tony wade column sports

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Raiders’ shutout was not for the birds

By From page B1 | December 20, 2012

For the past few weeks in this column, I haven’t focused on the on-field action during Raiders games. Can you blame me? During their six-game losing streak, the Raiders’ play was south of pitiful.

Instead of reliving every missed block, or blown defensive assignment, I’ve talked about the milquetoast set Eddie Money played pregame in the parking lot, press box games I play to not pull my hair out and talking Raiders Hall of Fame busts.

This past Sunday, however, at the Raiders contest against the visiting Chiefs, Oakland did something they hadn’t done since, well, back in October when they played the Chiefs. They just won, baby.

The 15-0 shutout that Oakland’s 30th ranked defense pitched highlights Kansas City’s ineptitude, but losing to them would have been disastrous.

The ironic part is that as I said, I have often had to find other things to write about, but at the game Sunday something presented itself and I didn’t even need it.

A pigeon was on the field for warm-ups and was completely oblivious to all the hulking men running, kicking and milling about. In the press box, some speculated he was domesticated, fearless, stupid or some combination thereof.

He returned late in the second quarter and it was hard to focus on the game because we were fixated on whether he’d get squished by a blocking lineman or even backed over by an official. The crowd was into it as well, and the bird was shown on the Jumbotron.

I watched the recording of the game later, but the announcers were too busy trying to get nominated for the coveted “Most Annoying Broadcaster” award to notice the life-or-death action on the field.

Miraculously, “Lucky” (my name for him) avoided death and also an attempt at a kick by Raiders guard Mike Brisiel. Brisiel’s action evoked a torrent of boos from the Raider Nation, which reminded me of when JaMarc…He Who Must Never Be Spoken of Again used to take the field.

At the half, the Raiderettes did a routine and came perilously close to the feathered field squatter. I went to get my complimentary lunch and missed when the fowl was finally foiled and captured. I don’t know if it is true that the PA person played Skynyrd’s “Freebird,” but that would have been awesome.

In 2009, another pigeon seemingly played special teams on the field and ex-Raider Justin Fargas speculated it was the soul of then-recently drowned teammate Marquis Cooper.

I don’t know what the pigeon on the field Sunday meant, but I did see more than a few fellow Raider fans giving Chief fans the bird.

Reach Fairfield Raider fanalist, part fan, part journalist,  Tony Wade at [email protected]

Tony Wade

Tony Wade

Tony Wade is the slightly older yet infinitely more handsome brother of long-time DR columnist Kelvin Wade

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