“I’ve been an Oakland Raider fan since I was in diapers. There’s a photo of me in a Raiderettes costume at 3-years old.”
That’s what I mention when people are surprised to hear that I’m a die-hard fan of the Silver and Black.
It’s been a horrific ride these past 8 some-odd years, to say the least. I don’t need to say how futile and irrelevant the Raiders had become since their forgettable Superbowl appearance in 2002. Because of this, they put me in a severe depression*. So one can only imagine my excitement and jubilation from the team’s renaissance thus far this season.
*This may or may not be true.
Starting 4-2, while beating some early season NFL contenders in the New York Jets and Houston Texans, I’ve become encouraged by Coach Hue Jackson’s unconventional approach to the game and the job, despite what some idiot said on our BART ride home yesterday. He said, to paraphrase, “Hue Jackson doesn’t know what he’s doing. I guarantee Tom Cable would have this team going in the right direction.” Tom Cable? Offensive line coach of a 2-4 Seattle Seahawks team? A 2-4 team in the NFC West, the undisputed worst division in football? STFU dumbass. And I’m also very pleased with our explosive core of young players such as Darren McFadden, Jacoby Ford and Denarius Moore.
Yesterday was my brother’s birthday, and we decided to take him to the game versus our hated division rival in the Kansas City Chiefs. We went to the KC game last year, when Jacoby Ford made AMAZING plays to seal the game. Next to the Denver Broncos stomping last season, more specifically this ridiculous run by Run DMC, I’ve said that being at the game live was my best Raider moment of recent memory.
And considering how well the Raiders have played lately and how god-awful the Chiefs are, I walked into the game yesterday thinking it would be a cake-walk.
It was a 28-0 KC shutout. The Raiders’ dominance against the AFC West halted, and I hadn’t felt worse about the team in a long time. The way I described it– everything that could have possibly gone wrong, went wrong.
- Last week, Jason Campbell injured his collarbone because he doesn’t know how to slide. We traded for Carson Palmer, but with only 3 days to learn the playbook, it seemed inane to throw him into a starting role so soon. Instead, Kyle Boller got the call. I thought, as well as everyone else, that Boller would be able to at least get us through the game. I was prepared and knew it would have been tough to watch, but I was confident that he could (at the very least) COMPETENTLY run the offense. After his 2nd interception, the crowd at the Coliseum were already calling for Palmer. I still thought it was a ridiculous notion to put him in, but then…Boller threw a third INT. I aptly tweeted “Screw You, Kyle Boller. Put in Carson Palmer, Coach…Fuck it!” The game was going even more worse than I could have possibly imagined. Kyle Boller singlehandedly lost us that game.
- With our QB in flux, I had figured we would rely on our strength on offense, which is the running game. Unfortunately, after just two carries, Darren McFadden left with a foot injury. Michael Bush came in and performed fine, but our offense wasn’t nearly explosive without Run DMC in the mix. So not only was our passing game inept, but our running game got weaker. And today, McFadden was seen walking around the Raider facility in crutches and a walking boot.
- Sebastian Janikowski, perhaps one of the most underrated weapons on the team, was out with a hamstring injury yesterday. Not like they had any legitimate chances at a field go try– save for the Red Zone opportunity in the 2nd where they opted for a TD on 4th down instead –but they no longer could attempt those ridiculous 55+ yard tries because Sebass was out.
Yes, these are excuses, but I think they’re legitimate excuses. No one in their right mind right now will argue that the Kansas City Chiefs are a better team than the Raiders this season. It was a perfect storm for the visiting team, and they capitalized. To put it short, I think that was the worst Raider game I’ve ever attended.
The bye-week is coming at a perfect time. Injuries were piling up (MLB Rolando McClain tweaked his ankle again) and Carson Palmer needs more than 3-days to learn the playbook. I don’t even care that he threw 3 INTs like Boller did. The playbook he had to work with yesterday was a dumbed-down version and was easy to defend. Although Palmer hasn’t been good in years, I’m remaining optimistic that he’ll return back to his Pro-Bowl form.
Or maybe it’s blind optimism. ‘Tis the life of a Raider fan.
For now, they’re 4-3 going into the bye-week, facing the Denver Broncos next. I hope the Raiders are ready to destroy Tim “Jesus Christ” Tebow. Well, someone should.