Friday, January 12, 2007

Why I am a Raider fan

I received the following anonymous question on one of my posts:
I'm curious, why are you a Raiders fan? They have very low class fans - try wearing a Broncos jersey at a Raiders Home game - and their owner is a crook. Plus, the Traiders left for LA in the early '80s and then came back. But I really hate their goon fans.

This deserves an explanation, especially considering the fact I have never even been to California.

The first team I ever loved was the Dolphins, during their peak of the early 70's. Mostly, I liked Larry Csonka. When he left the Dolphins for the World Football League, so did my enthusiasm for the Dolphins.

After that, I became a fair-weather fan, rooting for the Steelers, Cowboys, Raiders, and the Vikings. In the 1976 Super Bowl, I rooted for the Vikings against the Raiders, because I liked Fran Tarkenton. The Vikings lost, and so did I.

Even though I lived near Philadelphia, the Eagles were awful, so there was no point in rooting for them. That is until Dick Vermeil arrived, and the Eagles started winning. When the Eagles lost to the Raiders in the Super Bowl, my heart was broken along with a lot of Eagle fans. After Vermeil left, and the Eagles returned to their losing ways, I left the Eagles.

When I was going to George Washington University in D.C., I got a mega-dose of Redskin mania. It wouldn't have been so bad, but there is only so much Joe Theismann I can take. What made it worse was the Redskins were absolutely awesome in 1983, going 14-2 and completely dominating the NFL.

When the Redskins got to the Super Bowl against the Raiders, I finally learned after the two previous Raider Super Bowl victories. I learned the Raiders don't lose Super Bowls. So I put $20 on the Raiders, which was a big gamble for a college student.

I watched the game in a frat house in D.C. The fraternity had set up a big room with a big tv for all the Redskin fans. Next to it, in a much smaller room with a smaller tv, I sat with all the Raider fans. There were about 5-6 of us. By halftime, the party was in the Raider room, because the large Redskin room was silent. When Marcus Allen broke a 74-yard run (still one of the most incredible runs I have ever seen), we knew the game was over. The Raiders won convincingly, 38-9. But the Raiders also won my loyalty that day.

After that, I started following the Raiders loyally, even learning the team's history and philosophy. How many teams have slogans like "Commitment to Excellence" and "Just win baby"? For the Raiders, those were more than just marketing PR. For decades, the Raiders under Al Davis understood that the purpose of pro football was the product on the field.

I read all the books about the Raiders I could obtain. I absorbed books by John Madden, Kenny Stabler, John Matuszak, and Lyle Alzado. What these books showed me was a team that cared about football on Sunday, and all the rest was just outside static.

My loyalty to the Raiders is based on philosophy, a lesson they taught me. Even though the current team is just a shell of it's former teams, the lesson remains with me.


William R. Barker said...

Hmm... I can hardly wait for your next thread... "Why I Love the Chinese Communist Military Dictatorship." (*GRIN*)

I'm only a couple (few?) years older than you, Ed. My first football memories are of watching the Jets - Joe Willy's Jets to be percise. But yeah... like you I was a big Miami fan back before the WFL turned football life as we knew it upside down. And yeah... Csonka was the man.

After that... the Cowboys. Staubach AND those Dallas cheerleaders. AND coach Landry!?!?! Now they were truly AMERICA'S team.

But now that we're grown-ups, Ed... (*SMILE*) (well... "kinda" in my case)... let's put it this way...


If you live in New York... that means being a Jets/Giants/Buffalo fan. If you happen to live in a state without its own sports franchise... you pick a neighboring state's team to root for. It's "permissible" (*WINK*) to root for your FORMER team if you move.

But Ed... jeezus... YOU root for OAKLAND! (And Red China.)

Oh, well... philosophy indeed.



P.S. - How is it a grown American man has NEVER been to California? (*SCRATCHING MY HEAD*)

EdMcGon said...

If I root for my own team, that would mean either the Eagles, which I do from time to time, or the Falcons, which I also do from time to time.

Truth be told, I like Arthur Blank, and I think he will eventually turn the Falcons into a winner.

But there's no rule that says I can't root for any team I like. :P

As for California, what is there in California that I need to see? (aside from the Raiders of course)

The farthest west I've ever been was Vegas. Why go farther than that? :)

Myrhaf said...

Hey, I live in California. You should come here! We have Barbra Streisand, Barbara Boxer, Martin Sheen, San Francisco, Santa Monica, Crips, Bloods, the Los Angeles Times...

Never mind.

EdMcGon said...