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Davis, Raiders have deep connection with Las Vegas

By Norm Clarke  (VSiN Columnist) 

March 31, 2017 12:02 AM

Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman goes back a long way with Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis.

He may not remember it.

“I first met him when he was maybe 6 or 7 at the now-imploded Riviera where I worked in marketing,” she said.

This was a few years after Oscar and Carolyn Goodman arrived from Philadelphia in 1964. Raiders managing partner Al Davis and his wife Carol often stayed at the Riviera “and used to come to my office,” said Carolyn Goodman.

Oscar Goodman recalled meeting Al Davis on one of his visits to his wife’s office. “I was a young lawyer, wet behind the ears. I’d go up to the Riviera offices to meet her.

“He was one of the few who took on the NFL,” said Oscar Goodman, who would later turn his popularity as a mob attorney into becoming a three-term mayor from 1999 to 2011, when his wife won the mayoral race.

He likes what the Raiders bring to Las Vegas.

“As far as sports are concerned, and I’m sure Cubs fans, Dodger fans and Yankee fans will disagree, but I don’t think there is a team with more mystique than the Raiders.

“They have something very, very special. They represent a grittiness, and for all of our glitz and glamor we’re a gritty city.”


Torn allegiances

Spotted at the NFL owners cocktail party on Monday at the Biltmore hotel in Phoenix was Pro Football Hall of Famer John Elway and his wife Paige.

I saw the Elways chatting with a group that included New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and Houston Texas coach Bill O’Brien.

There was little interaction between Elway and O’Brien, who kept his distance. As soon as I snapped a couple photos, O’Brien quickly moved away from the camera.

No one would blame O’Brien for feeling a bit awkward around Elway. After the Texans wildly outbid the Broncos for the services of Brock Osweiler, whom the Broncos had groomed to replace Peyton Manning, Osweiler was a disaster and shipped off to the Siberia that is Cleveland. 

But back to Elway and his wife.

Elway, who has been a front-office success as well as on the field, clearly bleeds Bronco blue and orange.

He has a Raiders connection. He is married to a Raiderette.

He met Green, who was a member of the Raiders cheerleading squad for several years, at a 2005 golf tournament hosted by Raiders great Marcus Allen, also a Hall of Famer and a first-round draft pick.

Later he saw her in an infomercial and called her. She moved to Denver in 2007 and they got married in 2008 after getting engaged in Italy.

He was previously married for 19 years to Janet Buchan, whom he met at Stanford where she was a star swimmer. They divorced in 2003.

A marriage of mystique

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock has seen the passionate rivalry between the Broncos and Raiders up close and personal.

He thinks the Raiders and Las Vegas are a natural fit.

“The Raiders have a great mystique and Las Vegas has a mystique too,” he told me in Phoenix a couple weeks ago.

Hancock recalled his first trip to Oakland for a Broncos-Raiders game. He was riding the Broncos team bus as it neared Oakland Coliseum. He said the Denver’s play-by-play announcer, Dave Logan, leaned over and said, “watch this” as the bus ran along a fence.

“Raiders fans rushed the fence to welcome us,” said Hancock. “They were swearing at us, giving us the finger and mooning us. And that was just the women. I am not kidding.”

Word play from the bay

Jason Keidel writes a erudite column for CBS Local Sports in San Francisco.

Here are some excerpts from his take on the Raiders’ move to Las Vegas.

“So odd. The home that was old and crusty yet perfect for Raiders Nation, the land of Silver & Black and the Black Hole, where grown men with regular jobs and regular families ditched their suits and ties for face paint and shields, spikes jutting from their shoulders, storming Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum like the cast of Mad Max. No more.”

He continued, “Sure, there’s certain symmetry, if not romance, to the vagabond franchise that never felt tethered to the rules, fleeing for the city that symbolizes life on the edge.

“For a hard-charging, hard-partying franchise setting up camp in a town that practically invented redeye, the forbidden life between dusk and dawn.

“What happens with the Raiders stays with the Raiders, and what happens in Vegas…”


On this day…

March 31, 1955: Famed tenor Mario Lanza, booked for a two-week, $100,000 gig to open the remodeled New Frontier, is a no-show on opening night. Other stars cover for the drugged, drunk opera star, who leaves Las Vegas the next day and never returns.

The punch line

“Officials in Colombia are angry at rapper Wiz Khalifa for smoking marijuana at the tomb of Pablo Escobar. The officials said marijuana has no place at this sacred monument to cocaine.” – Conan O’Brien.

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