NFL: Are the Raiders Destined for Las Vegas?

NFL: Are the Raiders Destined for Las Vegas?
An Oakland Raiders fan holds a “Stay In Oakland” sign. | Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

With all eyes focused on evaluating the the 2016 NFL draft, you’d think the only sort of “movement” worth discussing would involve potential trades between teams and the quest toward the final, 53-man roster. But you’d be wrong. And you have the Oakland Raiders to thank for that. According to ESPN, per a source with the Nevada Governor’s Office of Economic Development, Raiders owner Mark Davis met with Nevada tourism officials on Draft Day to discuss the possibility of his team relocating to Las Vegas.

In this meeting, which included Davis as well as the Southern Nevada Tourism Infrastructure Committee, the parties discussed the “$1.3 billion stadium project being proposed by casino mogul Sheldon Adelson and real estate agency Majestic Realty.” As you can see, this is a real conversation. We bet (sorry) you didn’t see that coming.

We were hardly surprised when the Rams migrated back to the City of Angels. Not only does this franchise have a history in Los Angeles, but for as long as we can remember, the NFL has been itching to return to one of the largest media markets in the United States.

But the potential of a football team relocating to Sin City? This just doesn’t seem like something the league would get behind. You know, because of the opposition to sports betting and all. And yet, the more we think about it, the more we’ve come to realize that it could very well happen. In fact, we can’t believe we ever doubted the possibility.

NFL: Are the Raiders Destined for Las Vegas?
Derek Carr celebrates a touchdown. | Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

First and foremost, we should stress that a Raiders relocation to Vegas is not something that would happen overnight. As noted by ESPN, this meeting on Thursday is merely “one of multiple workshops held this year focused on future infrastructure projects and potential funding sources.” However, if the Southern Nevada Tourism Infrastructure Committee deems it a worthwhile proposition, it would have until the end of July to file a formal report to be reviewed by the governor.

Truth be told, the NFL would probably prefer the Raiders to join the Rams in Los Angeles. That is, of course, should the Chargers opt/find a way to remain in San Diego. They have until January 15, 2017 to make a decision. Yet, that doesn’t mean the league would immediately dismiss the possibility of a team relocating to Las Vegas. And we have the memo to prove it.

After finishing the 2015 season with a 7-9 mark, the Oakland Raiders have the look of a team on the up and up. With an improving front office, an ambitious coaching staff, and a talented core of young players, the Raiders could be poised for a postseason run in 2016.

If this group can find a way to return the organization to prominence, the NFL might get excited about the possibility of the franchise relocating to a more flashy market. Does that automatically mean it will be Las Vegas? Of course not. Still, we wouldn’t bet against it.

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