The San Francisco 49ers will square off against the Oakland Raiders this season, marking the first matchup since 2014. It is also the first time the 49ers have hosted the Raiders since the 2011 preseason game that was marred by numerous fights, and resulted in the cancellation of the preseason series.
This year’s matchup will feature two teams that enter the season with a lot of buzz. The 49ers are coming off a 2017 season in which they won six of their last seven games, and saw Jimmy Garoppolo emerge as a potential franchise quarterback. The Raiders had a highly disappointing season, but have since hired Jon Gruden as their head coach.
There has been a lot of chatter about potentially putting the 49ers-Raiders regular season matchup into a prime time slot. Some have even suggested it could be one of the Monday Night Football games to open the season.
It makes a lot of sense, but it would also be a rarity. AP sports writer Josh Dubow offered this intriguing note about all LA, NY, and Bay Area NFL contests over the years.
There have been 26 all LA, all NY or all Bay Area games played and only 1 was ever in prime time: #Raiders vs Rams on 12/23/85 at Anaheim— Josh Dubow (@JoshDubowAP) January 12, 2018
That doesn’t mean we won’t see this happen in 2018, but it would be quite the rare occurrence. That being said, given the optimism both fan bases have right now, this makes a lot of sense as a prime time affair.