Report: Raiders in talks with Tottenham to share London stadium in 2019

·Yahoo Sports Columnist

The Oakland Raiders’ new home in Las Vegas won’t be finished until 2020, and with the city of Oakland suing the franchise in federal court over its move, they won’t be playing one final season at Oakland-Alameda County Stadium.

Last week, Fox NFL reporter Jay Glazer reported that the Oakland Raiders could play their 2019 “home” games in London. This week, a British media outlet reported another step has been taken toward that happening.

Raiders, Tottenham in talks

A fan holds up a sign while standing on a dugout at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum after the final Raiders game at the stadium. (AP)
A fan holds up a sign while standing on a dugout at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum after the final Raiders game at the stadium. (AP)

The Daily Mail reported on Sunday that English soccer club Tottenham and the Raiders are in talks for the Raiders to use Tottenham’s newly refurbished White Hart Lane stadium for a full eight-game home slate in 2019.

White Hart Lane was slated to host an NFL game last October, but delays meant the game had to be moved to Wembley Stadium.

Tottenham Stadium seats 62,000 and has an NFL regulation turf field under the grass soccer surface; the grass surface can retract, revealing the artificial turf.

The renovation also included construction of NFL-sized locker rooms, a first for a stadium in London (soccer teams are much smaller than NFL teams, and don’t require nearly as much equipment).

More questions than answers

Glazer reported last week that other owners were the ones that brought up the idea of the Raiders playing overseas, making it easy to believe the league, which has long been obsessed with putting a team in London, believes this could be a test balloon for that idea.

But there seem to be so many more questions over how it would work than answers at this point.

Let’s say the league is able to split the Raiders’ schedule into quarters, with four straight home games, four straight road games, and then repeat. They’ll still only get one bye.

What happens if the fourth home game leads to a road game in Los Angeles against the Chargers? What happens if a fourth road game is in Denver and the Raiders play seven days later in London?

Are we totally abandoning the notion of players getting proper rest and recovery between games?

They’re not the only ones to do something similar but the New England Patriots are so committed to the idea of cutting down on travel that in 2014 when they had road games against the Packers and Chargers in back-to-back weeks they flew directly from Green Bay to San Diego and spent the week at a college there preparing for the Chargers.

Where is the NFL Players Association on this? It has rightfully trumpeted player safety gains from the current collective bargaining agreement, but this idea seems to fly in the face of that.

What about Tuesday workouts and tryouts? Are you really going to fly a guy to London for a tryout? Would new general manager Mike Mayock or an assistant GM stay stateside to facilitate those? In the same vein, what about scouting college players for the draft? That’s mostly done by area scouts, but national scouts and the GM still spend time on the road.

And what about fans? Raiders fans are some of the most loyal in the league, but who is going to wake up at 6 a.m. in the Bay Area to watch a home game from London for a whole season? For a team that’s leaving you anyway?

It all seems like a really dumb idea, driven, of course, by money and not logic.

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