Gunnar Sadowey, Staff Writer
Birmingham City Council President William Parker has reached out to the NFL’s Oakland Raiders about the possibility of the franchise playing during the 2019 season at Legion Field in Birmingham.
According to the Birmingham City Council, the city would partner with Tucson, Arizona in an effort to host the Raiders for the 2019 season as their new stadium in Las Vegas undergoes construction.
The Raiders are involved in a legal dispute with the city of Oakland as a result of the relocation process and do not have a current home as their lease with the Oakland Coliseum has expired.
As talks with other stadiums in the Bay Area that could host the 2019 season have failed, Raiders officials have delayed plans of announcing their new home, which they originally publicized would be completed by the end of January.
The San Francisco 49ers, located just over 16 miles away from the Oakland Coliseum, have also refused to waive their rights to allow the Raiders to play at Oracle Park in 2019, forcing the franchise to look beyond the state of California for a new home.
Birmingham and Tucson were two cities that quickly offered the Raiders a spot to play their upcoming NFL season.
In a news release issued directly to the Arizona Daily Star, if successful, the two cities plan to split the hosting duties throughout the entire 2019 season.
Both cities and stadiums have football histories that date back to the first half of the 19th century.
Legion Field’s history can be traced back to its first game, featuring Howard College (now Samford University) and Birmingham-Southern College in 1927.
On the other hand, Arizona Stadium has remained the home of the Arizona Wildcats football team since 1929.
However, when compared to Arizona Stadium, Birmingham’s Legion Field has a larger capacity by 14,100 seats.
In the modern time period, UAB’s football team, along with the Alliance of American Football’s Birmingham Iron now call Legion Field home.
As a result of the situation, Councilor Parker believes that Birmingham is the perfect fit for the Raiders.
In a news release issued by the Birmingham City Council, Parker became excited discussing the possibility of having a football team to cheer for on Sundays in Birmingham.
“We’re a football town with grit. I can’t think of a better place for the Raiders to land this year,” said Parker. “We want to make this happen.”
Additionally, Parker praised football enthusiasts and offered a challenge to the loyal fans of Alabama’s NCAA teams.
“If a college team in Alabama can sell out every game, can you imagine how excited they would be to have a team to cheer for on Sundays?” said Parker. “Birmingham is ready to be a part of Raider Nation.”
Birmingham’s City Council and football fans can remain hopeful that the chance of the NFL returning to the city is no longer an aspiration but a genuine reality.