The changing AFC West landscape and its impact on the Denver Broncos

With the Raiders looking to get out of Oakland, coupled with the Chargers relocation to Los Angeles, the winds of change are blowing in the AFC West. If the Oakland Raiders have their way, they will be trading the Black Hole for bright lights. On Thursday, the team filed the relocation paperwork to move to Las Vegas.

The NFL owners are expected to vote on the matter in March. If the relocation is approved, it still might not happen until their prospective new stadium is finished in 2020.

What does all of this have to do with the Denver Broncos? Well, for one, their travel arrangements will be different. More importantly, divisional road games might become a whole lot less rocky.

Imagine this…For the next two seasons, the Chargers will be playing at the StubHub Center, a soccer stadium that holds less than 30,000 people. After that, they will share a stadium with the Los Angeles Rams.

The Rams first stint in LA lasted from 1946-1994. The Chargers spent only the 1960 season there. Not only will they will be a tenant in the Rams building, but they will be competing against the Rams for fans, doing so with far weaker historical ties.

Should they move to Las Vegas, the Raiders will face a similar predicament. Vegas has no established allegiance to the Raiders. Sure, they might flock to games simply because they finally have a team, but how many of those who go will be born-and-bred Raiders fans (who, as we know, are a different breed)?

The last paragraph illustrates an issue that only takes into consideration the Nevada residents that would come to games. Vegas is a unique place. Given its nature, a lot of the people that would attend games would be tourists. You can often find round trip tickets from Colorado to Las Vegas for under $100. Broncos Country already travels pretty well. What’s to stop orange and blue-clad fans from turning the contest into a home game away from home?

In the meantime, should they announce plans to leave, Raiders fans in Oakland may feel abandoned by their team. Will they still cheer with the vigor that they have become known for?

Going to Arrowhead each year to face the Kansas City Chiefs will remain a daunting test. That being said, it definitely appears that home field advantage is dwindling for the Broncos other divisional opponents.

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