OAKLAND (KPIX) — If this was, in fact, the last home game the Raiders will ever play in Oakland, the weather was appropriate for the occasion.
“Oh yeah, it’s like the Raiders fans crying,” said Richard Vierra, warming his hands over his tailgating grill. “It’s super sad. It’s a dismal day for a dismal afternoon.”
For Vierra, this was a day to pull out his late father’s Raiders jacket for the possibility of a final farewell. Anticipating that farewell is something Raiders fans have been doing for years now.
“With the city council and the mayors and Mark Davis going back and forth year after year, after year,” said an exasperated Michael Wagner, working a grill covered in bratwurst and sausage. “Being a fan, stuck in the middle, I’m just pretty much tired, and glad the decision has finally been made.”
That final decision, a move to Las Vegas, will happen in 2020. Where the team plays next year is still to be determined but a growing legal entanglement with the city of Oakland has many convinced next year will not be played at the Oakland Coliseum.
The team’s future has been uncertain for about a decade.
With departure certain, at least within a year, some are thinking longer term. The years-old “Stay in Oakland” campaign would now settle for keeping the team name and colors.
Organizer John Lupo says the right thing to do would be for the Raiders to shed their identity before relocating to Nevada, but he does not think next season will be played in Alameda County.
“Sounds like the most logical place that they’re really entertaining is AT&T,” he says. “I’m thinking AT&T or down in San Diego,” predicts Wagner. “I don’t think they’re gonna be here, and that’s my biggest thing,” laments Vierra.
So was this the last tailgate? Maybe so, maybe not, but one way or another, Oakland’s 4th-and-long march to ‘goodbye’ will eventually draw to a close.