On Monday, the NFL approved the eventual move of the Oakland Raiders to Las Vegas, but this move appears to be more than two decades in the making.
Yes, the Raiders have fought with Oakland, Calif., officials over funding a new stadium almost since the moment they relocated back there from Los Angeles in 1995. But that’s not what we’re talking about.
It has come to light that Mark Davis — now the Raiders owner — first considered the idea of the Las Vegas in or before 1998. And on Christmas Day that year, he apparently hopped on his Intel Pentium II and bought himself a gift: the domain name lasvegasraiders.com.
Yeah, seriously. At least we think so …
Here’s another look:
Well, how about that? Foresight? Boredom? A devious plan to screw over Oakland fans, one that’s taken more than 18 years to manifest itself? Well, we’re not sure about that. But we did double check, and the information does appear to be legit.
This is all so oddly fascinating and yet, strangely, oh-so Raiders.
(Oh, and don’t bother going to the website; it hasn’t been built out … yet.)
But Davis told Nestor Aparicio of Baltimore’s WNST on Monday, via a Facebook post, that “it seemed like a good idea at the time.” At that time, mind you, Davis was merely the owner’s son — Al Davis would not die until 2011 — and might not have been the clear heir apparent at the time, when he was in his early 40s (his exact birthdate is not widely known), even though he obviously was involved with the team. Mark and his mother, the wife of the late Al, are now the primary owners of the team.
The website domainnamewire.com speculated that maybe it was a different Mark Davis (it is, after all, a common name) who bought lasvegasraiders.com. Especially when you dig and see that the address connected to the account is a fairly modest house and that several other websites (including a few, ahem, prurient ones) are connected to this account.
But Al Davis once kicked his son out of their house for being too cozy with the Raiders players, and Mark was left to sofa surf for a while, even staying with ex-receiver Cliff Branch for a spell. And, well, the Davises are a colorful fam, so we can’t dismiss anything on the grounds presented. Plus, the van that Mark drives also was seen on Google Maps at the address listed. This has to be our man, right?
Now we just have a million and a half questions … including, why Christmas? But this wouldn’t be the Raiders without a little Davis-esque mystery, and we’re guessing that the man about whom little is known is unlikely to shed too much more light on the subject.
Of course, for diehard Raiders fans, Black Monday’s announcement felt anything like Christmas.
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