An era came to an end Sunday, as the Oakland Raiders played what will likely be their final game in the California city before relocating to Las Vegas.
The Raiders have a long and storied, but also complicated, history in Oakland. After beginning play in 1960, the Raiders arrived at the new Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum in 1966, remaining there through the 1981 season before relocating to Los Angeles. It would return to Oakland in 1995, as then Raiders owner Al Davis sought to revive the team’s connection to Oakland by setting up shop in a renovated Coliseum.
While the team remained well-supported by its fan base, the upgrades to the Coliseum did not age well–the addition of the so-called “Mount Davis” seating section has been widely panned–and the Raiders have made the playoffs just four times since their return, a notable departure from the success of their first Oakland stint and time in Los Angeles. The search for a new stadium led the Raiders to Las Vegas, where work on the upcoming Allegiant Stadium is proceeding on schedule for a 2020 opening.
On Sunday, the Raiders played what is expected to be their last home game at the Coliseum, suffering a last-minute 20-16 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars. Leading up to the game, there were fond memories recalled by some around the NFL over the Raiders’ most recent stint in Oakland, but Raiders owner Mark Davis was not conveying much nostalgia about the team’s second go-round in Oakland ahead of Sunday’s game. While he acknowledged the role that Oakland has played in the franchise’s history, he also seemed focused on the beginning of a new era in Las Vegas. More from NBC Sports Bay Area:
“The Raiders were born in Oakland, and Oakland will always be part of our DNA. There’s no doubt about that.”…
“The Oakland Raiders were established in 1960,” Davis said. “The Los Angeles Raiders were established in 1982. And the Las Vegas Raiders are being established in 2020. It’s a new era, and we’ve got a new residence.”
Davis said he’s not particularly nostalgic about Part II in Oakland. He went through all of that back in 1982. It’s about business now, and cherishing memories created by years of football but ultimately populated by people within the Raiders family.
Aside from marking the end of the NFL in Oakland, the Raiders’ upcoming move also means an end to the era of shared NFL-Major League Baseball facilities. The Raiders and MLB’s A’s have shared the Coliseum throughout much of its history, even as other franchises in both leagues abandoned the shared-facility model in favor of standalone venues. The A’s will remain at the Coliseum for the coming years, though they are currently pursuing a new ballpark at the waterfront Howard Terminal site in hopes of a 2023 opening.