OAKLAND — NFL commissioner Roger Goodell was in Oakland on Thursday to participate in a roundtable discussion with three local football legends — John Madden, Howie Long and Ronnie Lott — and one notable old foe in former Broncos quarterback and current club executive vice president John Elway.
About 150 fortunate fans were able to ask questions of the panel, arranged to honor the 50th anniversary of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. All four of the men joining Goodell on the floor of Oracle Arena are in the Hall.
After the fan forum, Goodell spent a little time with local media. The main topic of conversation, not surprisingly, was the Raiders' quest for a new stadium. O.co Coliseum is one of the most decrepit facilities in the NFL. The Raiders have examined a couple of potential sites for a new stadium in the East Bay.
Oakland Raiders vs. Denver Broncos
Asked about the facility the 49ers are building in Santa Clara, Goodell again expressed his eagerness to see NFL teams share stadiums, but said it is ultimately up to those teams to work out the deals. The commissioner also held out hope for a new stadium in Oakland, noting that conditions have improved since his last visit to a Raiders game in October of 2010.
"I think the first thing is we now have a new collective bargaining agreement since we spoke, and I think that collective bargaining agreement in and of itself will be helpful because it does a great job of making sure the economics are balanced among all 32 teams, and of course the players," Goodell said. "And we also have got a new stadium funding mechanism in there that the league can provide up to $200 million of financing to a new stadium project."
Goodell later added that the NFL's having awarded construction money to the 49ers would not preclude a similar gift to the Raiders.
"Yes, we would do that," he said. "That's not something that's prohibited in the policy. We wouldn't look at that as double dipping. We'd look at that as getting stages built in the community, and we want to continue to do that."
Of course, there is no guarantee the Raiders' future will be in the Bay Area. They are among the teams rumored to be on the short list for a move to Los Angeles, should their former home — they played in L.A. from 1982 through 1994 — get a new stadium.
Where does the league stand on that project?
"Basically where we've been," Goodell said. "Unfortunately, we're still looking to make sure we have a stadium solution. It all comes down to a stadium solution. And if we can find the right kind of stadium solution, we'll work on a team at that point."