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Chargers and Raiders scrub lightning bolts and flame from stadium design

Chargers and Raiders scrub lightning bolts and flame from stadium design
A view from outside the proposed NFL stadium in Carson, as seen in a rendering. (steelblue + MANICA)

A signature element is missing from the latest renderings of the $1.7-billion stadium the San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders want to build in Carson.

Previous plans called for a tower that extends 115 to 120 feet through and above the main concourse of the sleek, futuristic stadium. The tower's cauldron would change depending on the team: simulated lightning bolts shooting out of a glass ball for the Chargers and a massive flame in honor of legendary owner Al Davis when the Raiders play.

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But the eye-catching features aren't included in 18 images presented to NFL owners last week and made public Monday.

Stadium backers confirmed that the design elements have been scrubbed from the plans. No reason was given, other than the previous renderings, released in April, were preliminary in nature.

Instead, an enormous Lombardi Trophy replaces the lightning bolts and flames as a focal point of the stadium. Ten of the renderings include views of the silver trophy from various angles, topped by a larger-than-life football.

The concourse around the trophy's top has been reimagined as a 56,000-square-foot bar with sweeping views of the field.

The remainder of the stadium's design -- including flowing bands that wrap around the outside of the structure -- is largely unchanged.

The new renderings include views from luxury suites and a full-size community football field outside the proposed stadium that would be on the 168-acre site of a former landfill next to the 405 Freeway.

David Manica, president of Manica Architecture, the firm designing the stadium, previously described the open-air venue as "like a luxury sports car" and "very aerodynamic."

A brief video released Monday to promote the project described the stadium as "designed to be an instant classic." Narrated by actor Kiefer Sutherland, it touted an on-site campus for the NFL that would "power every important league initiative for the next 50 years" as well as a farmers' market and space for the "sacred ritual" of tailgating.

The video also showcased several premium seating options, including the field-level Directors Club and the Academy Suites, which feature a "club within a club."

Carson's City Council approved the privately financed project in April. No team has applied to relocate.

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