Members of the stadium and finance committees met Wednesday at league headquarters and focused primarily on the Raiders’ interest in Las Vegas — and conspicuously not on the San Diego situation.
“There was really little to no discussion on the topic of the Chargers, other than for us to make sure that the membership had the latest reports from the public authorities and so forth,” NFL Executive Vice President Eric Grubman said.
The only movement on the San Diego front was Commissioner Roger Goodell extending the Chargers’ relocation deadline by two days, until Tuesday, so it wouldn’t conflict with Sunday’s playoff games or the Martin Luther King holiday on Monday.
The Chargers did not attend Wednesday’s meeting, which lasted 3½ hours.
“Dean’s got a decision to make here,” Pittsburgh Steelers owner Art Rooney II said of Chargers owner Dean Spanos. “We know there’s been discussions with the public sector, and I don’t want to speculate on whether he’s ready to make a decision.”
Speculation came to a boil in league circles, though, about why the deadline was extended. Does it mean Spanos has not made up his mind on whether to move, as his club’s one-year option to join the Rams is set to expire? Will the league pledge more money, on top of the $300 million it has offered, to bridge the funding gap for a stadium in San Diego?
So far, there’s no indication of that.
“We’re not in discussions on anything else besides what’s been on the table,” Rooney said.
The Chargers can announce Spanos’ decision any time before the Tuesday deadline. Any significant extension would be subject to the vote of the full ownership.
Stephen Jones, general manager of the Dallas Cowboys, called San Diego “a great NFL market.”
“It’s just a tough stadium situation right now that everybody is trying to work through,” he said. “I know it’s agonizing for Dean and the Spanos family, and obviously a tough situation for them.”
Jones said that if there is a solution that might keep the team in the market, he is confident the league is creative enough to find it.
“I think we’ve got great thinkers, obviously leadership at the top with Roger and his staff,” Jones said. “There’s great leadership and thinkers in the membership that work hard for the betterment of the league, and not just their own franchise. Of course, this is important to everybody that we get this right.”
The Raiders, who lost Saturday in the first round of the playoffs, had to wait until their season ended to announce any plans to relocate. They have yet to make that announcement, although everything points to owner Mark Davis doing so. He arrived at Wednesday’s meeting in a white satin Raiders jacket and matching cap, but wore a gray suit once he was inside.
A relocation vote on the Raiders is not expected before the annual league meetings in March. The Chargers already have approval to move, so no vote is required.
“There were no votes today,” Grubman said. “There were no straw votes today, no indication of hands, no polling.”
Grubman said there has been no progress on the stadium front in Oakland.
“We continue to be in touch with the Oakland authorities whenever they want to talk. We’ve been in touch with Fortress at their request several times,” he said of the New York-based investment group backing Ronnie Lott’s bid for an Oakland stadium. “In the absence of that, there’s been no change.”
The committees heard a presentation on potential Las Vegas relocation fees, although no specific amount was discussed. Casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson has been pushing for a Raiders move, and reportedly a stake in the franchise, but there was no agreement involving Adelson presented to owners at the meeting.
“I think the Raiders are looking at this potentially going without Mr. Adelson,” Rooney said. “The timing of that is still up in the air.”