At this point you may be thinking, “So the Raiders are moving and that bites, but why should I care?” Well, here are a few similarities between the Raiders and the Packers. The city of Oakland (excluding the metropolitan area) was one of the smaller cities with an NFL team (Green Bay is by far the smallest). Despite the small markets of the Packers and Raiders, they are two of the most iconic franchises in the NFL. When it comes to Ranking the top fan bases in all of football, nearly every list will show the Packers, Raiders, Steelers, and Cowboys in or near the top 5. In terms of NFL history, it’s hard to find a more influential team than the Raiders. Former owner Al Davis was hugely influential in the merging of the AFL and NFL back in the 1960’s and he helped shaped the modern-NFL you know and love today. I’d say it’s safe to say he’s rolling over in his grave knowing that his son (Raiders owner Mark Davis) took Wayne Larrivee’s proverbial dagger and threw it directly into the back of his own fans.
If anybody out there is thinking this isn’t a big deal because the Raiders previously played in Los Angeles, so moving is nothing knew to them, think again. There is a far cry difference from moving the team between California cities and removing the team entirely. The NFL has said the move was for the sake of a new stadium in Las Vegas (notice the NFL will gladly glance over the fact that Oakland was prepared to build and finance a new stadium in order to keep the team). Forget any franchise being too sacred, too popular to move, that notion has been obliterated. It ultimately boils down to this for Packer fans, imagine a day when Lambeau Field is in rough shape, and a remodel is no longer enough to keep up with modern NFL standards. A new stadium in the modern NFL costs at least $800 million if not $1 billion dollars, and Green Bay doesn’t have a billionaire owner to cover even a fraction of the costs. I (and I’d venture to say most Packer fans) have long taken solace in the fact that the Packers are a beloved, historic, and publicly owned team with arguably the most wide reaching and dedicated fan base in sports. None of those things (ignoring the publicly owned bit) could save the Raiders. Green Bay is one of the smallest, if not the smallest, markets in professional sports. With the size of the Packers fan base it’s not wrong to think the team could be more profitable elsewhere, but why ruin a great thing, right? Right, NFL? Do you hear us? Don’t ruin a great thing (again).
Do I think a move for the Packers is on the horizon? Not at all. Do I think the Packers will ever move? No, I most certainly do not. However, I’m no longer unshakably confident in those beliefs. If we can learn anything from the Raiders move, it is to cherish what we have, because nothing is guaranteed.