Poole: Can 49ers, Raiders team up on a new stadium?

During his visit to Oakland last Sunday, NFL commissioner Roger
Goodell stood among fans at the Coliseum, watched a rare Raiders
victory and met with team owner Al Davis.

Nice of the commish to stop by, but his timing could have been

A trip to the Bay Area this weekend would have been more
efficient and conceivably more productive.

Goodell would see the Raiders and
49ers today at Candlestick Park and,
more to the point, could arrange a meeting with both owners to
provide a gentle reminder why a shared stadium is in the best
interest not only of the NFL but also of both teams and their

With a little cooperation and a lot of money, this Raiders-
49ers battle might be the last
regular-season game these teams play in this dump of a stadium.

Goodell shouldn’t have to make the slightest veiled threat or
twist a single arm. With both franchises and their frustrated fans
mired in the most unsatisfying conditions they have simultaneously
known, how much persuasion would it take?

Once among the global sports elite, the Niners and Raiders have
made stunningly graceless falls from royalty. Neither has reached
the playoffs since 2002, when each last managed a winning record.
Neither has a designated, full-time general manager. The
49ers are on their fourth coach in
nine years, the Raiders on their fifth in eight. While the Raiders
and their fans long for a .500 season, the
49ers and their fans are praying for
a miracle to reach that.

And, no, we haven’t forgotten that neither team likes its home.
That’s where Goodell comes in.

Candlestick Park and the Oakland Coliseum are among the NFL’s
oldest and dowdiest venues, ranking 2-3 (behind the Metrodome) in
the category of most repellent. The Coliseum is usable but less
than ideal. The ‘Stick is, well, downright embarrassing for a
league of such obscene wealth.

49ers say they need a new stadium
and have proposed building it in Santa Clara, across the street
from team headquarters. They have made incremental progress but
remain nowhere near a desirable funding level, much less the
plunging of a shovel.

The Raiders, meanwhile, simply want a stadium more befitting of
today’s NFL — something along the lines of the new 82,566-seat
palace the Giants and Jets, both of whom happen to be strong
postseason contenders, share in New Jersey.

The best and probably only chance of the
49ers and Raiders satisfying their
stated desire is a shared facility. Given the brutal fiscal
climate, especially in California, it is the most logical and
efficient path to the modern NFL experience.

And as for any
49ers fan who can’t stomach the
thought of sharing a building with Raiders fans, or vice versa,
please take a deep breath and consider the big picture.

Understand that Goodell and, by extension, the NFL have endorsed
a shared stadium and that Davis has not ruled out the possibility.
Understand, too, that
49ers owner Jed York not only has
said he is open to the idea but, in the event the Santa Clara
vision evaporates, also considers the Oakland Coliseum site as an

The Coliseum, York told the San Francisco Chronicle last year,
“has the location and the infrastructure. It’s right on a freeway
and it has BART access.”

Last year, in his most recent public comment on the subject,
Davis made clear that he likes the location of the Coliseum, if not
all the aspects of it. During that same session, Al praised Jed as
“a very bright young man.” A new stadium would improve the image of
both franchises, dramatically improve the fan experience and
immediately become part of the Super Bowl rotation. In short, it
would further enrich a league that hoards every dime it finds. It
would be a win-win-win.

“I’d encourage (both teams) to evaluate it, because it has
worked in New York,” Goodell said the other day. “I encourage them
to take a look at that and evaluate it.”

A recent analysis commissioned by the Coliseum Authority
concluded a shared stadium would be doable, at an estimated cost of
$860 million. The NFL, which helped pay for New Meadowlands, would
pitch in for a shared stadium in Oakland.

Though no one from the
49ers or Raiders says it publicly,
several knowledgeable sources say the franchises have engaged in

This weekend would have been the perfect opportunity for the
commish to offer his input, with an interested audience, in one
room. How can Al and Jed afford not to listen?

Meanwhile, we can always envy New York, where fans in that area
know they will host the 2014 Super Bowl and have reason to imagine
a Giants-Jets Super Bowl even sooner.

Contact Monte Poole at mpoole@bayareanewsgroup.com .