The official vote to allow the Oakland Raiders to move to Las Vegas took place this week. The NFL owners approved the move which will take place sometime in the not too distant future. The Raiders will leave behind a devoted fanbase to begin a new relationship with Sin City.
Perhaps some of our disagreement with this move comes from the Cleveland Browns infamous move to Baltimore. Don gets it. He understands the disappointment and frustration that the fans in Oakland are feeling. 1995-1999 were tough years for Cleveland fans. We didn’t have a team to root for, but we definitely had a team to root against. Art Modell became the most hated Browns owner in history when he took the team to Baltimore. Under his direction, the Cleveland Browns became the Baltimore Ravens, and those hard feelings are still alive today.
It remains to be seen how the Oakland fans will react to their beloved team this season. Will they fully support the Raiders, knowing they only have a season or two left in their city? The Raiders will be in contention for the AFC title, which will be a big draw for the fans. If we knew we had only two or three years left with the Browns, we would show our support for the team and for city of Cleveland.
Several NFL teams have had successful moves, but that doesn’t mean the transition is ever easy. The Cardinals have moved from Chicago to St Louis to Phoenix/Arizona and have developed new fanbases along the way. The Los Angeles Rams have also moved from city to city, maintaining and growing their fanbase. However, those teams’ fanbases can’t even compare to teams who have never moved, such as the Green Bay Packers or the Dallas Cowboys. All we can hope is that the Cleveland Browns are here to stay.