New NFL Rules Pay Dividends for the Las Vegas Raiders
Hondo S. Carpenter, Sr.
Henderson, Nev.--The Las Vegas Raiders are a team on the rise. Since the Davis family gave the keys to the franchise to Jon Gruden and subsequently to Mike Mayock, the team is taking off.
In 2019 the team posted a 7-9 record, but Raider Maven has detailed the reason behind the record and why knowledgeable fans can see the improvement.
Sports Illustrated's Raider Maven has spent significant time this offseason documenting that right at home in the AFC West with the Raiders are the reigning Super Bowl Champion Kansas City Chiefs.
There is no sane person who expects the Chiefs to implode. Love or hate them, they are a stable franchise with terrific leadership and plenty of young talent. But that isn't the proverbial nail in the Raiders coffin.
In 2020, the NFL has expanded the playoffs from 12 to 14 teams.
For a franchise built on a commitment to excellence, citing an enlargement of the playoff pool might seem like justifying mediocrity. But those people who feel that way would be wrong.
The Chiefs rebuild is farther along then the Raiders. Some of you are too young to remember the Chicago Bulls and a young man you may remember named Michael Jordan.
Jordan is the greatest basketball player ever to touch the hardcourt. To rise to the level he sits at today, he had to battle a Detroit Pistons team that early on the Bulls weren't equal to.
It was that battle that molded Jordan and the Bulls.
So the Kansas City Chiefs being in the same division isn't harmful. Twice a year, the Silver and Black get to see how far they have come against the leagues current gold standard.
Raider Maven has predicted that we expect the Raiders back in the playoffs in 2020. Not to win the division, but to get back in the playoffs.
For a franchise that enters each season with a Super Bowl or bust mentality, that falls short. But for people who understand the game, they will see it as another improvement toward what their ultimate goal is and the road to reaching that goal.
Some of you are far too young to remember the Bulls and Michael Jordan being called, "Soft," and, "Pampered," during those runs at the Pistons. They weren't. Those critics looked like fools once the Bulls crossed the threshold and never looked back.
The Raiders are knocking at the door. Gruden and Mayock have done an exceptional job rebuilding. In today's world of everyone wanting everything fast, good things take time.
No shortcuts, win and improve are the Raiders' mindset, and it is paying off. Having the Chiefs in their division is not harmful. As the great Ric Flair says: "To be the man, you have to beat the man."
It took time for Jordan and the Bulls to overcome the Pistons, and it will be for the Raiders to overcome the Chiefs. But once they do, there will be no looking back.
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