Writing about the Raiders getting beat down and manhandled yet again makes me feel a strong sense of deja vu. The only thing missing is a traditional rodent and Bill Murray.
I was in church when the Raiders–Bengals game began Sunday and didn’t sneak a scoring update peek on my cellphone during prayers. When I got into my truck after worship service, I told my daughter my prediction was 21-0, Cincy. I was exactly right until they kicked a field goal and made it 24-0.
I want to flashback to my first-ever Raider home game at the Coliseum. It was in 2000 and was the last game of the season. I had been to a preseason game at Stanford against the Patriots five years earlier, but I had been sick and feverish and couldn’t enjoy the game.
The Raiders needed a victory to capture the division for the first time in a decade. Rich Gannon threw for 230 yards and 5 touchdowns. Darrien Gordon put an exclamation point on the victory by returning a fumble on the last play of the game 74 yards for a touchdown. Final score: 52-9.
From the time we arrived at the parking lot, screamed through the introductions, and laughed at the comic misadventures of an intoxicated woman sitting next to my wife (screaming Raider encouragements during a TV timeout, ultimately getting escorted out for flashing her boobs, etc.). It was awesome.
When at last the game was over and it was announced that the Raiders were the AFC West Division Champs, it was an electric, ecstatic party. After enduring many seasons of mediocrity, the feeling of having overcome was gloriously euphoric and intoxicating.
That’s what I want to pass on to now-discouraged fellow Raider Nationals. I feel the disappointment of the team’s regression when it seemed we were on the verge of finally breaking through. I too wish that head coach Dennis Allen would act more like Captain Kirk than Mr. Spock when we are getting pummeled on the field.
But I believe in the axiom that you should not quit five minutes before the miracle. We are not like Aints fans who started the trend of wearing paper bags on their heads reflecting the shame they felt for their team which Kansas City has adopted. We are not like so-called Jets “superfan” Fireman Ed who recently “resigned” and won’t be leading that stupid Sesame Street-esque spell-our-name chant.
No, we are the Raider Nation. We have pride and poise. We are committed to excellence. Now let’s go out there Sunday and punch the Browns inna mouf. Not us fans, the team, I mean.
Reach Fairfield Raider fanalist, part fan, part journalist, Tony Wade at firstname.lastname@example.org.