Raider Nation certainly recalls that moment when Mark Davis and Brian Sandoval donned hard hats and shovels and were the first to spade the soil where Allegiant Stadium now sits. That ceremonial event took place during the stadium groundbreaking in November 2017.
Fast forward to Monday and the two will be back at the same location, this time inside the completely constructed Allegiant Stadium.
Sandoval, the former Nevada Governor and current president of the University of Nevada, Reno, who was instrumental in bringing the Silver & Black to the Silver State, will perform the honor of lighting the Al Davis Memorial Torch prior to kickoff.
Sandoval became cemented in Raiders history when, on October 17, 2016, he inked the bills into law clearing the Raiders' relocation path. "Ladies and gentlemen, this is an epic day for the future of Southern Nevada and, in fact, for the entire Silver State," Sandoval told an overflowing crowd at UNLV's Tam Alumni Center as the Rebels band played 'Viva Las Vegas.' "It's a day that we're all going to remember — one that marked a new era in the history of one of the world's greatest cities."
The relationship between Davis and Sandoval has always been based on commitment. Davis kept his promise to the then-governor and here we are today, with Sandoval being extended the invitation to participate in this prestigious ceremony inside Allegiant Stadium, the palace that rose out of the desert constructed by thousands that shared a similar commitment.
"I made a commitment to the governor," Davis stated in 2016. "I told him if they come through with the funding that they were talking about, that I would do everything possible to get there. I was not using it as leverage. I told him. I looked him right in the eye and said: 'That's not the way I do business.'"
Sandoval joins an illustrious list that have been afforded the opportunity to light the Torch.
Since the tradition began in 2011 in Oakland, many Raiders Alumni, celebrities and fans have had the privilege to light the Torch before each home game. The Al Davis Memorial Torch is a tribute to Mr. Davis' legacy as the Raiders' long-time owner, Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee, AFL Coach of the Year, AFL Commissioner, and the architect of the Raiders' Commitment to Excellence in recognition of Mr. Davis' enduring vision that "the fire that burns the brightest in the Raiders' organization is the will to win."
John Madden was the first to light the torch on October 18, 2011. The First Lady of Raider Nation Mrs. Carol Davis was the first to light the Al Davis Memorial Torch honoring her late husband in Las Vegas, handling the prestigious honor prior to the Raiders' inaugural contest at Allegiant Stadium on September 21, 2020.
Dr. Miriam Adelson, widow of Sheldon G. Adelson, was bestowed the honor this year prior to the August 14 preseason contest, the first game at Allegiant Stadium with fans. As is the case with Sandoval, she was a worthy choice to light the torch in memory of, and in tribute to, her late husband and Al Davis, as the stadium would not be a reality without their support.