In a completely predictable outcome, the NFL owners overwhelmingly voted to allow the Oakland Raiders to move to Las Vegas, today.
The Las Vegas Raiders.
If there was ever a team made for popping the pro sports cherry of Sin City, it’s goddam Raiders.
This is the team known for The Snake, The Tooz, Dr. Death, The Assassin, (brief Packer great) The Mad Stork and (real Packer great) Chucky, after all.
Their former owner, the legendary Al Davis, regularly sued the NFL. Sometimes, he won. He also gave us the phrase, “Just win, baby!”
That’s a way of doing things I wish the Green Bay Packers would co-opt sometimes.
Davis’ son, Mark, who is responsible for finally getting out of the dump that is the Oakland Alameda Coliseum, has probably the worst haircut in the world.
In short, the Raiders just don’t give a fuck.
How many fucks given?
And while I feel like this is a totally appropriate move, I feel for those Oakland-based Raiders fans. Despite the fact that I’ve always been forced to contemplate my mortality when I’ve gone to a game in Oakland, I do think the Raiders have great fans.
They do it almost as well as Packers fans do.
Living in Los Angeles, I can tell you the Raiders are still the most popular team in town. Not the Rams, sure as hell not the Chargers. It’s still the Raiders, even though they were only here from 1982-94.
Are Oakland fans going to stick like that? I couldn’t tell you.
I imagine a lot of them are pissed and they have a right to be.
The simple fact of the matter is Oakland didn’t want to pay for a stadium. Frankly, Oakland shouldn’t have to. No city should have to pay for a stadium for an NFL team because the NFL and their owners (minus us, of course) are the richest group of old boys in this country.
Mark Davis is a bit of an exception, of course. His only job is to run the Raiders. He didn’t make a fortune doing something else and then bought the Raiders. He has no job other than “owner of the Raiders” and his old man gave that to him.
The NFL angle is a little more crappy for fans, though.
Las Vegas. What is Las Vegas?
An international destination.
What does putting one of your marquee franchises in Las Vegas do for the league? It helps to internationalize it.
Oakland isn’t sexy. It isn’t metropolitan. It isn’t a destination.
Las Vegas is. The Las Vegas Raiders are.
In this case, the NFL wins, the Raiders win and a lot of fans lose. It probably sucks even more if you’re a Raiders fan because, after years of ineptitude, the damn team was finally starting to return to form. But that’s how this cookie crumbles.
As for the Packers, they didn’t play Oakland that often, but there were at least two historic games.
There was Super Bowl II. The play I always think of in that game is Herb Adderley picking Daryle Lamonica and going to the house.
And then, of course, there was this badass gutting it out. Unlike the first game I mentioned, I actually saw this one — in fact, I vividly remember where I was and how it went down — and will never forget it.