Why Mark Davis has Raiders in better shape in Vegas than Al Davis did in Oakland

Jerry McDonald, The Mercury News on

Published in Football

Contrast that with a constant state of conflict between the Raiders organization, the city of Oakland and Alameda County. Local politics provided a perpetual state of chaos, with plenty of disdain in both directions.

Most of the problem had to do with the fact that Mark Davis required a lot more help financially than he could get from a Bay Area municipality and didn't have the clout to do it privately.

Things are looking up for G.M. Mike Mayock (right) and Raiders owner Mark Davis. AP Photo

Davis needed money. The city and county didn't have it, and wouldn't have parted with it anyway. That's California, and the belief that sports franchises ought to pony up for their own home is shared by most of its residents.

It was a stalemate all the way up to the final season in Oakland, with the laughable idea of the Raiders playing at sites such as Levi's Stadium and Oracle Park even though the 49ers weren't keen on either and would do what it took to make sure it didn't happen.

The Raiders handled that poorly, but they've played their cards right in Las Vegas at every turn. The Raiders love their East Bay fans -- reportedly 7,000 PSLs were sold to those who had season tickets in Oakland -- but have no such feelings for the city and county.


The moment on May 1 when a northern district U.S. District Court dismissed a lawsuit by the city of Oakland for damages over the Las Vegas move, the Bay Area was in the permanent rear-view mirror.

With Al Davis' health in decline and his decision-making impacted as a result, the Raiders were constantly in a state of upheaval from within. Combine that with the way the Raiders meshed with Bay Area politics, and the result was four winning seasons in 25 years.

And while early betting lines have the Raiders looking at something approximating another 7-9 season in 2020, look at the way they're operating and it's not inconceivable they could be on to something positive.

An old Al Davis adage was "I don't believe in chain of command," and it's how the Raiders operated until general manager Mike Mayock joined Jon Gruden in 2018.


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