Spin the Raiders‘ move to Las Vegas any way you please — John Madden isn’t buying it.
“Maybe this is just me being oversensitive, but doggone it, if you’re going to go, that’s really tough, but leave us something. Leave us something here in Oakland. Please,” said Madden, who coached the Raiders from 1969 to 1978 before moving into the broadcast booth.
The Raiders plan to play in a new 65,000-seat domed stadium in 2020, but they could toil in a temporary Las Vegas home as early as 2019. The entire plan doesn’t sit well with the 81-year-old Madden.
“I’m not sure they have that whole deal together yet. I’m not sure that they even know exactly what the stadium is, how many, where it’s going to be and all those things,” Madden said. “For some reason, they jumped into that thing quickly.”
Madden also called out mixed messages from a league that green-lit a move to Las Vegas, but also fined a collection of players who appeared at an arm-wresting tournament last weekend at one of the city’s casinos.
“I would hate to be a coach to take a team in there. I would hate to have my team in Las Vegas on Saturday night before the game … every team has a bottom 10 (group of misbehaving players),” Madden said, adding: “I think there’s going to be a lot of problems like that. I’d stay in Mohave (Arizona) or something.”
That won’t be Madden’s problem to deal with, but 31 others coaches will face that exact challenge when the Raiders shift to Sin City.
It’s a move that marks incredible changes for an NFL that has long shunned Las Vegas. For Madden, none of this makes much sense.
“There will be no more history of the Oakland Raiders, and that really bothers me,” he said.
“Boom, it just goes away.”