Like ice cream cones or fish tacos, Raiders fans just don't travel well.
A rash of violence following the Raiders-49ers game at Candlestick Park in August 2011 -- a preseason game, people -- led the NFL to essentially ban the annual trans-bay tilt between the two teams.
The Bay Area's two pro football teams will meet this year, a December regular season matchup at aging and dilapidated O.co Coliseum, not at the 49ers' brand-new $1.3 billion football palace in Santa Clara.
That's an odd choice, but the NFL is boss. And the NFL is hinting even more strongly that the Raiders will indeed play in Santa Clara someday -- but as the home team.
On Thursday, during the ribbon-cutting ceremony of Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, where the 49ers will open their preseason next month, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell repeated earlier hints that the NFL is fine with the Raiders sharing the new stadium -- and in fact, it could be the best option for the Silver and Black.
The Raiders have made no bones about their dissatisfaction with their current digs at O.co Coliseum. And, despite still paying off the bill for upgrades to lure the Raiders back home from Los Angeles, Oakland sounds like it wants to build a new stadium -- but where and how and for whom (A's? Raiders? Both? Two new stadiums?) is still unclear.
So, Goodell says, the Raiders can move into a new home tomorrow if they want -- it'll just have red seats and be plastered with the images of 49ers' greats, as ESPN pointed out.
"They [the Raiders] have to make that determination, whether they're in a new stadium in Oakland or whether they feel that it's best to join this stadium," he said, according to Bay Area Sports Guy. "We're working on that, and that's one of the decisions they'll have to make."
49ers' CEO Jed York has said that he's open to having the Raiders as a tenant, and why not? NFL stadium are rarely used behemoths, and getting more bums in seats is all well and good, whether or not those bums are sipping wine and munching cheese or wearing silver and black facepaint and acting like freaks.
Mark Davis, son of the late Al Davis, has said he has no interest in being a tenant in someone else's stadium. But if the negotiations over a new Oakland locale go sour, or if the Coliseum floods a few more times during football season, he may sing a different tune.
In the meantime, the NFL has signaled its commitment to stadium-sharing in major markets: the Jets and Giants have the same home in New Jersey, and future Los Angeles-area teams will almost certainly share a home if an LA-based stadium is ever built.
"Just Santa Clara, baby"?