Supporters of the "Silver and Black" were out in full force Sunday before the Raiders' primetime contest, delivering a three-word message to the team: "Stay in Oakland."
A number of fans representing several Oakland-based grassroots clubs carried signs and deployed an airplane banner and leaflets to urge the Oakland Raiders organization and the National Football League to keep the team in the East Bay.
Organizer Jagdeep Bidwal said the airplane banner read, "Vegas. If You Build It, We Won't Come!!!" while circling the Oakland Coliseum before Sunday night's game. John Lupo with the group called "STAY IN OAKLAND" added that devoted volunteers distributed 10,000 double-sided signs to fans before the game. On one side, the signs read, "Stay in Oakland" and the other side featured the banner's message.
"We have gone through 14 years of losing and now we’re winning. We don’t need this distraction," Raiders superfan Doctor Death said. "But we’re here to give the message this is our home, we’re not going anywhere."
Bidwal and other coordinators used a GoFundMe page to reach their $2,500 airplane banner fundraising goal in less than 24 hours.
"We as a community do support the team," Bidwal said. "We care about the team. We don't deserve to lose the team."
The East Bay franchise is slowly being lured away by Nevada lawmakers who are finalizing plans to make the "Las Vegas Raiders" a team of the future. During the most recent step in the legislative process, Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval signed a bill into law that will pave the way for Las Vegas to construct an NFL stadium.
Some of the fans endured a Raiders move to Los Angeles back in the 1980s. Many said they would continue to support and watch the team in Las Vegas, but believe Oakland will always be the team's true home.
How many fans are you going to get in Las Vegas between here and Oakland?" one fan said. "See that’s all it is, right there."
NFL owners still have to approve the relocation, and Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf has reiterated that the city will continue to create responsible stadium options in the East Bay in an attempt to the keep the Raiders in their original home.
The Raiders defeated the Denver Broncos in the nationally televised contest.