With the passing of Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis, speculation of the club moving back to Los Angeles is growing.
The Raiders left Los Angeles in 1995, after 13 seasons, and after many of problems involving a new stadium. But there have been recent developments have shown some promise that the NFL may return to City of Angels.
In August, the Los Angeles City Council approved the overall framework for financing to build a $1.2-billion NFL stadium downtown near the Staples Center, in what would be a 72,000-seat stadium that would open in 2016 under the name Farmers Field. What's needed is an NFL tenant, and the chances are slim that the NFL would expand anytime soon from its 32-team format.
Of the possible NFL teams that could relocate to the stadium, the ones that seem to have the best chance include the Jacksonville Jaguars, Minnesota Vikings, San Diego Chargers, and Buffalo Bills.
The Raiders were considered a possibility, as well, and may now seem to have a better shot. Davis's rocky relationship in L.A. may have been a stumbling block for the club's move back to Los Angeles. The Raiders still play at the O.co Coliseum, which broke ground back in 1964, and is considered far below most NFL franchises' stadium standards.
With Davis's wife, Carol, assuming control of the Raiders, and the new stadium deal in place, the timing might be right for the Raiders to move back. Though the Oakland City Council has stepped up efforts to try to build a new stadium in Oakland, Los Angeles would probably be a better destination, as the second largest market in the U.S., and with less time for a stadium to be built.
Meanwhile, a loyal fan base still exists in Los Angeles. The Raiders have maintained a strong group of fans in L.A., and fans in the region would likely welcome back the Raiders, or any NFL team for that matter.
There are many L.A fans that would prefer the Jaguars, a team with minimal tradition, and not want to see the Raiders return. The Raiders have a great deal of tradition in Oakland, and were often remembered as an organization that under-achieved in L.A., and because of the often violent atmosphere that was present at games.
Though it could be years before an NFL team moves to L.A., the possibility of the Raiders will likely grow.