John Madden Predicts Problems for NFL Teams Visiting the Las Vegas Strip
Hall of Fame head coach and broadcaster John Madden said he thinks there is “going to be a lot of problems” with NFL players in Las Vegas the night before games.
Claiming that every NFL team has “a bottom ten” players when it comes to discipline and bad behavior, the onetime Raiders coach predicted his former team’s move to Las Vegas would cause trouble.
John Madden’s comments were made on a SiriusXM NFL Radio show hosted by Joe Horrigan, James Lofton, and Howard Balzer. In the interview, the Hall of Fame coach expressed disappointment at the way the Oakland Raiders left their hometown.
Shock at NFL Owners’ Approval
Madden also expressed shock at the speed and virtual unanimity shown by NFL owners, who voted 31-1 to approve the Raiders’ move to Las Vegas in 2020.
Only the Miami Dolphins voted against the move. John Madden said, “I’m not sure they have that whole deal together yet. I’m not sure that they even know exactly what the stadium is, how many, where it’s going to be and all those things. For some reason, they jumped into that thing quickly.”
Raiders owner Mark Davis, the son of the late Al Davis, announced in April 2016 he wanted to move the franchise to Southern Nevada. At the time, the NFL’s owners had given approval to the San Diego Chargers and St. Louis Rams to move to Los Angeles, while simultaneously denying the Raiders the right to move to LA.
Mark Davis’s Move to Las Vegas
Over the past 11 months, Davis had lined up support for the move to Las Vegas by appealing to his fellow owners’ sympathy for his franchise’s financial plight. For 20 years, the Davis family has sought a modern stadium from the city of Oakland. Oakland’s leaders took a stand against public financing, so Mark Davis began to look for other locations.
Nevada’s decision to offer $750 million towards a $1.9 billion stadium was a deciding factor. $750 million is a record amount of money for a public stadium, which impressed owners with the seriousness of the offer. John Madden believes the Las Vegas deal is going to cause wider problems in the National Football League, though.
Las Vegas Strip to Cause Problems
In his SeriousXM Radio comments, John Madden said proximity to the Las Vegas Strip would cause continuous behavioral issues for visiting teams. Madden said every team has players who break team rules, even the night before the game. The Vegas Strip is too tempting, said Madden, who added, “I would hate to be a coach to take a team in there. I would hate to have my team in Las Vegas on Saturday night before the game…every team has a bottom 10. I think there’s going to be a lot of problems like that. I’d stay in Mohave [Arizona] or something.”
Those who defend the move to Las Vegas point out that other NFL cities have vibrant night lives, such as New York City, Miami, New Orleans, and Los Angeles. Proponents say Las Vegas is not likely to be any more of a distraction or a lure to players than those cities. The proximity to casinos and sportsbooks, as well as gamblers and bookmakers, are a potential issue those cities do not present — or at least in such a glamorous form.
Oakland Coliseum Stadium’s Demise
Much of the 81-year old John Madden’s radio interview centered on how devastating it was to hear the Raiders are leaving Oakland, though. The team left Oakland once before in 1982-1983, but many locals saw that as a less permanent move at the time. Madden spoke of “the finality of it” all.
The former Oakland Raiders coach said that the Oakland Coliseum’s condition assures that football is going away. Madden said, “With the [state of the] stadium now, when they move out, that’s going to be torn down, and it’s going to be a high rise or some doggone thing. There’ll be no more Oakland Raiders. There will be no more history of the Oakland Raiders, and that really bothers me. Boom, it just goes away.”
Hall of Fame receiver James Lofton, who played for the Los Angeles Raiders in 1987 and 1988, agreed with Madden’s assessment. Lofton stated he believed the Oakland Coliseum was the best location for a stadium in the NFL, and said that those who “have to drive by there and you see something there like a shopping mall and a high-rise apartment, it’s going to make you sick, I think.”
John Madden Profile
Those in the younger generation might think of John Madden as a CBS and Fox sports broadcaster, or even simply the name on the most popular football video game. John Madden was a vital piece of the Oakland Raiders’ early success. Madden was the team’s head coach for a 10-year period in the late-1960s and 1970s, leading them to the best record of the 1970s and their first Super Bowl win.
John Madden was known as a colorful coach on the sidelines, and he led a freewheeling team of rogues and characters. Many Raiders’ players were talented castoffs from other teams, because their off-color personalities were seen as behavioral issues with old school coaches. John Madden was a beloved figure with his players, who rewarded him with the victory in Super Bowl XI.
Where Will the Raiders Play in 2019?
It is still unknown where the Raiders franchise is going to play in 2019. Mark Davis has a lease for the 2017 season and the option to continue the lease in 2018, which he says he will do. The Las Vegas stadium will not be completed unil 2020, so that leaves one season when the Raiders will not have a home.
Mark Davis said he would like to play in Oakland, but the leaders of that city have indicated they would not want the Raiders back for that season. Davis has said he has no interest in playing in UNLV’s football stadium, which only seats 35,000 fans. A third location might be in the order, much like the Tennessee Titans did when they moved from Houston to Nashville. For one season, the Titans played in Memphis.
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