Greetings, Raider fans! Today is a day of mourning for Raider fans, because as soon as they have a team which is on top of the AFC West they have the rug pulled out from under them with the news that the Raiders will almost certainly be leaving town.
I'm here to tell you why this is an awful idea and will be bad for the Raiders and their fans.
1) The Raiders belong in Oakland
This is an indisputable law of nature. The rough, rebellious Raiders are a perfect fit for the tough blue-collar city of Oakland, which prides itself on being a little bit different than its more glamorous neighbors. It's no coincidence that fans all around the world love and identify with the Raiders and their pirate image- it resonates with people on a primal level. The City of Oakland encapsulates this spirit like no other place. I was born in Oakland and consider myself a scion of the Bay Area. The Raiders are a big part of my personal identity.
Ripping the Raiders away from Oakland again is morally wrong. The fans have never wavered in their support of the team and have showed up for bad season after bad season to an awful stadium to cheer this team on. They do this out of love and devotion. They do this because the Raiders are part of the fabric of the city in a way few other teams can claim. To move this team now, right before their moment of triumph, is to spit in the face of its loyal fans and rob them of the cathartic reward for all the years of suffering through bad football.
It's a lot like what happened to Cleveland- they had been bad or average for years, they finally put together a decent coaching staff and a great defense, and they moved to Baltimore and changed their name and identity. The Ravens fans got to see the Super Bowl win that rightly belonged to Cleveland. Will Las Vegas see the Super Bowl win that rightly belongs to Oakland?
2) Las Vegas is a tourist town that has never supported a pro sports franchise
How can we even be sure Las Vegas will support the Raiders? Vegas is a melting pot of all sorts of different people from all over the country, and is one of the seediest places you'll find. It's based on gambling, prostitution, Pawn Stars and Celine Dion. Is this really the best place for an NFL team to set up shop?
It's also incredibly hot, and the fans may not want to go outside on a Sunday afternoon when it's 118 degrees. This is why the Cardinals got a
spaceship domed stadium. Oakland's weather is generally pleasant. Vegas' weather is stark and extreme. A retractable roof is certainly in order here. Will the Raiders still want to wear black jerseys in this kind of heat?
3) Getting to the games is going to suuuuuuuuuuuuck
Many years ago, Penn and Teller created a video game called Desert Bus. The object of the game was to drive a school bus from Tuscon, Arizona to Las Vegas. The drive takes eight hours, and you cannot pause the game. It is the worst game ever made, and was never officially released, although the magic duo did let some people play it for a charity event a few years back. It is the worst game ever because there is fuck-all between Tuscon and Vegas but eight hours of desolation.
Los Angeles to Vegas on Route 66 is much like this. It is a wasteland of dust, tumbleweeds and cow shit. It's like driving through northern Nevada, except without all the civilization. Oakland to Vegas is even worse- you have to drive down to LA from Oakland and then turn east and then endure the LA-LV haul. That's an eight-hour trek. Blecch. Flying there is going to be your best option, and any time you get in an airplane you have a non-zero chance of plummeting to a fiery death. What a way to ruin your vintage Ben Davidson jersey.
4) The Raiders virtually ignored the Lott Group's proposal
Wasn't Ronnie Lott going to buy the Coliseum and tear it down or something? What happened to that? I understand that Mark Davis was pledged to Las Vegas and he had to be for this vote to get done, but I think he at least owed Lott a listen. Unless he did, and the ideas were stupid. That's entirely possible. Ronnie Lott took his fair share of blows to the head.
But it didn't seem like this was ever a serious consideration for the Raiders. They'd waited years for investors to come along so the City could put something together, and the second they have serious investors they bolt. That sounds pretty shady to me. Perhaps it was too little, too late and it was certainly bad timing after the Vegas vote was on the docket. Perhaps if the Lott group had come together two years ago it might have worked. In any case, the people of Oakland were robbed of what might have been a good option for renewal of the Coliseum grounds, which will now likely simply fall into decay after the A's get a new stadium.
5) The Niners will now own the Bay Area football market
Sure, Raider games will still be shown. Raiders gear will still be sold. But the Niners, who may be the worst-run franchise in football, are poised to completely own one of the largest media markets on Earth. That's a loss for everyone. The sorry play of the Niners will ruin Bay Area football for generations to come. At least fans in Ohio have the Bengals close by to distract them from how bad the Browns are. Bay Area fans will have the Chargers and Rams. God help you all.