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Brent Musburger reflects on Raiders’ first season in Vegas

Brent Musburger misses the fans after looking live at an empty Allegiant Stadium during all 16 Raiders games in their inaugural NFL season in Las Vegas.

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, Musburger, the Raiders’ radio play-by-play voice, and color commentator Lincoln Kennedy called Las Vegas’ home and away games at Allegiant Stadium.

“It was actually hard, the first time we had a live game, for me to get caught up in it,” said Musburger, 81. “I could hear the audibles down on the field and the officials talking. As time wore on, Lincoln Kennedy and I got caught up in it.

“I just so hope we have fans in the stadium next year … I missed them this year.”

When fans are finally allowed to fill the $2 billion, 65,000-seat stadium, Musburger said they’re in for a treat.

“Folks in this city are going to love that stadium. Not just for Raiders games and UNLV games, but for concerts and other events,” he said. “I believe that stadium is going to bring this city back. It’s so well done, and it’s close.

“My producer stayed at Delano (Las Vegas) and walked to games across Hacienda (Avenue).”

Musburger, who finished his third season as the Raiders’ radio announcer, is thrilled to have the franchise in Las Vegas.

“The NFL really gives this city a major league identity,” he said. “I’m not taking anything away from the Golden Knights. I love the Golden Knights, and what they’ve accomplished here has been remarkable.

“But the National Football League puts you in a different category when you have a franchise in the city. That’s what I’m most proud about.”

The Raiders rallied to beat the Broncos in Sunday’s season finale to salvage an 8-8 season. They failed to make the playoffs for the 17th time in 18 years, but gave bettors a Silver-and-Black lining by surpassing their season win total of 7½ at Las Vegas sportsbooks.

“I know some of the people are down on the Raiders. But you’ve got to look at that bookmaker’s number coming into the season,” Musburger said. “At least they were able to get the over.

“Look at what they’ve brought to this community, with (owner) Mark Davis helping charities. That to me is the No. 1 impact. The games will take care of themselves. Everybody knows they need to improve on the defensive side of the ball. That’s no scoop. They took the first step.”

Musburger said it’s only a matter of time before Las Vegas truly becomes a Raiders city.

“It’s not a Raiders city as of yet because there are a lot of Bears fans that live here and a lot of Giants fans that live here. Rams fans. You name it, because people from all over have retired to Las Vegas,” he said. “But that younger generation that’s growing up with every game televised in the Las Vegas market, those youngsters ages 10 to 12 who are just creeping in watching the NFL.

”They’re going to grow up to be Raiders fans, and this will become a Raiders city.”

Contact reporter Todd Dewey at tdewey@reviewjournal.com. Follow @tdewey33 on Twitter.

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