The word Raiders legend Tim Brown was looking for was bittersweet but he settled for something else. When asked about the Raiders‘ impending move to Las Vegas, it was really all he could come up with.
“Is there such a word as happy-sad? I think that’s what today is all about from Raider fans,” Brown said on Up To The Minute on Monday. “You want the team to be in the best environment it can be in, but it’s sad for Raiders fans to know that the city of Oakland could not come up with a deal that was good enough to keep the team there.
“But it’s time to move forward. It’s time to move on. I think this is going to be a great thing for the Raiders and that’s what it’s all about at this point.”
Brown, ranked sixth on the league’s all-time receiving yards list (14,934 yards), had the rare distinction of playing for the Los Angeles Raiders at the beginning of his career and then following them to Oakland when they returned in 1995.
A nine-time Pro Bowler for the franchise, Brown acknowledged it was difficult to play in Los Angeles during a time when the Dodgers and Lakers were both winning championships. He also said players back then felt they were competing against the beach and the rest of Los Angeles’ sun-splashed attractions.
“The great thing about Vegas is that they’ll have a captive audience,” Brown explained. “They may not all be Raiders fans, but it’s going to be football fans and Raider Nation will show up. They traveled to London. They traveled to Japan. They’ll show up. I’m sure they’ll make the trek to Vegas.”
Of course, in Vegas the Raiders will be competing against myriad distractions — and not just the balmy weather.
Brown professed his confidence in Raiders fans’ ability to travel and noted that some Los Angeles-based fans regularly made the six-hour trek by car when the franchise moved back to Oakland.
Now, that same car trip would take an Oakland-based fan almost nine hours. From Los Angeles, it would take about four and a half.
“I don’t think — Raider Nation will travel, man,” Brown said. “Thousands of people traveled to Oakland from Los Angeles and OK, instead of going to Oakland you’re going to go to Vegas. I don’t think it’s that big of a deal.
“The people who live in Oakland will have to jump on a plane to get over there, but I don’t think it’ll be that big of a deal. The hotels and all this stuff, it may not all be Raider fans but it will be filled.”
Raiders owner Mark Davis certainly hopes so. After promising to refund angry season ticket holders and asking any unhappy fans to direct their anger toward him Monday, he’s entering uncharted territory for the head of a relocating franchise. The team has legitimate Super Bowl aspirations this year and next, but will it be enough to bring along the rest of their supporters?