Las Vegas is one of my favorite cities to visit. The glitz, the glamour, the bright lights, the mountains, the gambling, top of the line dining, the dry air that eases my allergies - all reasons why Sin City is an awesome vacation destination. I jumped at the chance to travel there when my wife had a work conference at the Bellagio in February. I guess you could say that she came for work, and I came for pleasure. (Did I mention that I love my wife?)
My wife and I had a fantastic time the week we were in Vegas. I saw the Grand Canyon for the first time, broke even on the roulette and slot machines, and had my first experience in Old Vegas. You haven't experienced Vegas until you visited the downtown area. The lights and people drinking while walking Fremont Street is debauchery that doesn't happen everywhere. Our trip was capped off with an incredible dining experience at the Joe Vicari's Andiamo Steakhouse at the D Las Vegas Hotel and Casino. As for shows, nothing is as crazy and entertaining as the Zombie Burlesque show at Planet Hollywood.
I have been passionate about NFL football for the last 30 years of my life. When I found out that the Oakland Raiders had a Preview Center to commemorate the team's move to Las Vegas, I had to check it out even though I'm a devoted fan of the Philadelphia Eagles. I respect "the shield" that much and have had great experiences visiting the NFL Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio with my dad and the NFL Draft when it was in Philly that I had to check this out. NFL teams know how to show fans an amazing time.
Since my wife had an early day on Saturday, I decided to head over to the Preview Center at 10:00am when it was scheduled to open. I was pretty psyched for the experience and explained to my Uber driver how this was built to welcome the team to Las Vegas when the new stadium is constructed and the team completes their move prior to the 2020 NFL season. In addition, the NFL Draft is scheduled to be in Las Vegas in April of 2020, so the NFL fans in the city have a lot to be excited about.
I exited my Uber and walked to the entrance of the Preview Center. It was 40 degrees outside but I was pretty warm bundled up in my sweatshirt and pants. The Town Square in Las Vegas was empty. I was pretty surprised that there was no one else there. When I got to the entrance it was pretty loud as a video wall of Raiders highlights was playing in the doorway. That's strange. The door wouldn't open. So I walked around the building convinced that I was at the incorrect entrance. But that was not the case. Here's a video that shows my experience:
Maybe I'm stubborn? I didn't want to give up so easy. I came all this way so I'm going to get my experience. So I parked myself on a nearby bench and gave myself fifteen minutes. It was starting to get a little cold, but I have a little meat on my bones and it wasn't enough to stop me. After fifteen minutes, I started to become frustrated because nothing happened. I noticed one other couple try to enter the facility but walked away after noticing that the doors were locked. Maybe they were smarter than me?
So I picked up the phone and called the Oakland Raiders office to ask them to have their worker open the door and let me in. I suppose they have an answering service on the weekends because the operator was no use and powerless to do anything. So I then walked down the street to the Raiders Pro Shop. I told the employee my predicament but the only thing she could say was, "Maybe they're not in yet?". You think?
You'd think she would have placed a call to the Preview Center and have an employee let me in. I mean there had to have been someone in there, the videos and lights probably wouldn't turn themselves on. But she didn’t do that. So I walked back to the Preview Center and gave myself ten more minutes. The time went by and after 45 minutes I was done waiting. I called an Uber and rode back to the hotel. "Womp! Womp!"
Was I pissed? A little. I mean, I wasted around $25.00 for transportation to a Preview Center that was operating on the inside but had the doors locked out front. Were they hiding a murder inside? A drug deal? We will never know. But I felt like a jabroni sitting outside in the cold waiting for an NFL team experience that wasn't the team that I cheer for.
I can think of other stupid things that the Raiders have done like draft JaMarcus Russell, being responsible for starting the Patriots dynasty, trading their stars last season, hiring and firing eight different coaches (Tony Sparano was an interim coach in 2014) since Jon Gruden left after the 2001 season...but this may be the worst. Do I want to be reimbursed for the money? No. But an apology would be nice. "Joe Odas (pronounced Otis), I'm sorry that you had to freeze your big ass off outside of our Preview Center." Maybe Chucky himself Jon Gruden, along with Mike Mayock, and the big boss himself Mark Davis can give me an apology shoutout from their coaches "war room" on an upcoming episode of "Hard Knocks"? It will be a great moment for the team as it will wipe away years of bad karma. It will also be a great moment for HBO as they try to live up to the high standards of players not believing in dinosaurs but believing in mermaids, Rex Ryan shouting "Now let's go eat a goddamn snack!", and all things Bob Wylie.
Now I understand that the Raiders have no reason to issue a Schmo like me an apology. And since I'm putting the #sorryjoe challenge out there, I'll put in some stakes for myself. If this is a fail and there is no apology on "Hard Knocks" and I end up with egg on my face then I will literally crack an egg over my head and rub it in my face. I'll post it on my Youtube channel for the world to see. If the the three men above do issue an apology to me on "Hard Knocks", then I will post a video of me shaving my head bald and cracking an egg over my hairless head.
Stakes? Yeah, there's a lot of them for me. My hair is starting to get thin, and it may just never grow back. I may be forced to use the Hair Club for Men, or spend the rest of my life wearing a horrible toupee. My wife may decide that she doesn't want to be married to a 36-year-old combination of Uncle Fester and Pugsley Addams looking dude. And she might leave my ass for a younger, sexier, slimmer stud. My soon-to-be son will ask his stepfather "are you my real daddy?".
So what do you say Raiders? Are you up for the #sorryjoe challenge? Or do you not have the cajones? You have until September 3rd. The time is ticking.