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Mark Davis: Al Davis would have been 'proud' of Raiders' Las Vegas move

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Money talks loudly in Raiders' move to Las Vegas (3:37)

Andrew Brandt joins SVP to discuss three NFL franchises moving recently and how businesswise, the leverage points for additional moves has quieted. (3:37)

PHOENIX -- Well-wishers stopped Mark Davis midstride on his triumphant-yet-hazy walk from a ballroom at the Arizona Biltmore to an onsite restaurant.

There was Pete Carroll, followed by John Elway, both stopping the Oakland Raiders owner to offer their respective congratulations, before Ron Rivera took a break from his lunch to do the same.

And as Davis waited for his lunch to arrive, the texts landed regularly -- hey, that’s Eric Dickerson -- before Davis placed a congratulatory call of his own to UNLV president Len Jessup, whose university’s football team will share the 65,000-seat, $1.9 billion domed stadium, which is not expected to be ready until 2020.

In the wake of receiving the 31-1 vote from NFL owners to allow him to move the franchise to Las Vegas, Davis was still trying to digest the feelings swirling around him as he picked at his lunch Monday afternoon.

Alternately ashen-faced, exhausted and relieved, Davis said he could not truly describe the emotions he was feeling. He was just as flummoxed when asked whether his late father, Hall of Famer Al Davis, would have also pursued Las Vegas.

"If you asked five people at this table, you’d get five different answers," Davis told ESPN.com.

One team employee laughed. Another thought the elder Davis would have gone to southern Nevada because Davis was constantly trying to find a permanent home for his franchise, which explains the previous moves from Oakland to Los Angeles in 1982 and back to Oakland in 1995 ... to no avail.

Then, what was the younger Davis' take on whether his father would have seen the Silver State as a home for the Silver and Black?

"I don’t know," he said.

OK, then what would he have thought about what transpired in the desert with Mark Davis and Raiders president Marc Badain engineering the team's winning the right to move to southern Nevada?

"He would be proud of the fact that two kids who started as ball boys in the organization, me and Marc, were able to do something that we weren’t able to do for a long time -- get our own stadium," Davis said. "I think he’d be very proud of that."

Davis talked about how so many people in key roles in the organization had "grown up" in the organization, much like himself and Badain, and credited Tom Blanda, senior vice president of stadium development and operations, for his work.

"I gave them goals, and the results speak for themselves," Davis said. "We’re ready to tackle the future."

The Raiders plan to exercise their one-year lease options to remain at the Oakland Coliseum the next two seasons, and it's unknown where they will play in 2019. They are open to playing in Oakland that year -- "If they want us, I’d seriously consider extending our lease," Davis said. They could also play somewhere else in the Bay Area -- Santa Clara’s Levi’s Stadium, Cal’s Memorial Stadium or even the San Francisco Giants' AT&T Park -- though such talk is speculation.

NFL owners would like to see the lease and development plan for the Las Vegas stadium completed as soon as possible.

The Raiders organization needs to upgrade its infrastructure to handle the move to Las Vegas in 2020, Davis said. He reiterated his disregard for playing any games at UNLV’s 35,500-seat Sam Boyd Stadium other than perhaps in the preseason. "I want to move in there clean," he said.

Davis also said he'll surround himself with people who are good at what they do when it comes to building a stadium in Las Vegas.

Al Davis had said the greatness of the Raiders was in the team's future, and Mark Davis reiterated his line from an earlier media conference: that building in Las Vegas would give the organization an opportunity to pursue such a goal.

"It’s great that all these people who grew up in the organization are taking it to the next level," he said.

Meanwhile, with all the excitement that permeated Las Vegas, there was just as much angst in Oakland.

It would be incorrect to wonder how a deal with Oakland fell apart because, well, there simply was no deal.

As the Raiders tell it (and Oakland city officials have neither confirmed nor denied this account), a term sheet was "80 percent done" for a new stadium on the Coliseum grounds in June 2014. It included 169 acres of "free land" promised by then-Oakland mayor Jean Quan, an offer later rescinded by sitting mayor Libby Schaaf.

Davis said even though the Raiders were looking at San Antonio and Carson, California, in recent years before jumping all-in with Las Vegas, Oakland was "competing with itself."

The implication was that had Oakland presented a plan to the NFL that the league deemed good enough to force the Raiders to stay, Davis would have been OK with that development. He also said Carson and Las Vegas knew that if Oakland had come up with a suitable plan, the Raiders would have stayed, that he was operating in good faith and not pitting cities against one another because Oakland was always in the driver’s seat ... until it wasn’t.

On Feb. 11, 2016, Davis essentially challenged the Oakland A’s to get on board with building two stadiums on the Coliseum site -- one for baseball, the other for football.

But NFL commissioner Roger Goodell told Schaaf in a letter on Friday that the city’s most recent plan was not a "viable solution" for the team. All of this led to Davis’ "mixed feelings" about the vote and pending departure.

"It’s very bittersweet," Davis said. "I understand [Raiders fans] will be angry and disappointed. I want them to know that I do understand that it’s emotional. Raider Nation is the greatest fan base in the world, and we’re going to build something to make them proud.

"But I also want them to give as much support to the team as possible as we attempt to bring a championship to the Bay Area."