So we’re doing this thing, I guess. The Raiders are moving to Las Vegas. But stadiums don’t just spring out of the sand overnight, and it will take three whole seasons — 48 games at a minimum, 20-odd of those at home — before the Raiders finally take the field in Nevada’s Record Public Money Dome.
Franchise owner Mark Davis has said that the Raiders will continue to play in Oakland in 2017, and perhaps in 2018, raising the question of what those games — populated by spurned fans famed for their devotion — will be like. Maybe nobody will go. (They’d be forgiven, given the ticket price hikes.) Maybe fans will go, and take the opportunity to make their displeasure known by burning effigies of Davis and stomping out cardboard Luxor pyramids. Or maybe fans will go and hold it together like everything is fine, totally fine, letting out just the tiniest silver tear like poor Emma Thompson. One thing, at least, is certain: The remaining games in Oakland will be awkward and more than a little bit sad for local fans.
A less-than-modest proposal for Oakland: Bring in Marshawn “PLEASE LORD LET ONE LAST TRULY GREAT THING HAPPEN” Lynch, and let’s make the last year or two of the Oakland Raiders legendary.
Sure, it might not be the team’s call in the end; Lynch, who visited the Raiders’ facility on Wednesday, has to officially decide to un-retire in the first place. Yet the fantasy of Lynch playing for his hometown has persisted since the running back suited up for Oakland Technical High School in the early 2000s. And while, yes, there is something very melancholy about the prospect of his return happening only now that the franchise has one foot out the door, I will raise you this: Lynch joining the Raiders could also be freaking awesome.
I know, I know: Being jilted sucks. Being jilted for somewhere richer and with shinier toys: not the most enjoyable thing.
Hear me out, though. Lynch is already an East Bay legend: His jersey hangs in bars around Berkeley; his flagship Beast Mode store is on Broadway; he remains thoroughly enmeshed in — and beloved by — the community. He is the joy of football condensed into human form, as well as a troll of such beauteous mastery that we’d all be lucky to see him in the spotlight again.
The 2017 Raiders, with a loaded offense, a young and talented quarterback, and one of the league’s most dominant defenders, are already primed for greatness. Add Lynch into the mix — even at 30 years old and a season removed from his last professional game — and the Silver and Black look downright fearsome. Would it be painful for Oakland fans, now 36 years removed from their last championship in the city, to bask in the glory of the present just as the team is about to hit the road? Sure. But you know what? People sure seem to write an awful lot of songs about breakup sex.