Should Oakland Seek an Expansion Team If the Raiders Move to Las Vegas?

American Football

Is Mark Davis serious about moving the Raiders to Las Vegas or is he just putting pressure on Oakland? If the NFL agrees to the move, is there a future for football is Oakland? Should the city seek an expansion team?


Gateway to the Las Vegas Strip. Photo Credit: David Vasquez.


Mark Davis, part-owner of the  the Oakland Raiders, seems determined to move the football franchise to Las Vegas, Nevada.

The National Football League’s long-standing opposition to having a football team based in the state, which has legalized gambling, also seems to be weakening.

Is Mark Davis serious about moving the Raiders to Las Vegas? Or is he just trying to put pressure on the city of Oakland?

If the Raiders do move, would Oakland have a shot at attracting an expansion team – or would the city’s football fans remain loyal to the Raiders?

On-Line Petition

Colleen Brolinni of Henderson, Nevada, would love to see a football franchise in Las Vegas, but she thinks if the Raiders relocate from Oakland to Las Vegas, the name of the team and the colours should be changed to something that is locally relevant.

Colleen has launched an on-line petition to Mark Davis to this effect.

“This is Las Vegas, we want a fresh start, we want a fresh team – we want to start our own legacy, not be part of someone else’s [legacy],” Colleen says.

Her position has not exactly elicited a ground swell of support. It has, so far, attracted only 148 signatures, and many of the signees signed the petition not in support of the idea.

They signed it so that they could comment on it, and many if not most of the comments so far have been highly negative.

Colleen’s proposal is not as bizarre as it sounds, and it is NOT without  precedent.

It certainly would NOT have to mean the death of the Raiders. It could, in fact, give the Raiders a new lease on life.

Cleveland Browns Compromise

Does anyone remember what happened in Cleveland, Ohio, about two decades ago?

In 1995, the owner of the Cleveland Browns, Art Modell, decided to move the team from Cleveland to Baltimore, Maryland (which had lost its team, the Baltimore Colts, to Indianapolis, Indiana, in 1984).

The move was highly controversial, causing outrage in Cleveland, which didn’t want to lose its football team and its storied legacy.

Unable to keep its football team, the city of Cleveland – in collaboration with the NFL – pulled off a stunning compromise.

The team could leave town, but the team’s name, its colours, its mascot, and its legacy would remain “in trust” with the city of Cleveland and the NFL until a new team could be formed.

When the franchise moved to Baltimore in 1996, it was re-christened the Baltimore Ravens in honour of Edgar Allen Poe, who lived for a time in Baltimore. He also died and was buried there in 1849.

Poe’s most famous poem, of course, was entitled “The Raven”, so the new mascot, which was suggested by a fan, had local relevance.

Cleveland, meanwhile, was awarded an expansion franchise two years later with its team name, colours, mascot, and legacy intact. The Cleveland Browns resumed play in 1999.

Win, Win, Win, Win Scenario

Could a similar compromise be worked out with the Oakland Raiders? If Mark Davis really does want to move the Raiders to Las Vegas, let him do so but on one condition.

The franchise has to assume a completely new identity, as with the Baltimore Ravens, and the team name, colours, and logo will be held in trust by the city of Oakland and the NFL, as with the Cleveland Browns.

  • Oakland could be awarded an expansion team, with owners committed to keeping the team in Northern California – with the Raiders name, colours, logo, and legacy intact.
  • Las Vegas would get the NFL franchise it covets – and the chance to develop its own locally relevant identify.
  • The NFL would maintain one of its most valuable assets – the Oakland Raiders are a globally recognized brand, and Northern California is an important market, which is capable of supporting two football teams.
  • Mark Davis could emerge from the long shadows of his father and create a legacy of his own.


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