According to Google Maps, the distance between Oakland, California and Las Vegas, Nevada is approximately 561 miles, depending on which route you take. In a few years, the team now known as the Oakland Raiders will be taking that trip.
The NFL owners have voted (31-1) and it's official; the Raiders will be leaving California for the first time in almost six decades and going to Vegas. The team's owner Mark Davis was quoted in the San Francisco Chronicle, stating: “The Raiders were born in Oakland, and Oakland will always be part of our DNA.”While Oakland may stay in the team's DNA, the franchise itself will be departing for Las Vegas, Nevada in 2020.
Needless to say, many local fans are not going to be pleased to hear about their beloved franchise leaving town. During the same SF Chronicle article, Davis also addressed this issue, stating that he expected "some disappointment and anger. It’s going to be up to me to talk to them. Hopefully, we can work things out." The Raiders are known for having some the most unruly fans in the NFL, so it will be interesting to if Davis can indeed "work things out" with them.
At the end of the day, regardless of who is upset, the Raiders are leaving. They are headed to a city which is a notorious destination for gamblers, partygoers, and those seeking entertainment of all types. With that in mind, let's take look into our crystal ball and try and predict 15 things that could happen now that the Raiders are headed to Las Vegas.
15 The Oakland Fan Base May Turn
We have clearly established that the Raiders are leaving. However, they are going to play in Oakland for at least one more year. How will this affect attendance next season? Will fans want to shell out hundreds of dollars to see a team which they may feel like is abandoning them? Moreover, the Raiders fans aren't exactly known for being a quiet bunch. While it's unlikely that they would boo their own team, it's possible that some of them have a few choice words for the team's owner, Mark Davis. It will be interesting to see how many of the silver-faced die hard Raiders fans continue to support the team, once they finally depart from Oakland. Having your team relocate can be the ultimate test of one's fandom.
14 The Raiderettes Get Their Own Vegas Show
Las Vegas is the self-proclaimed "Entertainment Capital of the World." A significant portion of that entertainment involves beautiful women, and of course, NFL cheerleaders are some of the best-looking ladies on planet earth. With that in mind, it would seem only logical that a well connected Vegas club owner would be very interested in featuring these girls as a headlining act. The Raiderettes, which is the name given to the Raiders cheerleaders, may have the moves to pull off such a performance. What football fan wouldn't want to see the Raiderettes dance around on stage after the game? Could the "Raiderettes Live" be coming to a Vegas Casino in 2020? I'm sure there are more than a few fans out there who have their fingers crossed.
13 The Team Wins The Super Bowl
This prediction may have a bit more to do with the team itself improving as opposed to any sort of benefit coming from relocating. The Raiders finished the 2016 regular season with an impressive 12-4 record. Unfortunately, quarterback Derek Carr broke his fibula just prior to the postseason. As a result, the team was forced to start rookie Connor Cook at quarterback during the playoffs. Cook threw three picks and the Raiders were eliminated in the first round of the postseason. However, led by an improving young quarterback like Carr on offense and young defensive standout Khalil Mack, the Raiders could easily be Super Bowl contenders by the time 2020 rolls around. It may be hard to imagine now, but one day the Lombardi trophy may reside in Las Vegas.
12 The Al Davis Themed Slot Machine Is Created
Al Davis was first known to Raiders fans as their coach in the AFL from 1963 to 1965. However, he is probably better known by today's football fans as the owner of the Raiders. He also acted as the team's General Manager for many years when he owned the team. While folks may remember how the franchise struggled during the final years of Al Davis's tenure, the team did win three Super Bowls under his watch. He is also an icon who holds an important place in the organization's history. With that in mind, there would be no better way to pay tribute to the former owner, then by giving him his very own slot machine. After all, it might be good luck to play a slot machine bearing the image of a man whose motto in life was "Just win, baby."
11 Players Are Lured In By The Vegas Night Life
Las Vegas, Nevada is famous for having some of the best-known nightclubs in the United States, if not the world. It is an extremely popular destination for bachelor parties and milestone celebrations. However, if you're a pro athlete these may be places you would want to avoid. Between the flowing streams of alcohol and loose women, there are many pitfalls that need to be avoided when enjoying the Vegas nightlife. If you're an NFL player the last thing you need is some drunken idiot trying to pick a fight with you to try and make a name for themselves. When the team finally does move to Vegas, it seems almost inevitable that players will get into trouble from time to time. Hopefully, the team will have rules in place to help keep their players out of trouble.
10 Derek Carr Becomes The Face Of Las Vegas
Every city has their sports icons. Chicago has Michael Jordan, Boston has Tom Brady, and Las Vegas could have Derek Carr. The Raiders star quarterback had his best season last year when he threw for 3,937 yards, with 28 touchdowns and just 6 interceptions. He's only 26 years old which means he'll be 29 and in the prime of his career when the Raiders arrive in their new home city. Being the star quarterback for Las Vegas's only professional sports franchise, in one of the big three U.S. sports, means Carr would easily become "the man" in Las Vegas. The young native of Fresno, California has a chance to leave a lasting legacy in "The Entertainment Capital of the World." The questions is; will he do it?
9 Gambling Becomes A Problem For The Team
Imagine having millions of dollars and living in a city whose economy is largely based on gambling. If you have ever been to Vegas, then you know there are casinos everywhere. This could spell trouble for young men who are fresh out of college and making big money for the first time in their lives. It's quite possible that many of the Raiders players and even coaches might spend a little too much time in the casinos. Moreover, this could create a conflict of interest. What if a player decides to put some money on the other team and then goes on to miss a block or two? Could we have a Pete Rose incident all over again? The National Football League could have a major scandal on their hands if they are not careful. Let's hope that those associated with the franchise are able to gamble responsibly.
8 A Bo Jackson Themed Casino Opens
We are all aware that "Bo knows football" and "Bo knows baseball." This can't help but make one wonder if there is anything that Bo doesn't know? What about casinos?
Bo is a former Raider who is best known for being a two-sport athlete. Jackson played both baseball and football professionally. He was one of the premier stars in all of sports during the late-1980s and early-1990s. Unfortunately, a hip injury significantly shortened Jackson's career. However, now that his former team is moving to Vegas, there is an opportunity to celebrate his career for years to come. Who wouldn't love to visit a Bo Jackon themed casino? It isn't hard to image the signature image of Jackson with his shoulder pads on and baseball bat draped across his shoulder on a Vegas marquee.
7 Fans Show Up In Droves... At First
There will very likely be a great deal of excitement in the city when the team initially arrives in Las Vegas. This will be especially true if the team continues to build off of last season's success. The Raiders will not doubt be the hot new attraction in town, at least for awhile. However, at some point, the newness will have worn off and the team will eventually struggle at some point. When that day arrives, will a struggling Raiders franchise be able to compete with the various casinos and attractions that Las Vegas has to offer? Will fans be willing to shell out big bucks to see a 3-7 Raiders team, when they can spend the afternoon at Caesar's Palace instead?
6 A Raiders Themed Brothel Opens
This may seem like one of the most far-fetched things that "could" happen. However, not only "could" it happen, it is actually already in the works. According to a recent USA Today Article, a Nevada brothel owner named Dennis Hof claims to be opening the "Pirates Booty Sports Brothel." The article goes on to state that the brothel will open in 2020 and be located about 70 miles outside of Las Vegas, where prostitution is legal. It is unclear if Raiders fans will receive discounts for showing up in team apparel. This is a classic case of truth being stranger than fiction. With that being said, it's quite possible that the Pirates Booty becomes a popular destination for sports fans in the Las Vegas area.
5 The Pro Bowl Moves To Vegas
Las Vegas could be the perfect place to hold the NFL's annual Pro Bowl game. Fan's certainly won't have to worry about the cold and the city is packed with countless activities for people to enjoy. It's even possible that by the time 2020 gets here they will have added the Bo Jackson casino, the Raiderettes show, and the Al Davis slot machine. The attractions may help draw fans to this less-than-highly anticipated game. Watching football's biggest stars play at half-speed might be a bit more appealing if folks knew they could go and enjoy the Vegas nightlife afterward. Bringing the Pro Bowl to Las Vegas could be a win for the city and the game itself.
4 Mark Davis Doubles His Net Worth
The reason behind the move from Oakland to Las Vegas centers around the Raiders having to play in an obsolete stadium. The NFL franchise was also likely tired of sharing their current residence with the Oakland A's baseball team. However, it's unlikely the team and their owner Mark Davis would be making the move if they didn't see big dollar signs on the horizon. A new stadium in a town and fanbase in Vegas that very well may be starving for some live NFL action should make Davis quite a bit of cash. It's a risky move, but high risk can often equal high reward. When it's all said in done, Mark Davis could increase his net worth considerably. Could Mark Davis see his net worth double?
3 John Madden BBQ
We have established that the Raiders will likely bring a wide array of new businesses to the Las Vegas area. With that in mind, it wouldn't be surprising if a few Raiders-themed restaurants were to sprout up. If you were going to do a restaurant who better to model it after than beloved former Raiders coach and longtime commentator, John Madden? The older generation of fans may remember him as a coach and commentator, while the younger fans will certainly recognize him from his hit video game series. A John Madden family-themed restaurant could be a great destination for groups looking for some more wholesome fun. A John Madden BBQ might make a delicious addition to Vegas's world-class restaurant scene. You can almost picture the line forming outside the door now.
2 The Venture Fails
It may be obvious, but it still needs to be mentioned. There is a possibility that the Raiders moving to Las Vegas turns into a giant disaster. After all, Vegas doesn't exactly have a rich history when in comes to pro football. There may have been a reason other teams have opted not to go there in the past. The Raiders will be competing with multi-million dollar casinos for tourists' entertainment dollars. Moreover, if the team struggles right out of the gate it may be hard for the franchise to gain traction in their new surroundings. There is no question that the team is taking a big risk by moving to Nevada. Will the Raiders become the biggest attraction Las Vegas has ever seen, or will the experiment be a bust?
1 They Return To Oakland
If the worst case scenario plays out, then what happens to the Raiders next? Prior to the Vegas move being finalized, the team considered relocating to Los Angles. However, they did not appear to have the support of the other NFL owners. Moreover, L.A. now has both the Rams and the Chargers. When the team does leave for Vegas, does that mean they have burnt a bridge in regards to ever returning to Oakland? The answer is; probably not. There will be a lot of anger toward the franchise and their owner from the Oakland fanbase in the coming years. However, if Cleveland fans forgave LeBron James, then Oakland can certainly forgive the Raiders. This a good thing, because sometimes, what happens in Vegas...doesn't stay in Vegas.