The NFL doesn't need any help digging into people's pockets. It also does not deserve suggestions that bail it out of the messes it creates for itself.

So consider this a gift.


If the league has to weasel out of its two-year minimum stay in Oakland before the Extortion Palace of Las Vegas opens, it might as well take the lame-duck Raiders completely away from their lame-duck fans and weasel them all the way south, over the border … and into Mexico City.

The preceding series of animal metaphors were brought to you by the most savage, uncivilized sports league in American history, the unholy spawn of King Kong and Godzilla. It now adds Oakland to St. Louis and San Diego as cities the beast has squashed.

Yet, in wreaking havoc in its home country, the NFL either inadvertently or intentionally has opened a door to testing the waters for a full-time team playing a full season as an international franchise. The league keeps dipping deeper into London — next season, after three straight seasons of three games a year, London will host four — and strengthening the ties between one of its teams, the Jaguars, and that city.

The Raiders are starting to be that team for Mexico City, now that another home game is scheduled there in 2017. This time they'll "host" the Super Bowl champion Patriots; last season, they hosted the Texans, whose fans also traveled well and were a natural draw for a game there.

The Raiders, to their credit, fully embraced last year’s game; having Olympic hero Tommie Smith return to the city where he won his gold medal (and raised his fist on the victory stand) to light the pre-game torch was an inspired touch.

Moments like that are the kinds that are remembered fondly when the taste of the team’s latest abandonment of Oakland gets too sour. So is the entire Raiders season last year, their return to contention after a drought that severely tested the Oakland faithful — and, of course, was rewarded with the Las Vegas defection.