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Five reasons for Las Vegans to root for the Raiders (even if they never have before)

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Left to right: Darren Waller, Derek Carr and Henry Ruggs

Many Las Vegans already have a favorite NFL team. They’re transplants from Chicago who have cheered for the Bears through good times and bad, or they’re beholden to the tradition of watching the Dallas Cowboys each and every week. And that’s OK. There’s no need to flip loyalties to the Raiders, but they do deserve your support. Here’s why …

1. They’re representing us. If a game is being played and one of the teams is wearing the words Las Vegas on its uniforms, that’s enough to merit your backing—regardless of the activity. Many residents have an immense sense of pride in living in Las Vegas, a world-class city and a great place to call home. Now we have a world-class franchise that also calls Southern Nevada its home.

2. They’ve immersed themselves in our community. The Raiders have gone above and beyond in this regard, donating money to a variety of projects—schools, athletic programs, shelters, food banks and more. That generosity starts with team owner Mark Davis. “Of all the owners I have met, and I’ve met a lot, he’s the most what-you-see-is-what-you-get owner,” Gov. Steve Sisolak said. “For a wealthy guy who owns a major sports franchise, he’s the most down-to-earth guy you are going to meet.” Davis’ persona and acts of kindness make it easier to feel like a part of Raider Nation.

3. If it weren’t for the Raiders, there would be no Allegiant Stadium. The venue—once we’re beyond the pandemic, of course—will be a great revenue source for the area, home to concerts, festivals and big-time sporting events, including an eventual Super Bowl. Each event will have a significant economic impact on the Strip and jobs created through game-day staffing. The stadium should help the city emerge from the economic downturn brought on by COVID-19.

4. Sports can help communities heal. The first home game in Vegas Golden Knights history came nine days after the mass shooting on the Strip in 2017. The emotional pregame tribute to victims was one of those moments that showed the value of having a local professional sports team, and the Knights then went on a seven-month run to the Stanley Cup Final. The diversion of watching an evening of hockey helped take our minds off the tragedy. The pandemic isn’t going away, meaning an afternoon watching the Raiders could take our minds off of being isolated at home or battling through personal financial struggles.

5. The Raiders, like Las Vegas, have a renegade spirit. They have a history of clashing with the powers that be in the NFL, and let’s not forget that, for years, the NFL wanted nothing to do with Las Vegas because of its legalized sports gambling. It seems only fitting that it’s the Raiders who now call Las Vegas home. All that’s left, in the words of Al Davis, the team’s late Hall of Fame owner, is to “Just win, baby!”

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Ray Brewer, a proud local, has been part of Greenspun Media Group since the mid-1990s. He’s covered high school and ...

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