I grew up with the Oakland Raiders. Every fall, there they would be. Usually, they would get in the playoffs, wind up going back east for a playoff game in the snow, and then loose. Some of these were on the most ridiculous plays you have ever seen. And then it happened. They finally won the Super Bowl. Wow. We were not the football Cubbies or Red Sox after all. We were feared. Except for the Raider nation (we were not called that then) the rest of the football world hated us. The football world was a fun place. We were proud.
Then our Raider purgatory began. This city of Oakland and the County of Alameda where our stadium is located could not agree on a new stadium lease, or on building a new stadium. The Raiders threatened to leave. Where would they move to? Some folks were hoping to Sacramento, others out of the state. NONE thought they would move to Los Angeles. We northeners don’t like LA much. Turns out LA is 500 miles away from Oakland. This kind of ruled out weekend trips to keep out with our former team. Oh, a few did this. But it is a six hour drive. Makes one very long day. California is not very wide, but it is LONG. And heck, LA already had the Rams and a bunch of college football teams. They needed the Raiders like a hole in the head.
Yet, off to LA they went for better facilities. Better facilities my foot corn. The stadium didn’t even have seats! What it did do was hold 100,000 or so people for football. Money, Money, Money! This was a dreadful time for Raider fans. Do you root for the team in LA? Do you root for it to lose in LA? Mostly my brain went into hibernation, and the LA Raiders went to the Super Bowl. And, if you follow sports, you know that a team that moved has never returned home.
And then, gloriously, the whispering started. The Raiders wanted to come home. It turned out their facilities in Oakland were better than anything they had in LA. Could this be true? IT WAS. The Raiders packed up and headed home, taking over their old training facility in Alameda. It was just waiting for them, like it knew they were coming home. And while I miss the ice plant that was replaced by Mount Davis, I did enjoy watching a home run go right through one of those “ball” proof windows one day. POW!
So, the Raiders were back. But they just sucked. That was okay for a few years, but we don’t like being laughed at by other football fans. Then, we had a brief affair with Chucky. Al Davis the owner, traded him to another team. Oh, after he left, the Raiders did go to the Super Bowl, only to have our clocks kicked in by Chuckie. There is a rumor he got a hold of the Raiders’ play book. Or, maybe he knew it because he wrote a lot of it. Back to being awful we went.
Along the awful way, we drafted someone called Jamarcus Russell. Mr. Russell just lost all interest in playing football. He seemed to want to just eat, gamble and have a good time. I guess with 36 million, he could do that. Fans booed him. Fans went home when he came into the game. We became worse than a laughing stock. Finally, the Raiders released Jamarcus and are now suing him to get their money back. For some reason, I kind of like that. We are now saved.
The Raider nation is coming together. The receivers are catching the ball. The defenders are defending. The Raiders actually have picked up another quarterback, and actually have a quarterback competition of sorts. This quarterback can actually find the receivers, and hand off the ball. The Raiders also picked up some good draft choices that should help out immediately. The Raiders are back. And we owe our new direction to Jamarcus. He brought us together. So, was it worth the 36 million or so dollars? Yes, I think so. After all, hating someone is one way to bring a team together. And it wasn’t my money. Thanks, Jamarcus. We needed you.