The NFL announced Monday that the Raiders will move to Las Vegas, but that is not the end of this story in Oakland. No, it’s only the beginning.
“I think it will be a lot of anger, a lot of visceral emotion,” CBS Sports NFL insider Jason La Canfora said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney, anticipating fan reaction this season. “I think it will not dissipate. I think each week it may even escalate. I don’t see that it’s going to be tenable for more than a year… This is a little bit uncharted territory. The Browns, we had the situation in ’95 where it got out late in the season that they were going to be moving to Baltimore, and that was a pretty combustible situation. This, everybody knows going in (what’s going to happen). You can almost plan to make your statement in which week you want to make it and how you want to make it. I think security around Mark Davis is going to be a significant issue.”
The Raiders claim that they are open to remaining in Oakland through the 2019 season. La Canfora does not think that’s possible – or wise.
“I can’t imagine they’re there for more than one year,” he said. “I just don’t think that’s going to be realistic. The league has already sent one team of people to Boyd Stadium in UNLV recently, and there was a strong sense there was no way they could play there in 2017, but I would think by 2018 they’ll make every effort to have that (be) a realistic possibility. If that doesn’t work, they’ve internally talked about San Antonio as a temporary home for a year or so in the past. I’ve been told that the NFL has got feelers from the mayor and some people there that that wouldn’t be out of the question. We’ll have to see. But I think it’s going to be a series of eight brutal divorces played out over three months. Well, I guess it probably won’t be eight. Aren’t they back in Mexico City this year?”
Indeed, the Raiders will play the Patriots in Estadio Azteca in 2017.
“Whatever it turns out to be, seven regular-season games, whatever – it’s going to be bad,” La Canfora said.
Tiki Barber wondered why Oakland fans are as upset as they are. After all, everyone knew this was coming, so why such vitriol?
“I think it’s hard for them to get around the fact that Vegas went from being the ultimate pariah to now sitting at the penthouse,” La Canfora said. “These people have been through this team leaving a couple of times and coming back, and it’s the idea of how could Nevada really give this guy $750 million in free money? How could they (give) this group of 31 billionaires, or close to it, that kind of capital to build something when there’s so many other pressing needs. That wasn’t going to happen in California. That wasn’t going to happen in Oakland. But the idea of Mark Davis and whether he really wanted to be there at all since his dad passed, I think that’s always been a bone of contention.
“But I think it’s just the finality and the way it comes down and for this to be announced in March,” La Canfora continued. “The baseball season hasn’t even started yet, and you’ve got four months of the remaining offseason to fester. And then the idea that they think they’re going to be able to play here – for not just one year, and not just two years, but Davis has the audacity to see (he’d) be open to 2019 within minutes of putting the dagger through their heart for good. I think there’s a real disconnect, and it’s not going to be pleasant. I don’t think the players are going to like the atmosphere, I don’t think the coaches are going to like the atmosphere, and I think it’s going to become very clear to them by September or October that this is our last year in Oakland.”