Photo: Sports Illustrated
Mark Davis is undoubtedly one of the most polarizing characters in all of RaiderNation. Some people trust him, others have no faith in the man at all. The last few years under Davis have led to losing, roster and coaching changes, and even more losing. Oh and there’s also the tiny issue of moving the team to Vegas. The simple solution to save the Raiders is to have Davis sell the team.
Mark Davis took over the Raiders’ mantle after the late Al Davis passed away in 2011. Mark Davis was a fresh face, one who gave fans hope that he would bring the Raiders stability on and off the field. Fast forward to 2019, and his actions have been the opposite, threatening to permanently damage the Raiders brand. In early 2017, after years of searching, Davis announced that he would be relocating the team to Las Vegas. Abandoning Oakland, the team’s ancestral home of nearly 50 years. A punch in the gut to the fans that would fill the long outdated Oakland Coliseum every Sunday to watch their team lose for the better part of the last twenty years.
Then there is the business side of the move. The team is relocating from the 8th biggest media market in the United States to the 39th. The Bay Area has the highest average income in the United States while Las Vegas is more known for money lost than earned. There also is the problem of taking in $1 billion in debt….at least. With the relocation to Vegas, the Raiders will change. The team once known for it’s grit and toughness will now play in a shiny new palace in a city that changes it’s mind on what it likes every week. Will the fans in Vegas show up? Will there even be any fans in Vegas? Only time will tell. In the spirit of the city he is moving to, Davis is betting it all. Will this work? It HAS to work. If not, any culture and authenticity that the Raiders have left will be gone.
Let us not forget the on the field issues as well. For better part of the last two decades, the Raiders have been laughably pathetic. In the last 25 years, the team has only made the playoffs 4 times. To his credit, Davis hired GM Reggie Mckenzie and stayed patient enough to see the Raiders mold into a young playoff team. However in a head scratching move, Davis fired Jack Del Rio one season removed from a 12-4 finish. Jack Del Rio mind you, was the only coach to take the Raiders to the postseason in the last 15 years. With the departure of Del Rio, in came Jon Gruden, a fan favorite, and a familiar face. Davis bet everything on Gruden, signing “Chucky” to a 10 year $100 million contract. Once Gruden was in, key players were traded for what some speculated a lack of enough cash to pay them .
Davis is also one of the poorest owners in the league, putting him and the franchise he owns in a less than desirable position to compete. All of these reasons are why he must sell the team, for it’s own sake. Sell the team to someone who has a business mind, and who won’t impulsively hit the reset button when things get tough. The fans didn’t, and they deserve the same from their team.