Kraft: How and why I could support moves of Raiders, Bolts
Talk of Fame Network
The Oakland Raiders are at the top of the AFC West, and the San Diego Chargers are at the bottom, but they're in lock step when it comes to new stadiums.
Neither has one.
The Raiders have made it clear they're interested in relocating to Las Vegas, and Las Vegas has made it clear it would like to have them. Moreover, Oakland has done little to stop them. The Chargers, meanwhile, would like to stay in San Diego, but voters there made it clear last month they won't support the plans currently on the table.
So both franchises could be on the move – with the Raiders to Las Vegas and the Chargers to L.A.
New England owner Robert Kraft is one of the most influential voices in the NFL, so we checked in with him to see where he stands on both issues … and what he thinks is the likelihood of either … or both … moving.
"I've gotten to know (Raiders' owner) Mark Davis pretty well, and I like him a lot," he said on the latest Talk of Fame Network broadcast. "He's all about Raiders football and continuing the great tradition of that family. I would prefer to see them stay in Oakland, but there is just no movement up there to do anything to keep them.
"I personally don’t to like ever encourage a team to do anything to relocate, and I do hope that Oakland comes through. But if they don’t do something shortly, I do think Las Vegas would be a great city to host an NFL team.
"I wouldn’t have said that 20 years ago, but I do believe it now. I think the Raiders' fan base is a team that will road-trip every game, and I think the demand for tickets would be incredible. And I would support that if the objective of having a team in Oakland … of having a new stadium in Oakland ... can't be met."
Then, of course, there are the Chargers. And there are reports that they could be headed to L.A. in January, just ahead of a league-imposed deadline to make a decision as that city's second team.
"Look," said Kraft, "I feel the same about San Diego as Oakland. I don’t know why the community doesn’t band together and try to make something happen there. It was disappointing to see the vote in the low 40 percent. I know Dean … he's a great owner … Dean Spanos ... and he's doing everything he can. We've created an option for a second team in L.A., and I guess that is something he has to decide -- if it's right for his fans and his franchise so that they can be viable.
"L.A. had the Rams and the Raiders, and I think both Fox and CBS would each like a team in that market. What is it? The second largest community and one of the fastest growing communities in America, with great fans. I hope that San Diego comes through, but, if not, I think L.A. will be a wonderful opportunity."
(Robert Kraft photo courtesy of New England Patriots)
(Derek Carr photo courtesy of Oakland Raiders)
(Philip Rivers photo courtesy of San Diego Chargers)