There’s been plenty of buzz about NFL teams relocating over the past few years, with the Oakland Raiders seemingly chief among them.
Three football teams battled for the right to abandon their fans and outdated stadiums last season, with the St. Louis Rams ultimately winning the right to move to Los Angeles for the 2016 campaign over the Raiders and San Diego Chargers.
But while the outcry from both Chargers and Raiders fans has been just loud enough to warrant pause, it seems Raiders owner Mark Davis has his eyes (and ears) on the prize he seeks: Las Vegas.
The Raiders released an official team statement Friday afternoon that implies a move is less “if” and more “when.”
“I would like to thank Governor (Brian) Sandoval, the Southern Nevada Tourism Infrastructure Committee, and the members of the Nevada Legislature on this historic day,” Davis said in the release. “All parties have worked extremely hard to develop and approve this tremendous stadium project that will serve as a proud new home for the entire Raider Nation.”
That certainly sounds like the team is moving — or at least that Davis is tone deaf enough to assume that he’ll get the relocation he so desires — even without any type of official approval from the league itself.
It’s not a bad strategy, though, as arrogant as it potentially comes off — Rams owner Stan Kroenke bought land in the Los Angeles area years ago and worked with developers to come up with potential plans and approvals before he got the opportunity to bring football back to the second-largest market in America. That likely played a big role in the Rams being awarded the new L.A. franchise and moving there so quickly this season while the new property is built.
Still, the manner in which this statement arrives is odd and something the Raiders clearly wanted to sneak under the radar on a slow Friday afternoon given the lack of publicity the story has gotten.
Thumbnail photo via Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports Images