NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said Thursday the league is willing to contribute funding to help build a stadium in Oakland to keep the Raiders in town.
Goodell said it is crucial that the Raiders improve their stadium situation. They currently play in the outdated Oakland Coliseum and have said they would like a more modern facility at the same location. There have been talks between the team and community officials but nothing concrete has happened.
“It’s our stage. It’s part of where we present our game. It’s the biggest part,” Goodell said. “It’s also really important to the fan experience. Having full stadiums is critical for us. We want to have our fans in the stadium, we want to make sure they have the best facilities, we want to make sure the teams can generate enough revenue to be successful and competitive.”
The league already contributed $200 million to help fund a new stadium for the San Francisco 49ers in Santa Clara. Goodell said the league would also be able to fund a stadium for the Raiders if a deal was reached.
He also said the Raiders could share the 49ers’ stadium when it is scheduled to open in 2014.
“The priority is what the community and the team work out,” Goodell said. “I think it’s a great benefit that there’s a stadium across the bay that’s going to be a state-of-the-art facility. That’s terrific. So that’s an option if this community and the Raiders choose that. But that’s a decision they have to make.”
There has been speculation the Raiders could return to Los Angeles if they don’t get their stadium situation resolved. Goodell said there is nothing new on moving a team to Los Angeles and it would take a three-quarters league vote for it to happen.
“It all comes down to a stadium solution,” he said. “If we can find the right kind of stadium solution, we’ll work on a team at that point.”
NO KICKOFFS IN FUTURE?
Goodell also said the league’s competition committee would consider in the offseason replacing the kickoff. The league previously had moved the kickoff from the 30 to 35-yard line to cut down on violent collisions.
Tampa Bay coach Greg Schiano suggested that instead of kickoffs, teams should have the option of punting from the 30-yard line and going for a first down in a fourth-and-15 situation. Schiano witnessed one of his players at Rutgers, Eric LeGrand, get paralyzed on a kickoff in 2010.
“I thought it was an interesting idea,” Goodell said. “The committee will look at it.”
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who has missed the last three weeks with a sprained right shoulder and dislocated rib, will start on Sunday against the San Diego Chargers. Roethlisberger said he felt “good” but declined to go into details. … The Bengals signed former Seahawks kicker Josh Brown to fill in for the injured Mike Nugent, who hurt his right calf. Brown played five seasons with Seattle and four with St. Louis. He kicked for the Jets in the exhibition season and was released on Aug. 27. … Bills offensive lineman Chris Hairston was put on injured reserve and will miss the rest of the season with a bruised right ankle.