Spander: Carson Raiders lack rhyme, reason 

click to enlarge NFL
  • MANICA Architecture/AP
  • The proposed Carson NFL stadium is likely to be the future home of the Raiders.

LOS ANGELES — The Raiders are not here. At least I could not find them. Neither are the Chargers. Nor the Rams. Nor a new stadium. What they have here, in the suburbs of Inglewood and Carson, is a battle to get an NFL franchise and a lot of talk about spending millions of dollars for a team which never might arrive.

They’re already planning for a Super Bowl. Not involving a local team, since one doesn’t exist, but a local stadium, although that doesn’t exist, either. They’ll have one, we’re told, but don’t book your seats yet. Don’t do anything until all an earthmover moves earth some place.

We know the Raiders want out of Oakland. And they don’t want to share Levi’s Stadium with the 49ers, although from what Jed York said of the $1.3 billion baby the other day — “It’s not quite a home” — maybe he’d trade it to the Raiders for a couple of linebackers and a parking space to be named later.

We also know the NFL, the league of deflated footballs and domestic abuse, is preparing to have a team in southern California by 2016. That’s the region, not the institution where O.J. Simpson went to school. Locating a place that team would play might be an issue, since UCLA is at the Rose Bowl, USC is at the Coliseum and nobody could get a stadium erected in 15 months.

The Raiders and San Diego Chargers supposedly are going to share a stadium in Carson, which was named after a land-holding company, Carson Estates, not Johnny Carson, and currently is the site of a landing zone for the Goodyear blimp. That is if St. Louis (nee Los Angeles) Rams don’t build a stadium in Inglewood, closer to civilization.

A person who deals in this stuff points out nobody is going to build a stadium for $1 billion — the current going rate although it will cost much more — without a team. Therefore, in this race among three would-be franchises which would locate in two would-be vicinities, the probable winner is the guy who wants to come to Inglewood, Stan Kroenke of the Rams.

Kroenke has a franchise. He has plans for a stadium. He has Inglewood, near Los Angeles International, nearer the Beautiful People of SoCal (Beverly Hills, Westwood Village, and Santa Monica), and he has $6 billion. The entire community of Carson may not be worth that much, but Carson is willing to fight Kroenke.

“There is an effort afoot to undermine our efforts to secure an NFL franchise,” Albert Robles, mayor of Carson told the Los Angeles Times. “If they’re able to create distractions or in any way delay our moving forward, it would undermine our efforts.

“I don’t want to attribute it to the city of Inglewood, per se, or to the Rams per se. But there are other parties that take it upon themselves to say, ‘What could we do to slow down Carson?’ They’ll resort to whatever they have to do.”

What the NFL is not going to do is allow stadiums and two or three teams within 15 miles of each other. In the Black Hole and environs, the sound of sniggering is detected.

“Without the Raiders, picking Kroenke over (Chargers owner Dean) Spanos would seem a safer bet,” wrote the San Diego Union-Tribune. “Nobody wants a struggling team, and either must build a new market in Los Angeles while recovering well north of $1 billion in construction costs, after the sale of seat licenses and NFL funds.

“Even if the Chargers-Raiders collaboration survives, owners must decide whether L.A. is really ready for two teams . . .

“At least one owner, Jerry Jones of the Dallas Cowboys, seems happy to let Kroenke decide the matter by moving the Rams without permission, as the late Raiders owner Al Davis famously did in 1982 after winning an antitrust lawsuit against the NFL.”

How reassuring to Raider partisans to have a reference to their guy, Al. The trouble these days most of the time the only Davis linked with the Raider’s is Al’s son, Mark, who keeps waiting for the impossible — a replacement for the Oakland Coliseum. The good news happened on the field, not off. Ex-Raider coach and broadcaster John Madden, told the Los Angeles Times, “Jack Del Rio is the right coach for (the Raiders) ... He’s going to make them legitimate.”

Even playing in Oakland of all places.

Art Spander has been covering Bay Area sports since 1965 and also writes on and Email him at

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Art Spander

Art Spander

Art Spander has been covering Bay Area sports since 1965 and also writes on and Email him at
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