PHOENIX — Robert Kraft and most of the NFL’s 31 other owners understood what needed to be done.
The Oakland Raiders had had a history of financial issues, and the best way to resolve them was to get them into a new, state-of-the-art stadium.
‘I do feel bad for Raider fans’
That is what awaits the Raiders owner Mark Davis in Las Vegas, where his team will be playing in two or three years, thanks to a 31-1 vote of league owners Monday approving the move at the NFL meeting at the Arizona Biltmore.
“You can’t compete in this league without generating a certain amount of revenue through your stadium, and now he’s going to be able to do that,” Kraft told Jim Miller and Pat Kirwan on Movin’ The Chains. “I do feel bad for Raider fans. Look, I went through this myself. I know how our fans felt, but I guess it’s an hour-and-a-half flight or seven-eight-hour drive (from Oakland to Las Vegas).
‘It’s unusual, it’s a small market’
“It’s unusual, it’s a small market, but it’s a market that’s made in many ways for the NFL. I don’t think 20 years ago we would have done it, because of the gaming and everything. But in today’s world, with the Internet and what have you, I think every visiting team, whenever they’re playing there, I can see 20,000 of our fans wanting to go. So I think he’s got a real built-in opportunity, and he’s got to sell it to his folks now and make it special.”
Kraft has been impressed with the way Davis has handled running the Raiders since taking them over after the passing of his father, Al Davis.
‘Mark has really taken over the stewardship of this’
“Mark has really taken over the stewardship of this and really handled himself very well,” Kraft said. “The Raiders owed over $50 million for a number of years, and one of the first things he did was pay it off and settle an obligation. I think a number of us thought that that was a great sign, that they were trying to act in an responsible way. And a number of us have tried to help him get set.
“… it’s important to us that that franchise be in a position to be able to function. They’ve been at the bottom of the league, financially. They’ve been receiving revenue sharing and no one likes to do that. And I think this is a real opportunity for him to develop a great stadium.”
Photo Credit: AP Photo/John Locher