One of the guarantees in life is that if you write something about the pathetic state of the Oakland Raiders, you will hear from numerous angry Raiders fans. And they will tell you all about how they went to the 2003 Super Bowl, and that they won three Super Bowls between 1976 and 1984, and that they were the most successful team of the 1980s or over some 25 year span or something. You will hear bland repetition of their now-ridiculous "Commitment to Excellence" slogan, and reminders of glorious victories and anyway how many Super Bowls has YOUR team won? Happens every time.
And I must admit that there's a part of me that admires this. A large part. I have never liked
This is what I think separates those Raiders fans; I think they are unique in American sports. And it's not only because fans wear spikes on their shoulders and
So, you ask: Where are Raiders fans on this continuum? Well, that's the thing: Many of them never seem to get on it at all. They simply refuse to admit the Raiders are a bad team. That's what I find so engaging about Raiders fans. You can review for them the astonishing array of Raiders moments the last six seasons and they will hear you, but then they will say "We went to the Super Bowl in 2003." Not as a COUNTER to the last six years, exactly. It's more like those six years never happened.
This of course comes up again because it now appears that Raiders coach
And ... well, why not? The Raiders have been such a source for comedy fun the last few years that having a coach punch out another coach during a meeting just falls right in line. This, after all, is the team that hired
Brooks: "What do we do now?"
Walsh: "You know, I faced a similar situation at the Hansen Guest Ranch bed and breakfast in Swan Valley, Idaho."
Brooks: "What did you do?"
Walsh: "Crullers. People love crullers."
Brooks: "You know, I could just run up to the line and talk to one of the other offensive linemen while the center snaps the ball to nobody."
Walsh: "No, we did that last week. OK, forget crullers. How about we just serve a continental breakfast, you know, a nice assortment of fruit and breads?"
Of course Brooks promptly threw an interception and lost the game.
Ah, memories. The Raiders have gone 24-72 the last six years under the watchful eyes of coaches named Callahan, Turner, Shell, Kiffin and Cable. They have had
Of course, you can't talk about the Raiders without trying to guess what's going on in the
But, unless something has finally snapped, Raiders fans will continue to hold on. Not to hope, exactly. No, they will hold to what they believe the Oakland Raiders stand for. They will continue to look at their Raiders and see