It’s official. One of the NFL’s most storied franchises is moving to Las Vegas. And how fitting it is that the misfit Raiders are relocating from Oakland to Sin City. This is a franchise whose all-time leading passer, Ken “The Snake” Stabler, was famous for reading his playbook next to the light of the jukebox. It just makes sense.
This team was made for Vegas. Like any gambler, the Raiders have won big at times only to lose it all the following week. Their history is an up-and-down selection of famous plays that draw both starry eyes and cringes from the fan base. There’s the Ghost to the Post, Sea of Hands, Holy Roller, the Immaculate Reception, and the infamous Tuck Rule play. That last one drives me to drinking.
Seriously though, what other team has won three Super Bowls and also had three relocations? The team has been more of a laughing stock lately than a serious contender but the Raiders have a history of legitimate success. They were the 1967 AFL Champions; three-time Super Bowl Champions in 1976, 1980, and 1983; fifteen-time division champions; and they’ve fielded twenty-two playoff teams. And yet, they’ve been moved from Oakland to Los Angeles, from Los Angeles to Oakland, and now, from Oakland to Las Vegas.
But maybe this is what the organization needs to get back to its winning ways. When the Raiders were at their best, they were a group of unwanted misfits. They were known for boozing, cheap escorts, and just flat out winning, baby. So what better place is there for such a group than the cesspool that is Las Vegas to find the mojo again? What could possibly go wrong in a city where open liquor is welcomed, where gambling is a matter of course, and where prostitution is legal?
What will become of the Las Vegas Raiders? My guess is it’ll turn out like any weekend in Vegas does. They’ll win here and there, get dazzled by the bright lights and free booze, and, ultimately, wind up hungover and filled with shame as they wonder where that Oakland tattoo came from.