I had high hopes when I went to the Oakland Coliseum Sunday, but I left disheartened, disappointed and disillusioned.
Oh, I didn’t mean the game where the Raiders were pulverized by the Nawlins Aints; I meant Eddie Money performing at Raiderville in the parking lot. An acoustic set, Eddie? Really? I was ready to rock out to “Take Me Home Tonight” and “Shakin,” but the lightweight, fluffy versions were lame.
“Lightweight” and “fluffy” could describe the Raiders “defense” during the game (and this season). I had never seen the sports equivalent of “a hot knife through butter” until seeing how easily the visiting team with the Boy Scouts logo scored. The only Raiders bright spot was the versatile Marcel Reece who put up impressive numbers in relief of the The Injured Darren McFadden. By the way, capitalization of “The Injured” in the previous sentence was not a mistake; that is now McFadden’s legal name.
The horrid performance by the Raiders was especially embarrassing because Sunday’s contest was the Salute to Service game honoring United States military members.
The Raiders organization did a wonderful job in putting together great tributes including: a jet flyover, a parachute demonstration, having an actual army enlistment ceremony on field and unfurling a huge flag.
The tributes were great but on a day celebrating the greatest military force in the history of the world to have the Raiders go out there and surrender like the French Army was beyond embarrassing.
Pregame I was taking pictures on the field and right behind me there was a commotion as fans were getting autographs and lo and behold I saw it was ex-Raiders coach Jon Gruden. Now in this column I have referred to him as Benedict Judas, but that was just for giggles. I realize he was sent to that other team, he didn’t bail.
Shouts of “Chucky!” and hugs, hi-fives and smiles were everywhere. Gruden was there to light the Al Davis torch that is done at every home game. Now, I don’t know what the relationship between Al Davis and his son Mark, who now owns the team, was, but having notable Raider exiles like Marcus Allen and Jon Gruden invited to light the torch says something.
I’m not sure what it says, but if Mike Shanahan is invited to light it and also receives one of those big Publisher’s Clearing House checks in the amount of the $250,000 Al Davis allegedly owed him, it will be crystal clear.
Reach Fairfield Raider fanalist, part fan, part journalist, Tony Wade at firstname.lastname@example.org