Inside Slant

The Sports Xchange

December 20, 2018 at 1:01 pm.

Is Monday night sayonara to Oakland?

The Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum was built specifically for the Oakland Raiders in the mid-1960s, but come Monday night against the Denver Broncos they might play their last game there.

Owner Mark Davis is moving the Raiders to Las Vegas in 2020, and since the city of Oakland recently sued his team and the rest of the NFL over the move, he is looking for another venue for his team next season.

The Coliseum has not aged so well, with a sub-standard plumbing system in its restrooms and even locker rooms, so much so that C.C. Sabathia of the New York Yankees recently took his shots at the stadium.

“It sucks as a fan because I’m from the Bay Area and we’re losing a team, but as an athlete, I know what that Coliseum is like and it’s disgusting in there,” said Sabathia, who grew up as a Raiders fan in nearby Vallejo.

And then there is the white elephant that is the massive upper deck on the East end of the stadium known as Mt. Davis, which sits unoccupied for every game, and the soggy playing field, which can be wet even during a drought because it sits below sea level and water seeps up from below.

However, the Oakland fans (and some Raiders) still love the stadium, because it remains a good place to watch a game because of its excellent sight lines, and because it is their own.

“I’ve spent five years playing in the stadium and we have people talking trash about it, but I love it,” said quarterback Derek Carr of the only home stadium he has known as a pro.

“It’s ours. It has been fun, and the fact that it could be the last (game) is crazy. When that time comes, we’ll enjoy it.”

Head coach Jon Gruden, who is in second stint with the Raiders, got his first head coaching job from Al Davis in 1992.

Gruden routinely hobnobs with the fans in the notorious “Black Hole” behind the South end zone before games and after Oakland victories, which have been rare in this 3-11 season.

“I get emotional about it,” Gruden told reporters this week. “Hopefully, we get it all resolved to where we can continue to play here (next season). … It’s going to be a great atmosphere, Monday night, Christmas Eve, Denver coming to town. I get excited thinking about it.

“It’s a real football stadium. It’s dirt, grass. It’s got tradition. It’s where some of the best games in the history of football have been played. It’s where some of the best players in the history of the world played football games at. There are a lot of (great) things that happened in that stadium.”

Most of them for the Raiders.

And opposing teams have known over the years what they are going to get from the rabid Oakland fans, and that hasn’t changed much in this lame-duck season.

“It’s going to be live out there,” Broncos cornerback Bradley Roby said this week. “The fans are going to be into it. They’re always into it, especially when they play us. It being Monday night, last game there, I’m sure it’s going to be like a playoff game.”

One last time.

SERIES HISTORY: 117th regular-season. Raiders lead series, 62-52-2, including 14 in a row between 1965-71. The Broncos won eight straight between 2011-15, and rallied from a 19-7 deficit to beat the Raiders, 20-19, on a 36-yard field goal by Brandon McManus on the last play of the game in Week 2 this season in Denver. In the post-season, the Broncos beat the Raiders, 20-17, in the 1977 AFC Championship Game to reach their first Super Bowl. The Raiders trounced the Broncos, 42-24, in the 1993 wild-card game.