Jon Gruden and the Las Vegas Raiders have nicknamed Allegiant Stadium 'Death Star'. How long before the memes start driving fans crazy?
Before the Raiders rehired Jon Gruden in 2018, the team had not been playing well. Since they last won the Super Bowl in 2002, the team had finished the regular season with a winning record just once. That is once in 15 seasons, and their only playoff berth ended with a loss in the wildcard round.
The once-proud franchise had not been relevant in years. So, to get the team back to relevance, team owner Mark Davis brought back one of its best and most respected former head coaches—Jon Gruden.
When the news broke about Gruden’s contract, many thought it was a joke—ten years, $100 million. Gruden was good back in his day, but he had been out of coaching for nine years. As it turns out, Gruden’s contract was not the joke at all.
The nickname for the team’s new stadium in Las Vegas was:
The home of the Las Vegas Raiders, Allegiant Stadium, has an all-black exterior, which has led to the stadium being nicknamed the ‘Death Star.’ When Davis used the name during a short speech before a scrimmage in August, it was officially here to stay:
“Welcome to the Death Star, where our opponents’ dreams come to die.”
Okay— it was a cool line and sent the kind of message a football team wants to send. There is just one problem, though. Everyone on Earth knows where the name came from and what happened to the first two Death Stars. Surely, the Raiders do not want to draw that connection to their new stadium, right? Watch the video:
We are talking about one of the most notable moments in cinematic history from a movie franchise with a legion of passionate and loyal fans. Jon Gruden and the Raiders have to know this is a bad idea.
It is a cool name, and it does have an intimidating and authoritative sound to it. But everyone will draw a connection to the Death Stars in the Star Wars movies. When ESPN’s Paul Gutierrez mentioned it to Mark Davis, his response sounded like something Emperor Palpatine might have said before deciding to build the second one:
Yeah, that was THEIR Death Star. Not ours. Ours was built to sustain.
Gruden gave a blunt response of his own when asked about it to the Las Vegas Journal:
I think it’s a cool name for our stadium. I don’t give a damn about Star Wars. That’s what we’re calling our stadium, and I don’t care what anybody else thinks. It’s a cool stadium, it’s a great name, and we just have to play good when we’re in there.
He may not care about the popular movie franchise, but its legion of fans do care—a lot. They will have a hoard of GIFs, memes, and any other kind of joke they can think of ready every Sunday. Fans of the opposing team likely will, as well.
But should Jon Gruden ends his postgame press conference after home games with ‘May the Force be with you,’ the internet might break.