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Raiders' owner says his father would be 'proud' of move to Las Vegas

PHOENIX -- The late Al Davis was always considered the maverick among NFL team owners.

He was the one who filed multiple lawsuits against his league partners as he moved his club, the Oakland Raiders, back and forth between its original home in the Bay Area and Los Angeles, where they played from 1982 to 1994. He was constantly at odds with the league's commissioners -- Pete Rozelle, Paul Tagliabue, and finally Roger Goodell.

So it was in that maverick spirit that Davis' son, Mark, is making the boldest of all moves in the franchise's long history: he's taking the Raiders out of Oakland putting them in Las Vegas.

"I think he'd be proud that two young kids, myself and (team president) Marc Badain, who started out as water boys in this organization, are taking this organization now into the future in a world-class stadium (in) the entertainment capital of the world," Mark Davis said Monday after NFL owners voted, 31-1, to approve the move at the league's meeting at the Arizona Biltmore.

Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross cast the lone no vote.

"My father used to say the greatness of the Raiders is in the future," Davis said. "This gives us the ability to achieve that."

Besides taking the franchise out of California, Davis, with the strong support of the NFL and its owners, is putting his team in the middle of the gambling capital of the world. In the fall, Las Vegas will have an NHL club, the Golden Knights.

The approval came is no surprise after efforts by the league and the Raiders to get a new stadium to replace the run-down Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum proved unsuccessful and Las Vegas was able to deliver $750 million in public money to build a new facility.

League owners also were impressed that Davis was able to secure a loan from Bank of America for $650 million for the stadium project.

The NFL's 31 other teams will each net more than $50 million from the relocation fee the Raiders must pay for the move.

The Raiders become the third NFL tam to change cities since 2016. In '16, the Rams moved from St. Louis to their previous home, Los Angeles. In January, the Chargers moved from San Diego to L.A.

"Our goal is to have 32 stable franchises for each team and the league," Goodell said. "We work very hard and never want to see the relocation of a franchise. We worked tirelessly over the last nine months or so on a solution."

Last week, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf made a last-ditch effort to convince the NFL to keep the Raiders in her city. She said she presented a $1.3-billion plan for a new stadium that would be ready by 2021, but Goodell said the league was troubled by the fact the proposal called for the Oakland A's baseball team to either move to a new stadium at the cite of the Coliseum or elsewhere in Oakland.

"We needed to provide certainties and stability for the Raiders and the league," Goodell said.

Things could get very awkward for the Raiders and their hometown fans. The team's new $1.7-billion stadium, which will be constructed near the Vegas strip, isn't expected to be ready for two or three years. That means the Raiders could be playing as a lame-duck team through the 2019 season.

"I wouldn't use the term lame duck," Davis said. "We're still the Raiders and we represent Raider Nation. There will be disappointed fans, and it's important for me to talk to them to explain why and how."

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