Hey, Bron­cos, are you ready for some foot­ball (in Las Ve­gas)?

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - Kiz: Kiz: Kiz: Jhab­vala: Jhab­vala:

Duh Rai-duhs are go­ing to Ve­gas. OK, they’ve not mov­ing to the City of Sin un­til their new home is built. Un­til then, fran­chise owner Mark Davis has the nerve to ask die-hard fans to sup­port him in Oak­land. Af­ter years of be­ing the worst team in the AFC West, the Raiders are leav­ing when they fi­nally get good. That stinks.

Stinks in­deed. Oak­land was one of my fa­vorite road trips (this is about me!). I’m guess­ing I’m in the mi­nor­ity of folks who have no de­sire to travel to Las Ve­gas (no of­fense, Ve­gas). The move seemed in­evitable, es­pe­cially af­ter NFL com­mis­sioner Roger Good­ell pretty much told the mayor of Oak­land: “So sorry. Game over.” Davis is fool­ing him­self if he truly be­lieves the Raiders won’t be viewed as a lame-duck team in Oak­land, and he’s fool­ing him­self if he be­lieves th­ese next cou­ple of years will fly by.

I love the Black Hole. Yes, it’s a dump. But the place has soul, filled with noisy peo­ple dressed in cos­tumes. It’s the foot­ball ver­sion of Mardi Gras. Las Ve­gas is built out of plas­tic by the money of losers. Maybe the Bron­cos shouldn’t care. They now have the best home-field ad­van­tage in AFC West by far. For the fore­see­able fu­ture, win­ning on the road against the Raiders, as well as the Charg­ers, should be eas­ier. Jhab­vala: I think the Raiders’ im­pend­ing move will rev up Raiders Na­tion even more. I love the atmosphere there. But I worry the hard feel­ings of the team’s de­par­ture could make it too dan­ger­ous to ap­pre­ci­ate. But the Raiders’ fan base is in­cred­i­bly loyal, and Davis might be right in think­ing it’ll fol­low the team to Ve­gas.

Here’s the dan­ger for the NFL, and it’s as real as the dam­age con­cus­sions have done to play­ers. The league doesn’t care about the wel­fare of fans, as any­body in St. Louis, San Diego or Oak­land could tell you. The pri­mary pur­pose of an NFL sta­dium is as a tele­vi­sion stu­dio, rather than a place for the com­mu­nity to gather. For a stack of chips in Ve­gas, NFL own­ers sold the Raiders’ soul. Rip out the hearts of fans too of­ten, and they will stop car­ing about the league.

The NFL is about money and the money will al­ways come be­fore safety or fans, no mat­ter what the league says or tries to do to make you be­lieve oth­er­wise. Just look at its his­tory. Re­lo­ca­tion is about money, and the Raiders’ exit from Oak­land has made many own­ers even richer. For years the NFL and other pro leagues were adamant about not mov­ing to Ve­gas be­cause of gam­bling. But at the right price, any­thing is pos­si­ble.

Labor union mem­ber Geral­dine Lacy on Mon­day cel­e­brates in Las Ve­gas af­ter NFL team own­ers ap­proved the Raiders’ fu­ture move. John Locher, The As­so­ci­ated Press

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.