The NFL is rolling the dice on Vegas by sending the Raiders to the desert, making them the second team this offseason to make a change of venue.
In the last two years, three teams have changed cities starting with the St. Louis Rams headed back to Los Angeles in 2016. Then, the San Diego Chargers joined the Rams, followed by the Vegas move which will happen after the 2018 season has concluded. The NFL commissioners voted on the move Monday with a 31-1 pass.
While there are promises of this being a lucrative market, some remain speculative, especially the Oakland fans who have just learned of the loss of their team.
“My first reaction was shock,” said long-time Raiders fan Brennen Scarborough on his reaction to the news. “As someone who grew up only watching them in Oakland, and progress from a 4-12 team up to an 11-5 playoff team, it is disappointing to see them leave Oakland.”
There are a lot of concerns from fans on the move. Primarily, Oakland is losing a team, a team that had a great fan base when the team was disastrous, and now when the team is coming back around a young nebulous this move happens. There also lie the other problems. How will this young roster perform after a move? Does this spurn their upward trend? Does this throw a wrench in a trending playoff team?
“I think it sort of does,” said Scarborough about the team transition. “Derek Carr is a California guy, very used to playing in front of a California scene after playing college at Fresno State, so transition will be an adjustment. I’m also worried about young players with lots of money living in Vegas. It’s on the coaching staff now to keep them focused and disciplined.”
Quarterback Derek Carr also shared his thoughts via twitter the day after the move was announced. Offering up how emotional a time this was for him and Raider Nation, as they left one crowd to head to another.
“While I am from California and would have loved playing in Oakland my whole career, I understand the business side of the NFL,” said Carr. “It affects all of us. Oakland, our team loves you, and my family and I love you. WE will be resilient and WE stay together because that is what true Raiders do.”
Although the Raiders have not officially moved to 2019 they have made the decision, making this the first time that the NFL has moved two teams in the same year. While some may question this as a reason to have concern about the priorities of the NFL, moving a team with a solid fan-base and home game atmosphere to a town where the fans are nomadic.
“While it is important to keep in mind that the NFL is a business and need to stop thinking about revenue, it is concerning that they would mess with a team that has such a solid fan-base and revenue, even when they are doing bad,” concluded Scarborough.
He and other long-time Raider fans he told me he has talked with are alarmed that the motivation to move yet another team seemed to be based solely on money, especially when the Chargers were a viable option and they are the team with the struggling revenue stream.