As expected, the NFL owners have voted to allow the Oakland Raiders to move to Las Vegas, and it was overwhelming: Adam Schefter first reported the vote was 31-1 in favor, with the Dolphins’ Stephen Ross the only holdout.
The Raiders are the third franchise in 14 months to relocate, following the Rams’ and Chargers’ moves to Los Angeles, all in attempts to escape from situations where taxpayers wouldn’t bail them out with fancy, publicly funded stadiums.
And if you’re wondering what smells around here, there’s plenty. Like the fact that just in the last couple of days, the cost of the Las Vegas Stadium suddenly and mysteriously got $200 million cheaper, just as an extra $200 million in public money was promised, making for a last minute swing of $400 million that owners weren’t about to say no to. Especially not after commissioner Roger Goodell shit on Oakland’s last-ditch effort to keep the team.
(Goodell, after today’s vote, claimed the NFL “worked as hard as we could” to keep the Raiders in Oakland.)
There’s more. Jerry Jones, the shadow commissioner and the most powerful person in the NFL when it comes to league-changing decisions like relocation, was again reported to be a prime driver of the Raiders to Vegas. Not for nothing, but that Vegas stadium will represent big revenues for Jones’s Legends Hospitality company.
The Raiders won’t move to Las Vegas until 2019, and it appears they’ll stay put the next two seasons at the Coliseum as a lame duck franchise. That’s going to be awkward, and cruel, but the league hasn’t once given a thought to its fans in Oakland, so why start now?