Mark Davis: A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

Mark Davis: A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

We were told he was a joke, the league is forcing him out, that Mark Davis was nothing more than a court jester; there for the amusement of the other 31 owners.

500 miles away, Las Vegas was seen as the forbidden fruit, the NFL would never allow a franchise in a city with legalized gambling, that the shutdown of Tony Romo’s fantasy football promotion was all you needed as proof.

The city officials in Oakland certainly believed this was the case. After filing for relocation you would think the city would realize the dire situation which was unfolding? Quadrupling the rent while saying good riddance seems counter productive in my (non-political background) opinion. City Council leader Noel Gallo certainly made his feelings well known:

“I’m ready to kiss and say goodbye and help him pack his bags,” Gallo said.

The media has had a lot of fun with this one as well.

Mike Florio:

“It’s likely just a matter of time before the league makes it clear that the Raiders won’t be permitted to move to Las Vegas.

So the folks in Oakland, who have played this game of poker very well so far, aren’t about to freak out over the Raiders’ latest empty threat.”


Jason La Canfora:

“He’s not going anywhere,” CBS Sports NFL analyst Jason La Canfora said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “He has zero leverage. He’s going to do a one- or two-year lease in the craphole that he’s in, and at some point he’ll realize the best way to aid that franchise would be to put all of his energy into getting a partner with him who can help him build in the Bay Area. They want two teams in the Bay Area. They don’t want a team in San Antonio, they don’t want a team in San Diego, and their stance on Las Vegas is pretty unequivocal. So he’s going to get 23 other votes to go to Vegas, (and the league is going to say), ‘Okay, here’s your relocation fee: $3 billion. Have fun, Mark.’ It’s kind of silly, really.”


And this beauty by ESPN’s Gene Wojciechowski, I won’t bother quoting an excerpt as the whole video piles on.


Since the talking heads made their feelings known, so much has changed. Of course there is still that argument some like to point to “just like Carson was a sure thing…”

What sunk the Carson plan is the same thing that has elevated the prospect of Vegas. He resides in Dallas and goes by the name of Jerrah.

Jones said the NFL’s perception of Las Vegas has changed for the better, and called it “a fundamentally solid market.” He predicted that if that process continued to move forward for the Raiders, there would not be the same type of battle among owners that happened with L.A.

“There won’t be,” he said. “You’ll have certain individual owners with thoughts, but you won’t see people clumping together to try to stop it – not with Las Vegas in the Raiders’ case. You’re not going to have factions and things like that. Not here.”

But unless Jones is willing to fund the 750 million dollar funding gap (in which Vegas still requires Legislature support), Davis still has the near impossible task of garnering 750 million in public funding; the most public money ever given to an NFL owner to build a stadium. It’s surely not possible that Tommy Boy could pull that off? If he did, that would surely mean he’s much more calculating and shrewd than ever given credit for.

Through the various SNTIC meetings, it’s been assumed by many that the funding could be an issue due to a preference to commit 1.5 billion to the expansion of the Las Vegas Convention Center. Some Bloggers have taken the irresponsible (and reckless) task of pretending to know what the Nevada politicians had in mind.

With the chips stacked against him in a town where the house always wins, how did Mark Davis waltz into Sin City and potentially beat the odds? Two words: Sheldon Adelson.

By partnering with the most powerful man in Vegas, Mark gained an ally equivalent to adding a Khalil Mack to your defensive line. Suddenly, there is no priority in Nevada greater than Mark Davis’ Raiders. On Friday we got proof of that:

That would be Michael Roberson, the Republican State Senate Majority Leader in Nevada.

It appears the stars have aligned for Mark Davis to take his fathers advice to “Just Win, Baby”. While the local fans of Oakland are the real losers in this process, I’ve yet to see a solution in Oakland which even gave Mark Davis a chance to stay. Unless that mysterious Saudi Prince steps back up to the negotiation table, it’s hard to imagine any scenario which doesn’t include the Las Vegas Raiders.

Mark Davis may have a funny hair cut, but as a business man, he’s proving to be no joke.

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