ALAMEDA – Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio was not consulted about giving a home game away this season.
The NFL moved a prime matchup 1,270 miles away from Oakland Coliseum, scheduling the Raiders to play New England on Nov. 19 in Mexico City.
“It’s not thrilling for me to lose a home game, you know? That’s what it is,” Del Rio said Monday. “We’re losing a home game. But that’s what it is. I think I’ve already spent enough time talking about the number of the true road games that we’re going to play.”
Del Rio wasn’t happy about playing nine away from the East Bay, especially with his team's season hanging in the balance against the Super Bowl champs.
It also wasn’t the first time. The Raiders played Houston at Mexico City’s Azteca Stadium last year as well – they also played in London in 2014, before Del Rio’s time -- at the expense of his home slate.
“It’s a competitive disadvantage in my opinion – one that we’ve faced the last couple years and will face the next few years,” Del Rio said. “But that’s a league rule, that’s out of my domain. I don’t have any control over that.”
It has nothing to do with playing in Mexico City. The Raiders fared well there last year, with a dramatic victory over the Texans. They dealt with long travel and the altitude well, flying in on Sunday for a Monday night game.
“We’re going to take the challenges that are in front of us and plan and do the very best we can within those situations,” Del Rio said. “We establish our approach and look to find every advantage we can to do it as well as possible. I think certainly having success doing it last year kind of validates that a little bit. To me, you have to strain for it every year. You have to strain for the details of what makes it special.”
While the Raiders are coming in late to stay out of the altitude, the Patriots are staying in it a long time. ESPN reports New England will stay in Colorado after playing Sunday in Denver to remain at elevation.