PHOENIX -- His early success occurred with the Oakland Raiders, leading to nostalgic feelings about the area. But Bruce Allen also understands the economics of the NFL, which is why he supports the team moving to Las Vegas.
Allen, the Washington Redskins president, served as a senior executive to Raiders owner Al Davis from 1996-2003. He won the executive of the year award after the 2002 season. A year later he headed to Tampa Bay, but he remained tight with Raiders current owner Mark Davis.
It pains Allen to see the Raiders leave Oakland, but he also supports the decision. He envisions the famed Black Hole in the Oakland Coliseum being reinvented in Nevada.
"The black hole will be redeveloped in the silver state," Allen said. "It will now be the Silver and Black hole and it will fit perfectly."
Allen said fans will follow the Raiders anywhere.
"The Raiders are a unique brand," he said. "They have a great fan base in Los Angeles, a great fan base in San Diego, in Oakland. I know they had a great fan base in San Antonio that wanted them to move. The inability of Oakland, the city officials, to ever make an offer. ... It really became impossible playing in a baseball stadium. It was the last one in the league like that by many years."
The Raiders are swapping the nation's No. 6 TV market for the 40th. But Allen doesn't think there will be a drop-off in the team's popularity because of that fan base.
"I care about the fans and the franchise," Allen said. "Those fans followed them to Los Angeles when they moved to LA. I'm sure they'll follow them to Las Vegas, many of them. Once you're a Raider in your blood, you're always going to be a Raiders fan."