God bless the Oakland Raiders for turning an ordinary Friday into a preposterous news grab concerning a possible franchise move to Las Vegas.
Former owner Al Davis, one of the first jump-suit Elvis impersonators, would have been proud.
Never mind this plan has a snowball’s chance at the Bunny Ranch of happening. The NFL is not going to allow Cam Newton to swap show tunes with Wayne Newton. “No, danke schoen,” commissioner Roger Goodell would sing to the Raiders in a high-pitched voice.
The NFL has a long history of disingenuously frowning upon gambling even though it would not verily exist without billions of dollars of bets won and lost, legally and illegally. The NFL would sooner, though, approve a relocation to Damascus.
That said, Rankman is “all Vegas in” for the Raiders and wishes only that Al Davis, not his son, was still alive to be orchestrating this audacious action.
Rankman also thinks Davis would have moved to Las Vegas years ago if he thought it was possible as a way of sticking a slot-machine middle finger to Pete Rozelle.
Davis would have been the perfect, creepy, comic strip replacement for Howard Hughes in the penthouse suite of the Desert Inn. Davis was a night owl eccentric who, like Hughes, preferred living in hotels when the Raiders played in Oakland and Los Angeles.
Rankman spent two of the strangest seasons of his career covering Davis and the L.A. Raiders in 1990 and 1991. Rankman will never forget breaking the news to Davis when the first Gulf War broke out in Iraq. Davis was standing alone on the practice field in El Segundo when the conflict began.
Davis, who always preferred a vertical passing game over dink-and-dunk war fare, immediately unveiled his game plan to Rankman.
“We’ve got to bomb the (bleep) out of them,” Davis said.
In other words: go deep.
This is one reason why Davis preferred Daryle Lomonica “the Mad Bomber” at quarterback over side-winder Ken Stabler.
The Raiders to Las Vegas, ultimately, is too good to be true, so it won’t happen.
But that won’t stop us from imagining the team opening a state-of-the-art training complex in Area 51. The perfect spot for a franchise so alien (lately) to the playoffs.
The new team colors: “Silver and Black Jack.”
New slogan: “Commitment to Sand.”
A few nicknames might change: Ken “Snake Eyes” Stabler? The famous play involving Dave Casper would become the “The Holy High Roller.”
Twenty five years ago, the star runner could have been Bo “Jackpot” Jackson, with a defense led by Howie “Longshot” Long.
The Raiders of Las Vegas could keep their stadium nickname: the Black Hole–where teams, dreams, dollars, dignity and brain cells go to die.
Viva Las Raiders…enough of this nonsense. Someone make me a peanut butter and banana sandwich and dial up late-model Elvis. We can’t go on together, with suspicious minds. And we can’t build our dreams, on suspicious minds.
Poor Raiders of Oakland. They’re caught in a trap. They can’t get out.