The Raiders made it official Thursday. Legendary broadcaster Greg Papa, who also serves as an analyst for NBC Sports Bay Area, no longer will be the radio voice of the team.
[RAY RATTO: Raiders' exit feels much more imminent after reported broadcaster swap]
Raiders owner Mark Davis made the following statement Thursday:
The Raiders organization would like to thank Greg Papa for his two decades of service to the Silver and Black.. He wasn’t just given the job.. He earned it.. With intense preparation Greg was always ready for the call.. Just as my generation remembers Bill King and “Holy Toledo”.. The Raider Nation will remember Greg Papa and “Touchdown Raiders”.. We wish Greg and his family the best in whatever the future brings..
Brent Musburger reportedly will replace Papa in the booth. That hasn't been made official, however.
If Mark Davis really has decided to end Greg Papa’s tenure as the radio voice of the Oakland Raiders, then one of the last links between Oakland and the Raiders now is broken.
Rumors have spun for the better part of a month that Davis was looking to plant another flag in Las Vegas soil, and within the past few days, veteran network broadcaster Brent Musburger’s name has been linked to the job. Musburger is the main voice at gambling radio station VSiN and lives in Las Vegas, and as such is as recognizable a voice for the town as there is. The news of Musberger's hire by the Raiders was reported by the Las Vegas Review-Journal late Tuesday.
The news picked up speed earlier Tuesday, first when tweeted out by “FakeRudyMartzke,” a largely credible voice on broadcasting gossip, and then picked up by AwfulAnnouncing.com and The Athletic.
This would just be another inside-broadcasting story, though, if not for the fact that Papa, who's also a host for NBC Sports Bay Area, represents the second incarnation of the Oakland Raiders as Bill King represented the first, and breaking with that two years before the team’s actual departure from the Bay is another stark reminder of that departure.
The Raiders have not yet faced a real fan backlash over the decision to leave for Las Vegas, in large part because the process has gone so slowly and involved so many other cities. People have not only had a chance to face the fact that their team is leaving again, but the departure is not yet imminent.
Imminent arrives soon enough, though, and with it all the substantive and peripheral changes that will make the Raiders Nevada’s team. That Davis’ decision involves one of his father Al’s most trusted confidants also makes this another break with the old days, thus reinforcing Mark’s control of how the Raiders present themselves to the outside world.
The details on why Musburger has signed on for 2018 rather than 2020, when the Raiders are scheduled to relocate, still are to be ferreted out, but a team’s broadcaster, especially one with Papa’s tenure (21 years), is among the most enduring links between that team and its fan base, and change is jarring, especially as a harbinger of even bigger changes.
It is a change, though, that Davis is willing to undertake pre-emptively, either out of eagerness to begin the Las Vegas portion of his ownership or some professional/personal dissatisfaction with Papa. It breaks one of the last enduring bonds of this quarter-century of Oakland Raiders football, and with the minimal likelihood that there will ever be a third, this decision borders on the epochal.
In other words, Mark Davis now is making the Raiders' departure that much more real, and he's apparently ready to begin facing the belated reaction of a city scorned.
Legendary wide receiver Jerry Rice has a case as good as anyone as the greatest football player of all time.
He is a three-time Super Bowl champion, a 13-time Pro Bowl pick and a 10-time first-team All-Pro. He's the NFL career leader in receptions (1,549), receiving yards (22,895), and total touchdowns (208).
But you don't need us to tell you. The former 49ers and Raiders wideout made the case for himself with some colorful language to Charles Barkley at the American Century Celebrity Golf Championship in Lake Tahoe.
We couldn't have put it better ourselves.