John Madden, long-time coach and NFL Hall of Famer, has given his take on the Oakland Raiders’ upcoming relocation to Las Vegas, Nevada. On an interview with SiriusXM NFL Radio, Madden said he was “shocked” when he heard the Raiders won a relocation vote 31-1. He also pleaded with the NFL, “If you’re going to go, that’s really tough, but leave us something. Leave us something here in Oakland. Please.”
The current owner of the Raiders, Mark Davis, has a plan to stay in Oakland for the next two seasons until a $1.9 billion domed stadium is completed in Las Vegas by 2020. The move to Las Vegas first became a serious consideration in April 2016. Around that time, Las Vegas offered a $750 million subsidy via hotel tax, which made the offer much more enticing for the Raiders and the league.
Madden commented, “For some reason, they jumped into that thing quickly.” He later explained how the Raiders’ specific location in Las Vegas is still in the air. The Raiders have identified a 62-acre area in southern Las Vegas that they are targeting, but a lease agreement or a design plan for a stadium have yet to be announced. FAA approval may also be necessary, as the site is very close to McCarran International Airport.
Madden also believes that away teams visiting Las Vegas is going to result in problematic consequences for the league. He pointed to the league already fining two players who participated in an arm-wrestling competition at a Las Vegas casino last weekend. “I think there’s going to be a lot of problems like that,” Madden said.
Madden was one of the first faces of the Oakland Raiders franchise, coaching them to the franchise’s first Super Bowl win during his 1970s tenure. When the Raiders moved to Los Angeles in 1982, he noted that the situation wasn’t as dire since Oakland Coliseum was still in shape to receive another team. By 2020, if the Raiders leave, it is likely that the Coliseum will be torn down and Oakland will have a hard time coercing another team to call the city home.