NFL May Bribe Raiders, 49ers Into Shotgun Wedding

NFL set to make 49ers and Raiders an offer they can't refuse

By Joe Kukura
|  Wednesday, Sep 29, 2010  |  Updated 5:41 PM PDT
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The 2010 Laker Girls

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The Raiders and 49ers might start playing a lot closer to each other.

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Lost in the victory glow of the San Francisco 49ers' winning the Santa Clara stadium measure this week is the inconvenient issue of the 49ers still not having enough money to pay for this thing. Even with the $114 million in approved funds from Measure J, the San Jose Mercury news estimates the team is still about $493 million short on the overall tab.

They can't make that money off corporate naming rights or by selling Personal Seat Licenses. The new Santa Clara Stadium Authority gets all of that action, according to city documents obtained by the advocacy group Save Santa Clara.

So how will the 49ers plug a half-billion dollar hole in the ledger sheet? They'll turn to the NFL. The NFL is expected to come through with the the cash, but it might be contingent on moving the Oakland Raiders to Santa Clara.

"The NFL is not going to dictate that two teams share a stadium," a ranking NFL executive told the Mercury News, "But the NFL could make the financial assistance far more attractive to two teams sharing a stadium than for a one-team stadium."

The Raiders' lease at the Oakland Coliseum runs out in the next couple of years.

The NFL has long maintained that its G3 fund, the pile of money made available to franchises building new stadiums, has all been spent on the Cowboys and Giants-Jets stadiums.

This is technically true. But the league has the money, they just haven't allocated it toward stadiums yet.

Forbes estimates the NFL pulls in about $8 billion per year. You could probably find a couple hundred million in lost cash just by looking between the cushions in the couches of Roger Goodell's office.

The 49ers need no convincing. "Part of the term sheet says you can have two teams in this building," 49ers President Jed York told CBS Sports. "It's definitely something we've said we would explore, and it's something that, on the surface, makes sense to share the costs of a stadium like that."

The Raiders, seeing that the 49ers could use some help with the financing, are suddenly playing it off ice cold. Raiders CEO Amy Trask told the Mercury News that the Raiders would keep an "open mind" toward the idea.

Heterosexual guys, this sudden disinterest is sort of like what we do once we figure out that a girl likes us.

But even when you play it off legit, like the Raiders, you might still end up in a shotgun marriage.

Joe Kukura is a freelance writer who is dying for a shot at the couches in Roger Goodell's office.

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