After several decades hoping to lure the NFL to Los Angeles on a permanent basis, Las Vegas now has a franchise of its very own with the arrival of the Raiders. But how are things going for the team in their new surroundings? Perhaps just as importantly as the franchise continues to settle into their new surroundings, how did the move from Oakland come to pass?
2020 NFL Season
— Las Vegas Raiders (@Raiders) October 13, 2020
There’s always keen interest when a franchise moves to a new location, as followers of the NFL and fans of American football in general examine whether it was all worthwhile. Following their switch from Oakland to Las Vegas and heading into the new campaign, there were undoubtedly high hopes that a new era was dawning for the Raiders.
After a tight win on the road at the Carolina Panthers in Week 1, the Raiders baptized their magnificent new Allegiant Stadium home in Las Vegas with another triumph in Week 2, brushing aside the New Orleans Saints. Nevertheless, the positive form couldn’t last and following their first loss of the campaign at the New England Patriots, the Raiders also stumbled on home turf against the Buffalo Bills.
If ever there was a positive reaction needed, it certainly came in Week 5, as the Raiders travelled to Arrowhead Stadium to face the Kansas City Chiefs. The reigning Super Bowl champions weren’t able to cope against a magnificent show from the Raiders, who secured an impressive 40-32 win and an important scalp to boost confidence.
After that performance, head coach Jon Gruden was more than a little frustrated his team were heading into a bye week, believing the previous result had shown his players what they’re capable of achieving. Increased confidence led all these legal sportsbooks in Nevada to rethink their odds, with the Raiders increasingly fancied to not only make the playoffs, but also make a deep run as outside candidates to reach the Super Bowl LV.
However, maybe the Raiders relaxed a little too much during that bye week, which could have been what Gruden had feared. When the Tampa Bay Buccaneers arrived in Las Vegas, they were the team in swashbuckling form, breaching any defensive efforts the home side could offer, leaving with all the spoils. Veteran quarterback Tom Brady was the star of the show for the Buccaneers, slinging throws like a broadside of cannonballs, sinking the Raiders.
Looking ahead, while Gruden was pleased with the determination shown by his Raiders against the Buccaneers, he also hopes that lessons can be learned by the players, confident they will react positively. The Silver and Black may well take that punishing loss as motivation, eager to bounce back swiftly and keep themselves in the hunt for postseason participation.
How the Raiders landed in Las Vegas
How it started: How it’s going: pic.twitter.com/ihWmW6f1VH
— Allegiant Stadium (@AllegiantStadm) October 13, 2020
There’s one thing that absolutely nobody following American football can doubt, which is the fact that Las Vegas Raiders boast one of the most fabulous venues in the NFL. Indeed, that was one of the central reasons behind the franchise moving from Oakland in California, trekking across the desert to set up shop in Las Vegas, firmly planting their flag in a city that has eagerly anticipated their arrival.
Getting themselves out of Oakland had actually been planned for some time, with the initial plans aiming towards a return to Los Angeles, which had been home for the Raiders between 1982 and 1994, before returning once more to the city where the franchise was originally founded in 1960. Back then the Raiders had spent a decade in the American Football League, before being lured over to the NFL in 1970.
Over the last decade or so, one key issue has been an underlying theme for the Raiders franchise. The aging Oakland Coliseum didn’t meet NFL stadium requirements, and while the local civic leadership hoped to keep their football team, they simply couldn’t compete against what was on the table elsewhere, least of all the $750 million stadium funding offered by the State of Nevada, which Bloomberg news reported in 2016.
The decision to relocate the franchise became a no-brainer. The NFL were certainly keen, recognizing the Raiders could get the “first-class stadium” they had been looking for. What’s more, this move would take the franchise to “a diverse and growing community” and the “well-recognized entertainment destination” of Las Vegas. The move was unanimously approved with only token opposition from Stephen Ross, owner of the Miami Dolphins.
Construction of the Allegiant Stadium is estimated to have cost around $1.84 billion, and while that’s a massive investment from all parties who contributed to the project, once finished this magnificent new venue looked worth every cent. The Raiders now have one of the most luxurious homes in the NFL and beyond that, it’s also bang in the middle of one of America’s most exciting locations.
Black & Silver hopes for a golden future
The move to Las Vegas could herald a bright new future for the Raiders, having nestled into their new Nevada surroundings. While instant NFL success might seem a tall order, it isn’t completely outside the realm of possibilities. You only need to look at how quickly the Las Vegas Golden Knights have established themselves in the NHL, taking the world of ice hockey by storm since their debut 2017-18 season, even reaching the Stanley Cup Finals.
Perhaps the Raiders will enjoy the same kind of success following their move to Las Vegas, because they now have solid foundations on which to build a successful future that matches the franchise ambitions. This Nevada city has welcomed them with open arms and looking to the future, locals will undoubtedly be keen cheer them on towards every success they can achieve.