The San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders shocked the sports world by presenting a joint proposal to build a new stadium in Carson, California. The proposal staked their claim in the race to return the NFL to Los Angeles, a race that also includes the St. Louis Rams.
The proposal presumably gives the Chargers and the Raiders a big advantage over the Rams because all signs point towards the NFL wanting two teams in Los Angeles. At the recent owners’ meetings, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft explained why two teams makes more sense than one.
At the same time, the two-team proposal has a huge problem for the rest of the league: both teams play in the same division.
Sharing a stadium in the NFL is not unprecedented, as the New York Giants have shared a stadium with the New York Jets for the past 30 years in East Rutherford, New Jersey. However, unlike the Giants and the Jets, the Raiders and the Chargers play in the same division and instead of playing each other just once every four years, as the Jets and Giants do, the Raiders and the Chargers play each other twice every year.
After some initial rumblings, both teams seem to be on board with moving to the NFC and swapping places with an AFC team.
This means both teams would get an extra home game every year in which they are the “visiting” team in the matchups.
According to sources for Jason Cole of Bleacher Report, Raiders owner Mark Davis has offered to move his team to the NFC. Presumably that would mean a move to the NFC West with an AFC West team moving in the other direction. Cole proposed the Seattle Seahawks who were formerly an AFC team.
Furthermore, Carmen Policy, a former 49ers executive hired to handle the stadium proposal, indicated that both teams are willing to move with comments directed at the NFL, saying “you send us to LA and you’ll make the decision as to who plays in what conference or division.”
One extra home game every eight years — the Giants and the Jets alternate who is the home team — is not that big of a deal. One extra home game every year is a huge advantage over the other teams in the division and a big advantage over the rest of the AFC when it often comes down to one game deciding the two wild-card spots.
Of course, this is all for naught if the Raiders and/or Chargers can secure public funding for stadiums in their current cities or if the AFC team balks at switching conferences and disrupting their own big rivalries. But at the same time, this could be one less hurdle the teams need to navigate.
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