In what feels less likely to happen than an NFL kicker booting a 65-yard field goal, San Antonio is being kicked around as a potential one-year home for the now stadium-less Oakland Raiders.
San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg has extended an informal invitation for the Raiders to ride out the 2019 season in Alamo City, but it remains to be seen whether the team will accept the formal invitation.
The Raiders, set to move in 2020 from Oakland Coliseum to a $1.8 billion stadium under construction in Las Vegas, are scouting for a new home amid a tussle with the City of Oakland over playing in 2019 at their current home in Northern California.
It’s still quite possible that the stalemate will end, and the team will complete its final season as the Oakland Raiders in the namesake coliseum, according to media reports. But in the meantime, Raiders owner Mark Davis is exploring other cities for a temporary landing spot, and San Antonio is in the mix — kind of.
Davis has downplayed the possibility of the Raiders spending the 2019 season in San Antonio, as he doesn’t expect the team to play on artificial turf. That puts a damper on San Antonio’s chances considering the Alamodome, which is equipped for football, has artificial turf.
Nonetheless, The Mercury News in San Jose, California, points out that the Alamodome “would be a viable place for the Raiders to await their Las Vegas debut.”
“Plus,” the newspaper adds, “it would give the city a chance to show it could be ‘major league’ for other sports other than the Spurs of the NBA.”
If this scenario seems familiar, think back just a few years.
“The Raiders had dalliances with San Antonio in 2014,” The Mercury News says. “City officials there weren’t happy the Raiders may have been playing the threat of [moving to] San Antonio against other sites, but a successful NFL season [in San Antonio] could pave the way to its own team someday.”
Two years later, in 2016, talk once again surfaced that the region might become the new home of the Raiders after Davis reportedly purchased land somewhere between San Antonio and Austin. But that talk turned out to be just that — talk.
Keep in mind that the Dallas Cowboys and Houston Texans might not be keen on having an NFL rival in their backyard. And that alone might stymie any effort to relocate the Raiders to San Antonio for one season.
If the Raiders were to come to San Antonio, it wouldn’t be the first time the Alamodome has hosted an NFL team. In 2015, the New Orleans Saints played three well-attended games there after Hurricane Katrina.
Even if the Raiders don’t set up shop in San Antonio next year, Alamo City still has a shot at the NFL. In November, Nirenberg predicted San Antonio would score its own NFL team within the next 10 years.