Friday, April 29, 2016

Get Ready For....The Las Vegas Raiders

by JASmius

Well, I promised a more palatable afternoon palate-cleanser than Kim jong-Un's "pleasure squad," and I think I've found it - although I'm not sure that it might not give the Director a bout of heartburn:

Mark Davis was beaming as he posed with fans behind a black and silver “Las Vegas Raiders” banner. He made a few jokes before delivering a $500 million commitment to a new stadium in the city for his team.

Then the owner of the Raiders got serious about the prospects of getting fellow NFL owners to allow him to move from Oakland to a city the league has long shunned because it has legal sports betting.

“Let’s give them an offer they can’t refuse,” Davis said. “They’re going to approve it based on that.”

Little more than an idea a few months ago, the possibility of the Raiders moving to Las Vegas inched a bit closer to reality Thursday when Davis appeared before a stadium commission to not only pledge to move the Raiders to the city, but put $500 million into the $1.4 billion facility that would house the team.

I know, because he's told me on many occasions, that the Director wants the Raiders to remain in Oakland, believes they belong there and should stay there.  If they were going to move, I'm not sure what destination he would consider to be acceptable or even tolerable.  Vegas is 40% closer to his domicile than is Oakland, so that would be a favorable factor.  He does not, to my knowledge, gamble, but I'm reasonably sure he would enjoy the Star Trek Expeience, which is rumored to be returning to Sin City later this year after an eight-year absence, so that would also be a point in Vegas's favor.  And then there are all the buffets to make his feet even less visible.  I'll have to ask him tomorrow,

As to the NFL, I don't think a lot of imagination is required to picture their likely reaction, which is pretty much the entirety of why Mark Davis is proving himself to be a blackmailing chip off the old block.  This, in fact, several-ups his late father Al, who only used L.A. as a sledgehammer against the league's one time virtual ban on franchise relocation.

Key to that gambit was the fact that the elder Davis moved the Raiders southward without league approval and used that act of defiance as the grounds for an anti-trust lawsuit against the league to trying to stop him that he eventually won.  In this case, #1 son is more likely trying to use a Las Vegas move as leverage to get the same kind of plumb Bay Area stadium deal that the 49ers got from Santa Clara that became "the Big Bell Bottom":(i.e. Levi's Stadium).  But how much leverage would that threat really give him?  There's a reason why major pro sports leagues keep the home of legal sports betting at arm's-length, after all, and it's pretty much self-explanatory: the integrity of the game.  The NFL has never even played an exhibition game in Las Vegas, and the last time any pro football league did so, it was the AFL in 1964, a preseason contest between the Houston Oilers and the....Oakland Raiders.  If Mark Davis followed in all his old man's footsteps, it might just backfire on him because the league might well have a stronger case for blocking that move.

In any case, to the degree that a planned Raiders move was bona fide, Davis the Younger has to take at least part of the blame for getting beaten to the punch by the now-Los Angeles Rams, who pulled the relocation trigger first.  Ditto the (hated by Raiders fans) San Diego Chargers and the Spanos family.  The rest of the NFL fandom universe was looking at the comical prospect of Los Angeles going from having had no NFL franchises over over twenty years to having three at the same time.  The Rams are going to be residing at the old L.A. Memorial Coliseum for the time being.  A second relocated franchise might have played at Angel Stadium (where, ironically, the Rams used to play before they moved to St. Louis in 1994).  Where would a third one have moved in?  The Rose Bowl?  I can't imagine coordinating with UCLA would have been without complications.

I guess that's the OTHER reason why Mark Davis rang up Sin City.

Exit question: Would Raiders cheerleaders wear big, gaudy headdresses, a smile, and....nothing else?

UPDATE: The Raider's second-round draft pick is an Illinois defensive end named....Jihad (Ward).

Yes, we'll definitely be talking football tomorrow.

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