Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval Signs NFL Stadium Bill into Law
Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval signed a bill on Monday which approves a Las Vegas stadium intended for the Oakland Raiders. Raiders’ owner Mark Davis still needs permission from the ownership of the National Football League in order to move to Las Vegas.
Mark Davis joined Gov. Brian Sandoval for a ceremony at the Tam Alumni Center at the University of Nevada Las Vegas. UNLV’s football also intends to use the 65,000-seat stadium, once it is finished.
Celebration with a Band and Cheerleaders
The signing ceremony was a celebratory event. While hardhat-wearing construction workers were on the scene, so were Raiders fans in their tell-tale Black Hole masks and costumes. A cheerleader squad and marching band were on-site, playing “Viva Las Vegas” as Gov. Sandoval affixed his name to the stadium bill.
Stadium Authority Board
Gov. Sandoval’s approval means that a 9-member stadium authority board is going to be formed to direct development. The nine appointees must reside in Clark County, must be formed within 30 days, and must meet within the next 75 days. No word has been given yet on the people whom might be chosen.
When asked about the appointments, Sandoval said that they cannot be purely political opponents. The governor said, “We’ll need people that have financial experience and the background to be able to go through some of the questions that are going to come before that committee.”
To Decide Location of the Stadium
The Las Vegas Review-Journal suggested that developers would make recommendations on the stadium authority board. The nine members are going to have a pivotal role in the decision making process. The location of the stadium is going to fall under their purview.
One option is a area northwest of Russell Road and Interstate 15 which includes 62 acres of land. Another option is the the 140-acre Bali Hai Golf Club. The golf club is located between Interstate 15 and Las Vegas Boulevard to the south of Russell Road. The 62-acre parcel of land is said to be the favorite at the moment.
“Las Vegas Is Ready for This”
Brian Sandoval said a few words at the signing ceremony. He said, “Las Vegas is ready for this. Nevada is ready for this. The best brand on the planet is coming together with one of the best brands in professional sports. It is truly one of those situations where 1+13.”
While the governor’s hype for the Raiders franchise might be a bit much, he can be forgiven for his enthusiasm. The Oakland Raiders are one of the storied franchises in the NFL. Their silver-and-black jerseys make them one of the most recognizable teams, while famous slogans like “Commitment to Excellence” and “Just Win, Baby” are a part of the team’s lore.
Commitment to Excellence
The Oakland Raiders began as one of the original American Football League (AFL) teams, launched in 1960 to compete with the NFL. The AFL waged an economic and public relations war with the NFL in the Sixties, creating a game with more passing for a television audience. After years as the underdog, the sport’s most famous game, the Super Bowl, was born of that rivalry. TWhen the New York Jets beat the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III, it gave the AFL legitimacy. When the Kansas City Chiefs defeated the Minnesota Vikings the next year, it showed the previous year was no fluke. The two leagues merged.
Al Davis, by then owner of the Raiders, remained a renegade. Al Davis was a former coach who convinced Bay Area bankers to bankroll his ownership of the team. Davis built a team of misfits and castoffs — a very talented team of such players. Al Davis believes in size and speed and he didn’t much care if the players had character issues. He hired John Madden, a character himself, to lead the team. With Ken Stabler and later Jim Plunkett at quarterback, the Raiders were the winningest team of the 1970’s, though a bit snakebit in the playoffs. As the 70’s turned into the 80’s, the Raiders won three Super Bowls in an eight year period.
By the time of the third title, Al Davis’s team was the Los Angeles Raiders. Davis sued the NFL for the right to move (and won), relishing one final win by the AFL over the NFL. In Los Angeles, the Raiders reached a new pinnacle of fame. Players like Marcus Allen, Howie Long, and Bo Jackson became sports legends. Raiders memorabilia became a staple of artist in the new art form — hip-hop. The team’s mystique was second-to-none. A move back to Oakland in 1995 roughly coincided with the decline of the franchise.
Later Era of the Raiders
In the last 20 years of Al Davis’s life, the Raiders often struggled to compete. Davis still preferred to draft players for their size and speed, while wedding them to old style offenses which might not have fit the modern game. One major departure was the Jon Gruden years, when the team ran the West Coast Offense. Led by Rich Gannon, the team appeared in one Super Bowl in the 2000’s. Al Davis’s propensity to meddle with his front office and war with his coaches meant Jon Gruden left under a cloud, then defeated the Raiders in the Super Bowl as the head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The Mark Davis era is less than 5 years old, but the son of the legendary Raiders owner has been more understated. Under his guidance, the team has drafted young stars like Derek Carr, Amari Cooper, and Khalil Mack. It also has brought in veterans like Bruce Irvin and the team appears ready to compete for the playoffs over the next few seasons. A relocation to Las Vegas would be Mark Davis’s signature move, while Las Vegas might have good timing in welcoming a young team on the rise.