Mark Davis is a good son. His desire to keep his mother happy is the reason for all his strange maneuvering on the issue of a new stadium for the Raiders, including this ridiculous plan to combine with the San Diego Chargers for a new stadium in Carson.
Lew Wolff is part of the problem, too.
If all Davis wanted was to avoid sharing a stadium with a baseball team, he could have moved the Raiders to the new 49ers stadium, which was built for double occupancy. But that would mean leaving behind the ridiculous shrine to Al Davis at the Coliseum, which is obviously there for Carole Davis. Mark went 30 years with virtually no contact with his father, so it’s not his idea.
Of course, he wouldn’t be sharing the Coliseum, either, if Wolff had accepted the offer of Oakland business leaders to pay for a new park in the Jack London Square area. But Wolff has never wanted a new park in Oakland. He still wants to move the franchise to San Jose, which has always been the impossible dream.
I’m sure Mark would prefer to keep the Raiders in Oakland, where they have a very loyal fan base. Though they won only three games last season, they sold enough tickets that every home game was on TV in the area.
But there’s no chance Oakland and Alameda County will contribute any public money for a new stadium. Taxpayers are still paying for improvements to the current one to lure the Raiders back from Los Angeles in 1994.
So, Mark has attempted to apply pressure by visiting other cities. That started with his trip to San Antonio, which inspired that city’s mayor to talk about the possibility of getting the Raiders. He must have been on a hallucinogenic drug. There are two other NFL teams in Texas that would have shot that one down. Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones was particularly opposed to that idea because the Cowboys draw many fans from the San Antonio area. Jones has great influence within the NFL and Mark Davis, unlike his dad, has no desire to challenge the league.
The latest move would probably solve one problem: Carole Davis wouldn’t insist on the tribute to Al being moved that far south.
But the move would create other problems. The Raiders and Chargers have been historic foes, going all the way back to the start of the AFL, more than a half-century ago. Yet, the word in the NFL is that one of the teams would have to change conferences, which would force other changes.
There is also the TV market, which is vital to NFL interests. How would this affect the Los Angeles market, second only to New York in size? Many Angelenos have been quite happy not having a pro team — USC doesn’t count — because then they have much more variety in what they can watch on television any given Sunday.
For all those reasons, I seriously doubt we’ll ever see either the Chargers or Raiders playing in Carson.
In the meantime, Mark Davis needs to keep talking to Oakland and Alameda County officials privately and keep his mouth shut in public.