For many Oakland residents, it seems to be a reoccurring nightmare.
It all started 57 years ago. When the team had original plans to be named the ‘Oakland Seniors’ (thank goodness). The 1960 season was the first for the Oakland franchise. One that saw Eddie Erdelatz as the team’s first head coach. A 1-15 season was the result but the bigger picture was already painted. The Raiders belonged to Oakland.
Once Al Davis became the head coach and general manager in 1962, the Raiders turned a new page. Winning the 1967 AFL Championship launched the Raiders into Super Bowl II. Although they lost to the Green Bay Packers, the stage was set for the Oakland Raiders to be a prominent figure within the National Football League.
Fast forward to 1982 and the Raiders were embedded within the limelight. Only this time, it was to depart from their first home. Not for a road game, but for good. By the time the season kicked off, the Raiders called Los Angeles ‘home’. At first it seemed for life.
The breakup was not permanent. The city of Oakland and the Raiders organization reconciled on June 23, 1995. All was good in ‘Oaktown’ once again.
That was until March 27, 2017. When the city of Oakland lost it’s only professional football team, again. This updated move is not destined for an in-state relocation. Next stop for the Raiders? Las Vegas, Nevada. A city known for legal gambling and marijuana. Coincidentally, a team known for outlaw-like imagery now locates to a city with the nickname of ‘Sin City’.
Am I in favor of the move? Not entirely. It is understandable that the Raiders desired to have a new stadium built after sharing the same facility with MLB’s Oakland Athletics since 1995. One would have thought that the gift of a new stadium was inevitable in the city of Oakland. Which would have kept a storied franchise in solidarity for years and years to come.
Instead, current owner Mark Davis has other plans in mind. Davis wanted to have his own stamp on the franchise as he is following in the shadows of his legendary father. After years of his father fighting to provide a new stadium, Davis accomplished the mission. Yet, he did it in a manner that gave the Oakland natives a swift punch to the gut.
Although I’m not in favor of the move entirely, it is somewhat a logical one. The Raiders can firmly establish themselves within Las Vegas and stand out considerably if the wins are consistent. All while making Davis look like a pure genius.
Plans are in place as the Raiders will not play in Las Vegas until the 2019 season at the earliest. Which makes the 2017 and 2018 seasons even that more interesting for the organization. As if the fan backlash was not already ignited, knowing the inevitable for two straight seasons may be an even tougher pill to swallow for Raiders Nation.
Maybe a slight pinch of pessimism is present, but this has the makings of a disaster. Las Vegas is gorgeous city. There is a reason that it is one of the most popular cities in United States. It is a popular tourist attraction for many abroad. However, this city now houses a professional football team. As if the league is not already dealing with a bothersome epidemic with off-the-field issues, it now takes on this.
As for the city of Oakland, it’s another slap in the face. The Raiders once again turned their back on the city that gave them the opportunity to emerge. The legendary Davis once stated the quote “Just win, baby” prior to the Raiders victory in Super Bowl XVIII. Vegas definitely won. As did Mark Davis. The same can’t be said for a city without an NFL team for the second time.