiders would play in 2019, they will return once again to the Oakland Coliseum.
Congratulations, Oakland. The Raiders don’t appear to be leaving town after all.
Well, at least not for one more year.
According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the Raiders are in the process of working out an agreement with Oakland Coliseum Authority for the team to play in Oakland during the 2019 season. Once the season concludes, assuming that their new stadium is completed and ready to go, the Raiders will then relocate to Las Vegas as planned. The agreement also includes a team option for the 2020 season should the new stadium in Vegas not be completed in time.
For the Oakland diehards who have grown up watching the Raiders play at the Coliseum, it has to be bittersweet. They will still have to bid farewell to their team sooner or later, but at the very least they will now get the opportunity for a sendoff season.
The Raiders will begin the 2019 season with a fresh slate, an opportunity to leave Oakland fans with a better taste than the one they had a year ago. Before Jon Gruden kicked off his second stint as the head coach of the Raiders, he traded away Khalil Mack, the anchor of the defense, and then led the team to an utterly abysmal 4-12 season.
It’s difficult to see the Raiders making serious improvements in 2019, but they couldn’t do much worse than they did last year. And even though the Oakland Coliseum might not be the most appealing stadium in the NFL, it’s a much better option for the Raiders than Oracle Park — the home of MLB’s San Francisco Giants — where the team was expected to spend the 2019 season.
Luckily, a deal was never able to get done for Oracle Park, setting the Raiders up to return to Oakland for at least one more year.
While they await their permanent move to Las Vegas, there isn’t a more appropriate place for them to play the waiting game than the trusty old Coliseum.