If you don’t consider yourself a part of the Raider Nation, it’s not too late to join. But the longer you wait, the more you risk being labeled as a bandwagoner (and we don’t take kindly to bandwagoners).
Perhaps the Raiders’ 49-111 record since 2003 won’t earn your respect, but the team stands for more than wins and losses. The franchise charitably gives back to Oakland and surrounding communities and promotes local pride by bringing strangers together on Sundays (similar to church, though less polite).
As for the gridiron product, times are downright terrible right now, but the Raiders have three Super Bowl titles (and five AFC championships) thanks to most of their 21 representatives in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. This isn’t a soulless squad like the Houston Texans or Jacksonville Jaguars. It’s a club that once struck fear in the hearts of their padded opponents.
Still not a fan? Then reckon:
1) The Raiders are a Bay Area underdog.
Raider Nation is constantly reminded that the San Francisco 49ers have five Lombardi trophies, which is the number one cause for aggravated assaults in the region. It also doesn’t help that the (soon-to-be Santa Clara) 49ers are currently an NFL powerhouse and have beaten the Raiders in their last three regular season contests dating back to 2002. So ask yourself, would you pull for Goliath or David?
2) They play in a fancy stadium.
The O.co Coliseum is 47 years old, but (like my mom) it aged gracefully. Sure, there aren’t enough luxury boxes to appease the NFL’s ever-growing structural demands, but there are cup holders (which are not a guarantee at every ballpark, *cough* Candlestick *cough*) and Round Table personal pizzas. The Coliseum may not be easy on the eyes, but the feeling of watching live football in a concrete fortress is impossible to replicate.
3) They wear sexy uniforms.
If the handsome pirate on the logo didn’t tighten your briefs, the Raiders’ uniforms should. A basic combination of black, silver and white, the team’s attire has been minimally modified in its 42 year NFL existence, a testament to its timeless style. For those who like football but can’t stand the apparel, you can always entertain yourself by staring at the Raiderettes.
4) They are a home for misfit athletes.
Do the names Jerry Rice, Trace Armstrong and Rod Woodson ring a bell? These were three All-Pros who signed with Oakland when they were abandoned by their old clubs due to age prejudice. The late Al Davis loved fading and misunderstood talents with something to prove, and it’s nice to see general manager Reggie McKenzie follow suit by signing old bud Charles Woodson (no relation to Rod). While the strategy had its share of flops (for every Jim Plunkett, there was a Jeff George), at the very least, it gave Raiders fans a closer look at NFL legends.
5) They are trailblazers (no basketball).
A true visionary, Davis hired the youngest head coach in the modern era (Lane Kiffin, 2007), the first Black head coach (Art Shell, 1989), the first Latino head coach (Tom Flores, 1979) and the first female CEO (Amy Trask, 1997). It remains to be seen if Mark Davis possesses the non-discriminatory views of his father, but with the inevitable infiltration of open homosexuals coming soon to the NFL, don’t you want to be on the righteous side of history?