The Ala-Zona Raiders? Yes, it’s a thing — and no, this isn’t The Onion

Birmingham, Alabama, and Tucson, Arizona, are combining on a pitch to co-host the Raiders in 2019

Artist’s rendering of a new Las Vegas Raiders stadium. (Courtesy of Manica Architecture)
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Just as a football game cannot proceed without a coin flip, we must establish an understanding with regards to the Onion-esque deal proffered the Oakland-Los Angeles-Oakland-San Francisco-San Diego-London-San Antonio-Berkeley-Stanford Raiders by the impenitent municipalities of Tucson, Arizona, and Birmingham, Alabama:

The deal will never happen. That is to say, the two charming burgs will not realize their wish to co-host the Raiders during the 2019 NFL season.

You’re familiar with the back story. The Raiders announce they are moving in 2020 into a new stadium just off the Las Vegas Strip (and all the $5 prime rib dinners you can stomach). The city of Oakland then slaps an antitrust lawsuit on the Raiders and the NFL. Sufficiently piqued, Raiders owner Mark Davis withdraws from negotiations that would ensure the team would play its lame-duck 2019 season at the Coliseum. As we speak, fallback options both in the Bay Area (the Giants’ Oracle Field, the 49ers’ Levi’s Stadium, Cal, Stanford) have been tough to come by. Oakland is ready and willing to resume discussions, but the Raiders remain mum.

Why, it’s as if Birmingham City Councilman William Parker would have been derelict in his duty if he didn’t plant the idea in the ear of WVTN13 TV reporter Kyle Burger. Parker, Burger reported, “tells me the plan will be for each city to split hosting duties.” Parker also told Burger that the two cities are working together on a preliminary plan.

The germ was hatched in January, the Arizona Daily Star reported. A Tucson-based attorney contacted the Raiders to gauge Davis’ interest in having his team play its home games in Tucson. Subsequently, the two cities made a pinky promise to share the proposal, logistics and the thrill of working with Davis.

Do they have the goods? Yes. Birmingham’s Legion Field seats 71,500 and is home to the University of Alabama-Birmingham Blazers, the Birmingham Iron AAF entry, and the annual Birmingham Bowl. Tucson boasts Arizona Stadium, which seats 57,400 and is home to University of Arizona and the annual Nova Home Loans Arizona Bowl.

Do they know what it’s like to work with Davis? They haven’t got a clue.

Even if this two-headed arrangement comes to pass, the Raiders would have to work around the college teams’ schedules. An even bigger hurdle would be having to hit the road 16 times in 18 weeks. That would be setting a team up for failure. Then again, if 2018 is any indication, this likely wouldn’t be a deal breaker.

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