The NFL franchise owners voted 31-1 in favor of officially granting the Oakland Raiders relocation to Las Vegas on Monday afternoon at the owners meeting in Phoenix.
The lone vote opposing the move came from the Miami Dolphins.
“My father always said, ‘the greatness of the Raiders is in its future,’ and the opportunity to build a world-class stadium in the entertainment capital of the world is a significant step toward achieving that greatness,” Raiders owner Mark Davis said in a statement.
This now makes the long-anticipated move of the Raiders franchise to the Nevada desert imminent. However, Davis said that the team plans to still remain in Oakland through at least 2018 while the planned stadium in Vegas is constructed, pending a lease extension is signed for the Oakland Coliseum.
“We plan to play at the Coliseum in 2017 and 2018, and hope to stay there as the Oakland Raiders until the new stadium opens,” Davis said.
“We would love nothing more than to bring a championship back to the Bay Area.”
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell stated that while the team remains in Oakland, they will still be called the Oakland Raiders.
The reaction to the vote was polarizing to Raiders fans, players and coaches alike.
Raiders star quarterback Derek Carr tweeted out a statement regarding the future relocation from the Bay Area:
”I’m just sick to death they’ll no longer be an Oakland Raider brand,” former Raiders head coach and current ESPN Monday Night Football commentator Jon Gruden said.
The Raiders remaining in Oakland for the next few years will depend on local fan reaction to a franchise that they know will be leaving soon. While the Raiders fanbase is very passionate, many may lessen or even cease their financial support in the coming seasons.
If Davis is ultimately forced to move the Raiders out of Oakland early, the team may have to play in UNLV’s 35,000-seat Sam Boyd Stadium while the new stadium in Paradise, Nev. is being built. However, this is an idea that Davis has stated that he does not favor.
This will be the third move in the 57-year history of the Raiders. Owner Al Davis moved the team to Los Angeles in 1981 before moving back to Oakland for the 1995 season.