On Monday night, Jon Gruden and the Las Vegas Raiders will make their home debut at the brand new Allegiant Stadium against the New Orleans Saints. The flashy new stadium has already taken on a pretty great nickname given its appearance: the "Death Star."
“Welcome to the Death Star, where our opponents’ dreams come to die,” team owner Mark Davis said back in August. “My father always said that the greatness of the Raiders is in its future. Well today that future really starts. This magnificent stadium was built on the backs of thousands of players, coaches, administrators and fans who for the past 60 years have proudly worn the Silver and Black."
It's hard to deny, it is a good nickname for a stadium, especially one for a team like the Raiders which have often embraced that villain role at their best. Of course, there've been plenty of jokes made at its expense, given the Star Wars background for the name. In the beloved film series, the actual Death Stars were destroyed in multiple films. Gruden isn't here for those details though.
“I think it’s a cool name for our stadium,” Gruden told reporters Thursday, per the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “I don’t give a damn about Star Wars. That’s what we’re calling our stadium and I don’t care what anybody else thinks. It’s a cool stadium, it’s a great name and we just have to play good when we’re in there.”
It is always a surprise when someone hasn't seen Star Wars, but Jon Gruden is the quintessential football guy. He was just 13 when "A New Hope" came out in 1977, but it wouldn't surprise anyone if he was somewhere grinding film that whole summer.
Mark Davis gets the reference, but he's not worried about the fate of the Death Star from a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.
Hopefully Allegiant Stadium doesn't have a small, exploitable weakness that leads to the entire thing being destroyed. The Las Vegas Raiders' defense? That is yet to be seen. We'll find out a lot when they face an explosive Saints offense on Monday Night Football.