The thought of the Oakland Raiders becoming the Las Vegas Raiders was originally blown off as nothing more than a publicity stunt. A statement from the Vegas mayor, a pledge of $500M from Mark Davis, and the softening on the NFL's stance against Vegas has made everybody officially take this notion seriously.
Even Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones came out in support of “the right owner” having their NFL team in Sin City. We saw at the Owners Meeting which ultimately decided on the Rams moving to Los Angeles that what Jerry Jones says means something very large in the NFL. Here is what he had to say about an NFL team moving to Las Vegas, according to The Sports Xchange:
“As you well know, you have to have the right situation. You have to have the right ownership, want to and then a lot of other considerations that have to come into play. For me, I think that certainly the fact that Las Vegas has a gambling aspect to it is far overshadowed by the entertainment value, if you will, family appeal, that you have, the convention appeal. So it does not have disfavor with me, in my opinion, relative to being an NFL city.”
After that mic drop from Jerry Jones, the world truly took the idea of the Raiders heading to Vegas seriously. Who could blame them? Jerry is the NFL as far as many are concerned, and he just endorsed the City of Vegas big time. The question I have though is whether he actually endorsed the Raiders moving there.
It is clear that he endorses the NFL having a team in Vegas, and many agree that the idea of gambling being an impediment to a professional franchise there is going by the wayside compared to the money to be made. However, he said it had to be the right owner, and the right situation. No where in that did he specify his stance on whether Mark Davis was the right owner and the Raiders the right situation.
This may be nitpicking because the Raiders are clearly in a dire situation so how could they not be in the right situation for moving their franchise elsewhere. However, I just don't trust Jerry Jones when it comes to his opinion of Mark Davis as an owner. This comment at face value appeared to be support from Jones here, but what if he is just waiting to vote against Davis again.
The Raiders and Chargers were teamed up trying to get to LA and Jerry Jones came down with his hammer smashing that allegiance to pieces. The rumors had sounded positive that the NFL would choose the package that had two teams moving to LA, but then Jerry came up with his own option. What the two owners wanted be damned, one of them can move with Stan Kroenke if they want LA and that owner should not be Mark Davis.
The good ole' boys club is full of billionaires, not people like Mark Davis. He doesn't have the money, he doesn't seem to have the know how on how to make the most money for everyone in the NFL, and he just doesn't fit the image of an owner in the NFL. His hair, his Hooters obsession, and his lack of billions have him the odd man out.
What if this is another situation of Jerry Jones trying to undercut the Raiders and Mark Davis. There have long been rumors that the NFL would rather the Davis family sell their stake in their team to a more suitable owner, and that seems like something very Jerry to think as well.
Letting Mark Davis spurn his local community and set up another workable plan that gets wrenched away from him could very well cause the collapse of the Davis family ownership. Imagine how much of a fool Mark Davis would look to get a powerful billionaire (Sheldon Adelson) to help him, and a new city to embrace him, only to not be able to sway the NFL to allow him to move.
Sure, he could move them anyway like Al Davis did when the Raiders left Oakland the first time. However, there is no way to know for sure that he would have the funds to fight for that in the court system the way his dad would have. The NFL has the deepest pockets around, if Mark didn't have the capital for the long haul of that fight he wouldn't be able to win it.
Maybe Vegas uses their money to help, maybe Adelson uses his. Or, maybe it'd be the end of Mark Davis having any options left at all besides continuing to play in an inadequate Oakland Coliseum or to sell the team to someone who can build a stadium themselves. What if this supposed support from Jerry Jones is just a scheme to trap Davis in a situation he can't get out of?
I don't trust Jerry Jones, do you? If he wanted to paint Mark Davis into a corner to force him out of the league, tricking him into another failed attempt at relocating could very well work. Maybe Jerry really is fine with the Raiders being the team to take on Vegas, or maybe he is just waiting to stab Davis in the back again like he did before the LA Owners Meeting.