That’s right. By 2019 or 2020 or maybe even by 2021, depending on when exactly the Raiders’ planned luxury stadium is finished, the Oakland Raiders will become the Las Vegas Raiders. And with the Raiders will come a whole new wave of fans, businesses, and revenues to the city.
Now, all you newbie NFL and Raiders fans are likely wondering, is ‘my team’ actually going to be good? Well, fortunately – yes. For a long time, the Raiders were a terrible team living at the bottom of their division; they missed the playoffs for thirteen straight years after being embarrassed in Super Bowl XXXVII by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Until 2016-2017 season, that is. This year, the Raiders finally turned things around. They won 12 games and lost in the first round of the playoffs, after their star quarterback, league MVP candidate Derek Carr, went down with a broken fibula. And even though their season ended in tough disappointment, the Raiders still proved they were a team of the future by finishing above .500 for the first time since 2002. With an elite QB who’s just 26-years-old, a star 23-year-old receiver, a top-tier offensive line, a few young, high-potential players in the secondary, and a once-in-a-generation-level edge rusher, the Raiders look like they’ll be perennial playoff contenders for the next six to eight years to come.
So, be happy, soon-to-be Raiders fans. Because the team that you’re about to be rooting for is pretty dang good, not to mention a helluva lot of fun to watch. The QB-WR connection between Derek Carr and Amari Cooper is electric. First-round talents Gareon Conley, Karl Joseph, and Obi Melifonwu form one of the most naturally gifted secondary cores in the league (Also, how fun is that to say? Obi Melifonwu). And Khalil Mack is, well quite frankly, a beast. First team All-Pro in each of the past two seasons and Defensive Player of the Year last season, Mack is a 26-year-old with the potential to be the best defender in the entire league on an annual basis. He’s already looking like he’ll go down as one of the greatest defenders in NFL history.
Though we cannot predict the future for sure, there are no absolute guarantees that the Raiders will be a dominant and exciting team throughout the next several years, especially with Derek Carr’s health recently being called into question. But, with the significant infusion of talent throughout the Raiders’ roster, the Las Vegas NFL team to-be will, in all likelihood, be an elite football team the moment they arrive in the valley.