John Madden has a message for NFL coaches who will travel to Las Vegas in a few years when the Raiders relocate from Oakland: Watch your players.
“I would hate to have my team be in Las Vegas on Saturday night before the game,” the Oakland Raiders’ Hall of Fame coach and former broadcaster, said in a Sirius XM interview Wednesday night. “You say, ‘Well, you had a bunch of rowdies,’ but every team has a bottom 10. You can say, ‘Oh, we got a good group, it’s a great group, we’re together,’ and all this stuff. Say you have 55 guys. Forty-five of them can be perfect, but you’ve got that bottom 10. And you have to be as good as your last guy. If this thing goes through, I think there’s going to be a lot of problems like that.”
Of course, the “thing” has gone through, with the Raiders set to leave when their stadium in the desert is finished. “I’d stay in Mohave or something,” Madden added.
Madden, who turned 81 on Monday, found the NFL’s decision to allow the Raiders to move to Vegas at odds with the limits it places on players. For instance, earlier this week the NFL said it would fine players who appeared at an arm-wrestling competition at a casino last weekend. And Tony Romo’s fantasy football convention in the gambling Mecca was canceled because it was at odds with NFL rules.
Such head-scratching issues aside, Madden admitted that he was stunned by NFL owners’ decision to allow the Raiders to relocate. Although they went to Los Angeles in 1982, this time the move seems final to him.
“Maybe this is just me being oversensitive, but doggone it, if you’re going to go, that’s really tough, but leave us something,” Madden, a longtime Bay Area resident, said. “Leave us something here in Oakland. Please.”
With Madden as coach from 1969-78, the Raiders won their first Super Bowl. There may be compelling financial reasons behind the owners’ 31-1 vote in favor of the move, but Madden will be sad to see the Raiders finally go in a few years.
“With the stadium now, when they move out, that’s going to be torn down, and it’s going to be a high rise or some doggone thing. There’ll be no more Oakland Raiders,” he said. “There will be no more history of the Oakland Raiders, and that really bothers me.
“Boom, it just goes away.”