A Tale of Caution for the Las Vegas Raiders

Have I mentioned that yet? The Raiders are indeed leaving Oakland (again) to move to Las Vegas.

Tell me this is a good move.

Let me tell you of another team that moved from its home, due to political issues: the Washington Redskins. Team owner Jack Kent Cooke built a new stadium in Suburban Maryland, in a town called Landover, the former home of the Landover Mall. You have to understand this, Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium was a dump. It seated just about what the tarped Oakland Coliseum does now; 54,000. You understood that Washington’s fans were right on top of you there. They had the Hoggettes. They had the band playing “Hail to the Redskins” whenever they scored. It was a very intimate place to play football. It was not going to be a fun day for a visiting team in that place.

The Redskins were also a pretty good team. They had won three Super Bowls in a 12 year time span under head coach Joe “Jake” Gibbs.

When they left RFK Stadium, they basically lost whatever edge that team had as far as home field advantage. The team was already in steep decline. The fans were away from the field. Get this, the Raiders are moving to another state. The Redskins moved 15 miles! These were the same fans, they still had the band, but the ATMOSPHERE was totally different. If you’ve been in both of those stadiums, you know what I’m talking about, and you know it’s true. After Cooke’s death, Daniel (freaking) Snyder bought the team and set about making it a money making machine. The Redskins are now one of the most valuable teams in the league. Snyder increased the revenue streams into revenue rivers. 

Oh, did I mention the team sucks? Since 1999, the Redskins have played six playoff games. Three of them have been in Washington. They are 1-2 at home in the playoffs since the move from RFK.

In their tenure at RFK Stadium, Washington was 70 games over .500 during the regular season, with an 11-1 playoff record. 

Mark Davis is going to make a ton of money in Las Vegas. Still, his team isn’t going to have the same fan support there, no matter what. Raider Nation travels? So what? The fans aren’t going to be on top of the opposing team like they are in Oakland, even if they are the same fans. Opposing players aren’t going to be wasting time with fans screaming at them in pregame. Las Vegas police won’t turn the other way, like they do in Oakland when the fans give the other teams fans crap. Owners like Jerry Jones — how that guy got in the Pro Football Hall of Fame is a complete joke, a suck up of enormous proportions — look at skyboxes and think money in their pockets. So does BobMcNair. In the eyes of their fellow owners, they are successes no matter what their team does on the field because they are cashing in. For the fans, they just become disgruntled as their teams collapse.

You say, what about the Baltimore Ravens? They left a dump in Cleveland for a brand new stadium in Baltimore, and they won a Super Bowl in short order, right? Right. But Baltimore has a history as a gritty tough NFL town with some of the greatest teams and players in NFL history. They embraced the Ravens, and yes, Baltimore is a tough place to play. To their fans it was like the Colts came back with a different name and a real defense. They didn’t comp tickets to the visiting team’s fans, a certainty to happen in Vegas.  John Elway would have become a legend IF he had been drafted by Ozzie Newsome and the Ravens.

Have you noticed all the new stadiums look similar? 

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About bittersportspills

I love sports. I don't love the hype, homerism, ratings talk, self-important egomaniacs, bias or any of the other nonsense you get with the national media. Nor will you get the two clowns on sports talk radio who stage phony arguments. It doesn't make it entertaining. It makes it time to turn on your iPod and jam instead of listening to white noise generators. This is the sports blog for you, the ones who don't like everything Los Angeles or New York. Just because the sporting media is based there doesn't mean we have to like their teams. We do treat them fairly, though. That means if one of those cities has an average QB who plays particularly well...we'll note it. If they're garbage, we'll say so. Instead of crying "why, why, why" like a certain sports media homer did in his radio broadcast. This isn't my job...I have a real one. Nevertheless, I'll post here when I make an observation. Common sense in sports is nearly dead. Now we're attempting to bring it back.
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