On Facebook, some chucklehead fan of an inferior team posted a picture of thousands of people celebrating at what looked like a Super Bowl parade with the caption: “Raider Fans after beating the Cowboys in preseason.” Hilarious.
Now, there is a microscopic kernel of truth in it. Wins and losses are meaningless in preseason (a few years back a team that went winless in the exhibition season won the Super Bowl), but what we Raider fans were actually excited about was the grit we saw.
The victory over the Cowboys was a treat because of the effort and execution. There were lot of guys hoping to shine and contribute and that is in direct contrast to guys we’ve had in the recent past who assumed their resumes would make a tackle.
Quarterbacks Matt Flynn and Terrelle Pryor had rough spots, but overcame adversity and showed promise. Matt McGloin’s third quarter TD pass to WR Brice Butler was so sick I almost forgot myself and looked around for someone in the press box to high-five.
By the way, before each game the press box play-by-play dude (not Greg “Voice of the Raiders” Papa) reads a blah blah blah script reminding us that it is a working press box and cheering for any team is not allowed.
The script doesn’t say we can’t root against other teams, but my attempt to get a chant of “Cowboys suck!” going was met with puzzled stares. Not really, but I did think about it.
It is preseason for everyone, as they say, and it showed. I arrived early, but couldn’t get to the press box because the elevator to it was broken. When I got to the press box through the back way, the WiFi was out.
They announced at the end of the first quarter that the elevators were fixed (to derisive applause), but that they could only take 10 people at a time. Or in my case, me and seven other people.
I decided to leave the back way and use a different elevator and was glad I did because when its doors opened, my favorite Raider, Lincoln Kennedy, exited (he is the new sideline reporter joining Papa and Coach Flores).
My internal Raider fan shrieked inside my head “Big Linc!” but my external journalist kept up my facade of a seasoned professional sportswriter.
I’ve learned to get my hi-fives and other Raider love on the way to my truck after games and I leave through the main gates. And my fellow Raider Nationals had no problem joining in on anti-Cowboys chants either.
Reach Fairfield Raider fanalist—part fan, part journalist—Tony Wade at firstname.lastname@example.org.