Las Vegas just the latest move for vagabond Raiders
The Raiders have been on the move quite a bit in their nearly six decades as a pro football franchise.
The team will switch cities yet again. On Monday, NFL owners approved the franchise’s eventual move from Oakland to Las Vegas.
Here’s a look at some of the major moves for one of the NFL’s most successful and yet vagabond teams.
THE START: Oakland was perhaps the unlikeliest city to get an American Football League franchise when the league began in 1960. But the fledgling enterprise needed a team to pair up with the Los Angeles Chargers, and Oakland was given the eighth slot originally pegged for Minneapolis. The Chargers only lasted a season in L.A. before bolting south for San Diego, and the Raiders played their first two seasons in San Francisco in Kezar Stadium and Candlestick Park. But Oakland soon proved to be one of the anchor franchises of the AFL. Al Davis was named the coach and general manager in 1963 — back in the year when the Dallas Texans became the Chiefs and the New York Titans became the Jets — and Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum’s opening in 1966 helped stabilize the team. The Raiders would go on to win the AFL the following season but lose to Green Bay 33-14 in the second Super Bowl.
L.A. DREAMING: Despite winning two world championships in five years in Oakland, Davis, now the team’s owner, had his sights set on Los Angeles. Davis sued the NFL in federal court for the right to relocate to L.A. and won, and the team moved for the 1982 season. The Raiders moved into Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and gave the city a championship after the 1983 season.
BACK TO OAKLAND: By the mid-1990s, the Raiders were looking for a more modern facility. They found something akin to that back in Oakland, where officials pledged to renovate the team’s former home. The Raiders left Los Angeles after the 1994 season. The Rams also left for St. Louis. By 1996 the Oakland Coliseum, now complete with an additional 10,000-seat structure dubbed “Mount Davis,” had undergone a renovation designed to keep the Raiders in the Bay Area.
JUST MOVE AGAIN, BABY: Davis’ son Mark took over the team after his father’s death in 2011. By then the Oakland Coliseum was showing severe aging, and sharing the facility with the Athletics wasn’t helping matters. The Raiders and A’s are the only NFL-MLB franchises sharing a facility. Davis’ initial attention for relocation was Los Angeles again, and he partnered with the Chargers on a potential stadium project in Carson, California. When NFL owners voted in January 2016 to approve the Rams’ proposal to move from St. Louis and build a stadium in Inglewood, they also gave the Chargers an option to join the Rams there — leaving the Raiders out of the L.A. equation. The Chargers exercised that option in January and moved to L.A. after 56 years in San Diego, but Davis already had turned his sights to Las Vegas, which shed much of its “Sin City” reputation in the eyes of major pro sports leagues. The NHL approved an expansion club, the Vegas Golden Knights, in 2016.
MONDAY’S VOTE: The Raiders found their third city to call home in Las Vegas — and became the third NFL team in two years to announce a move. The Raiders will likely spend a few lame-duck seasons in Oakland while their new Las Vegas stadium gets built.