I understand why sometimes professional sports teams move from one city to another, but I’ve never liked it. I know that the people of Baltimore were devastated when the Colts moved to Indianapolis, at least until they got the Ravens, who were formerly the Cleveland Browns and devastated the people of Cleveland when they moved to Baltimore. Of course, Cleveland eventually got an expansion team, as did Houston, who had lost the Oilers to Tennessee a few years before. Recently St. Louis lost the Rams to Los Angeles. Before that, Los Angeles had lost the Rams to St. Louis, who had lost the Cardinals when they moved to Arizona. And before all of that happened, Chicago had lost the Cardinals to St. Louis and Cleveland had lost the Rams to Los Angeles.
I’m puzzled by the Oakland Raiders. Raider fans are pretty hardcore. They fill the Coliseum for games and buy tons of Raider gear and often appear to be ready to die for their team, but the Raiders once moved to Los Angeles before eventually moving back to Oakland, and now they’re planning to move from Oakland to Las Vegas in a couple of years.
Former Raiders coach and longtime broadcaster John Madden weighed in on the pending move recently. Madden says he wouldn’t want to be the coach of a visiting team coming to Las Vegas. He says keeping tabs on players there would be next to impossible. “I’d hate to take a team there,” he said. “I’d hate to have them in Vegas on a Saturday night before the game. Every team has a bottom ten. I think there are going to be a lot of problems like that.” By the bottom ten, Madden is talking about the players with behavioral issues and impulse control problems.
I agree that being in Las Vegas does make it easy to do the sort of things that should “stay in Vegas”. But tell me this: Don’t New York City, Los Angeles, New Orleans and Miami do the same? I get the feeling that Las Vegas will be different, but not really all that different.