NFL reportedly checking Chargers-Raiders venue options as California wildfires rage
Whenever a natural disaster is unfolding in the country, the biggest concern is the health and safety of the people who live in the area. A secondary concern is how to handle any local football games, but it remains something the NFL focuses on.
That’s happening in California right now, where more than 170,000 acres of land have been burned as a result of widespread wildfires.
And it is possible that the NFL could ultimately move the Chargers-Raiders game, set for Sunday afternoon in Oakland. According to Tim Kawakami of the The Athletic San Francisco, the NFL has looked into potentially moving the game to Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara. The 49ers are scheduled to travel east and play the Redskins on Sunday.
The issue here is that the air is full of smoke. During Raiders offensive coordinator Todd Dowling’s press conference on Thursday, you could see visible ash floating through the air.
Raiders running back Jalen Richard was wearing a mask underneath his helmet to mitigate the smoke in the air.
Richard wasn’t alone — wide receiver Michael Crabtree was another player spotted wearing a mask during practice.
According to the NFL, as of right now the game is still a go for Sunday in Oakland, but the league is absolutely keeping an eye on the air quality surrounding the area in order to make sure things are safe.
As Michael Gehlken of the Las Vegas Review-Journal noted, there is precedent with the league moving a game because of wildfires in the past, and these are taking place just about 40 miles south of where Oakland is currently practicing.
The weather has created issues for the Raiders’ practice schedule so far this week. And it’s a dangerous, fluid and unpredictable situation. The biggest thing to worry about is the health and safety of those in the path of the wildfires. But there will be lots of people traveling to the game, and the NFL has to worry about the safety of those people too, as it relates to the air quality in the football game.
Don’t be surprised if the league moves it, especially with two teams who are already battling fluid situations when it comes to their home stadiums. The San Diego mayor has volunteered to help out too, which would be a fun little option. Even though more Raiders fans would probably show up there too.