All bets are off opening day when Raiders come to Las Vegas
LAS VEGAS (AP) They're not quite the Las Vegas Raiders, at least not yet. There's a stadium to be built and three more seasons to be played before everything is done.
But after approval of the their move to Sin City, here are a few things guaranteed to happen opening day 2020 in the new Raiders Stadium overlooking the Las Vegas Strip:
- Three 7's line up on the giant slot machine replica that covers the front of the stadium. The Raiders have hit the jackpot.
- An hour before game time, someone notices the head linesman isn't there. He's found at the craps table at Caesars Palace shouting something about his baby needing some new shoes.
- A fan in section 301 sees the roof being opened on a warm desert night. Believing this bodes well for Derek Carr, he pulls out his phone and places a parlay bet on the Raiders and the over. It's a bet Las Vegans like, mostly because it pays 13-5.
- Roger Goodell appears on the massive video screens towering over the field, reminding fans that the NFL prohibits betting inside the stadium. Bookies set the over/under on Goodell's video warnings at three and a half.
- Wayne Newton sings the national anthem, somehow managing to do it without ever actually opening his mouth. Siegfried and Roy are quickly brought in to make Newton disappear.
- Instead of the traditional coin flip to determine who kicks off, the referee rolls a pair of dice. They come up snake eyes, and somewhere Ken Stabler is cheering.
- Fans are asked to remove their hats for a moment of silence to remember the sacrifices of the mobsters who built Las Vegas.
- Drunken fans in Raiders masks and studded black leather are surprised when they are led by a tuxedoed ma�tre d' to their end zone seats. They're even more surprised when the bottle service charge comes to $1,500 for a bucket of Bud Lights.
- Jack Del Rio orders a deep pass on third and 10 with the Raiders trailing in the third quarter and bookies immediately post 5-1 odds against it being successful. Goodell uses the new NFL betting app he has just installed on his phone to bet that it will.
- On the sidelines, the new Las Vegas Raiders cheerleaders struggle to keep their balance while wearing huge silver and black showgirl headdresses. Two are flagged down by medical officials and taken to the locker room to check for possible concussions.
- The halftime entertainment is provided by Cirque du Soleil, and stars two Russian acrobats who leap around inside a giant moving ball. The Raiders are so impressed with their contortions that they sign them as wide receivers, and they go on to become co-MVP's in Super Bowl.
- Goodell is seen leaving just before the third quarter. He shares a limo with Newton, whom he invites to be the halftime show at the Super Bowl.
- A huge roar goes up with 35 seconds left when the Patriots score on a long pass play to pull within 38-17. The game goes over the total, making winners of the fan in section 301 and everyone else who parlayed that and the Raiders.
- The Raiders announce that their new slogan will be ''Just Cover, Baby!''
- Del Rio celebrates the big win by jumping in the Bellagio fountains. A group of ecstatic Raider fans in leather jump in with him, and they all link arms while singing to Frank Sinatra crooning ''Luck be a Lady'' over hotel loudspeakers.
- Hundreds of Raider fans miss their flights home after TSA insists on putting their studded helmets and other assorted Raider gear through metal detectors. Davis misses his flight, too, after sticking around to get a haircut.
- All of Las Vegas celebrates what promises to be a long relationship with the new team. They know that, unlike Oakland, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.
Tim Dahlberg is a national sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at tdahlberg(at)ap.org or http://twitter.com/timdahlberg