The Raiders – Now You See Them, Now You Don’t

Raiders Set To Move To Las Vegas We came to know this team in part through its bold slogans. Pride and Poise. Commitment to Excellence. Just win, baby. But...

Raiders Set To Move To Las Vegas

We came to know this team in part through its bold slogans.

Pride and Poise. Commitment to Excellence. Just win, baby.

But the Raiders of the NFL deserve a new motto: Here today, gone tomorrow.

The NFL approved the shift of the Oakland Raiders to Las Vegas at its annual meeting in Phoenix on Monday. The Raiders. Who were born in Oakland. Who moved to Los Angeles. Who moved back to Oakland. And who are now headed for a patch of land somewhere at the end of the Strip in 2020.

Talk about your men in motion.
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The NFL generally kept a tight lid on franchise movement until the late Al Davis, the driving force behind the Raiders (and their owner) sued the league and won. Then it was franchise hopscotch. The Raiders and Rams bailed on Los Angeles in 1995, with the Rams ditching St. Louis after 21 years for (where else?) Los Angeles. The San Diego Chargers also moved to Los Angeles. And we’re not forgetting the Baltimore Colts, St. Louis Cardinals, Cleveland Browns, Houston Oilers and the myriad threats by teams through the years to take off for greener ($$$) pastures.

Las Vegas and financiers can do what Oakland cannot – build a stately pleasure dome for the Raiders. And so they will. Thirty-one
of the 32 clubs approved of the move; the Miami Dolphins voted no to express their concern about the league’s too-frequent use of moving vans and too little care about deeply-moved fans.

Money talks and franchises walk. There’s no question Oakland’s stadium is an archaic dump. There’s no question that Oakland fans have been badly used in the past and will be again. The Raiders do have to play somewhere until the new stadium is built and they have a pair of one-year options on their current home in Oakland. Will their fans show up? Here’s what owner Mark Davis said: “We know that some fans will be disappointed and even angry, but we hope that they do not direct that frustration to the players, coaches and staff.”

Wow. At least in Caesar’s day, all of gall was divided into three parts. Can you believe it?

So here’s how it works. The NFL backs up two trucks. One is an armored car, for all the new money. The other? That takes the team to a new city and new fans, and away from its roots, its history and its tradition. It follows the money truck.

In your best and most sonorous voice, repeat with me: This is the NFL. This is the NFL. This is the NFL. Say it when the NFL tells you how important its fans are. Say it when your team leaves town.
 
 
Post By: Larry Weisman, a longtime sportswriter for USA TODAY, blogs for Twistity.com. Follow him on Twitter @MrLarryWeisman

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