Just Vegas Baby!

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Why the Raiders’ pending move to Vegas makes the most sense of all the things ever.

By Andrew J. Pridgen

The guy who cuts my hair is a Raider fan. He and his cousin have season tickets. <-For starters, this gives credence to my theory that all Raider fans know their way around a no. 2 and have cousins that are Raider fans. Silver and black runs just as thick as blood.

…The last haircut featured a trio of haircut conversation highlights from him.

They were:

Re: Playboy no longer featuring nude pictorials: “I didn’t think I was old-school like that till they took it away. Something about jerking off to my phone then ordering up an Uber then calling up my girlfriend—all within five minutes—is kind of creepy.”

Re: Walking home from the bars the other night and seeing two college kids get in a fight: “It was in front of a 7-Eleven so I just went in, grabbed a beer and watched. It lasted like 8 minutes. That’s a long time for a college fight.”

Re: The Raiders possible relocation: “I started out a LA Raiders fan and was OK with the move to Oakland. I don’t want them to go back to Southern California. There’s no way to get in and out of Carson in under a day—that’s a fact. And then you’re like, ‘Fuck, I came all this way to be in Carson.’ Vegas on the other hand…that would be my dream and my nightmare come true.”

There you have it Raiders marketers, along with Just Vegas Baby!®, Viva Las Raiders!…a third-tier slogan might be Las Vegas Raiders: Your Dream and Your Nightmare Come True.

Everyone knows this is going to happen. It’s not the Spanos family trying to fleece the apathetic taxpayers in the heart of the Whale’s Vulva to shoehorn a new stadium right in the heart of San Diego’s downtown and waterfront district. It’s not the 49ers selling their fan base out to Goldman Sachs, moving it two (cross out) four hours south on the 101. This move is pure greed-backed competency (<-which, btw, should be Vegas’s new slogan…’What happens here, stays here’ is ready for its Kobe farewell tour.)

You’ve got Mark Davis, the Dutch Boy stunt double son of sweatsuit provocateur Al. The late Davis Sr.’s slicked back Kiwi polish black hair and gum-snapping sensibility was Vegas before there was Vegas, and his prodigal Mark is ponying up $500 million of the family fortune to make this happen. Keep in mind, this is the same Mark Davis who is more leery of a one-year lease at the Oakland Coliseum than most folks are of timeshare presentations.

There’s Sheldon Adelson, the only man in this country who makes the Koch Brothers look like Peace Corps returnees drafting specs of their art car for this year’s burn. Adelson best known for using his massive Vegas hotel/casino fortune to reshape right-wing politics here and in Israel has made headlines over the last six months. In December, he financed a $140 million takeover of the Las Vegas Review-Journal basically asking, “Why should I keep suing this paper when I can own it?” then firing everyone who knew how to write. In February, he became embroiled in a Justice Department and Securities and Exchange Commission investigation for his company’s operations in Macau where there were potential illegal dealings with public officials.

Adelson, who will somehow come through cleaner than Andy Dufresne—after all, he’s the 13th richest man in the U.S.—has pledged to give Davis an additional $150 million marker for a total of $650 million private dollars toward a stadium build. The balance of the estimated $1.3 billion cost to erect a domed stadium next to McCarran (see: this scene in Biodome for what it’s going to be like) would be offset by a hotel tax—so Vegas tourists paying an extra buck/night for the next 20 years would about cover it.

What makes this project different from the onset, is instead of a waterfront axe wound dormant but for 24 hours a year in San Diego or a giant Saturday Costco line equivalent of cars clogging freeways in Carson or Santa Clara—Vegas is going to use the shit out of this stadium. Every entertainer from Carrie Underwood to Celine Dion to Cher (OK, basically every entertainer whose name starts with a ‘c’) is going to fill this thing to capacity weekend after weekend. The proximity to the airport and the strip means public transit will be involved making it easier to get in/out of games than it is to find an exit at Caesar’s.

The Nevada State Legislature’s approval seems all but a Battle Born-sized rubber stamp formality, especially with the blessing of the Southern Nevada Tourism Infrastructure Committee already codified. It would behoove them to call a special session between now and February, 2017 because they want to lock the Raiders down before the Chargers announce what they’re doing. Nevada is like a guy who doesn’t necessarily want to leave the bar at 11 p.m. but he’s got a girl down with him now and who knows what’s going to happen during the last call-bell scramble.

If the Chargers were to stay in San Diego (not likely) the Raiders could still opt into the Carson deal. But you read what my barber said—it’s not a good deal for the fans or the franchise—which would now have to compete with the Rams as well.

A special session of the Nevada Legislature could happen as soon as August, if the approval goes through then, ground gets broken in September and the Raiders could be dining out at Nobu the night before kick-off in the fall of 2019.

I feel like the only two questions that remain are:

1. What the fuck is David Beckham doing in the middle of all this? Or was that just a hologram? And why does he appear to be at senate judiciary committee hearing facing a tie clip indictment?

2. The tailgating scene for the Vegas Raiders is going to be something along the lines of Dave & Buster’s boys night out meets ISIS. For starters, Southwest might as well start painting half its fleet Silver and Black and Dan Cortese should come out of retirement to cover Raider Vegas tailgaters—the most extreme of all sport. My barber, a season ticket holder, said he would fly in/out every weekend, “until my liver can’t take it.” I sort of believe that’s going to be all of #RaiderNation’s battlecry. I guess that’s the dream come true part. The nightmare? Imagine every on purposely douchey Jets fan on his or her worst behavior, every parking-lot-banging Bills fan getting to do it in the sun, every mild-mannered KC fan on a once-a-year bender. NFL fans by nature are already not very well behaved. And Vegas will do just…well, just does what Vegas does to people—makes them the worst. Beer bongs at the concessions? A good idea to keep the lines moving. A drunk tank bigger than the home locker room? A necessity. A halftime show featuring a giant pinata hanging from the dome roof stuffed with adult entertainers? Not out of the question.

Even by Raider standards, this most unholy of all A Little White Chapel weddings with Southern Nevada is going to be the stuff of dreams, of nightmares—but in reality, is the manifestation of Al Davis’s wildest imagination: The Raiders finally finding a permanent home in the one place that’s inherently worse than they are.

Image: Joe Robbins/Getty Images

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