Oakland Raiders #Fandom250: Fifteen Years Later, Pats Still Getting Over

Nov 27, 2016; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders fans in costumes tailgate before a NFL football game between the Carolina Panthers and the Oakland Raiders at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 27, 2016; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders fans in costumes tailgate before a NFL football game between the Carolina Panthers and the Oakland Raiders at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

The Oakland Raiders’ fanbase has been slotted in FanSided’s #Fandom250 rankings and they surprisingly find themselves sorted behind a team whose Fandom stretches all the way back to 2001.

FanSided has released their #Fandom250 rankings and in what is a bit of a shock to some, the Oakland Raiders didn’t even crack the top 50. Of course, the #Fandom250 rankings factor in things like television shows, movies, celebrities, and brands, among other things, so for the Raiders to check in at number 53, it’s not as bad as you might think, at first blush.

Of course, anybody with a shred of decency and taste should have an issue with the likes of Justin Bieber and Kanye West slotting above the Raiders in terms of fandom. But that’s another rant for another day.

Though the Raiders check in with the fifty-third best fandom, they are actually the fifth NFL team to make the list. Number five. Given the lack of success the team has had for the last decade and a half, perhaps some would say we should be grateful we’re still number five.

But that just goes to show how strong the Raiders brand is. How loyal and passionate the fanbase is. And ulimately, why they deserved a higher ranking.

What should gall every Raiders fan out there is not that the Raiders are one of the top five Fandoms in the NFL. After all, cases can be made for the fandoms of numbers one through three. Heading the list of best NFL fandoms are the Dallas Cowboys. Second come the Green Bay Packers. Third are the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Okay, the top three are reasonable enough. All of those teams are rich in history, tradition, and have very loyal fanbases as well. Fanatical fanbases, actually. Seriously, you have to be a fanatic to stand sub-zero weather with nothing but body paint covering your torso and a foam block of cheese on your head.

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Fanatics. Diehards. That’s what fandom is all about. And the Cowboys, Packers, and Steelers all have fanatics filling their stands week in and week out, through the thin and flush times. Just like the Raiders do.

So no, there is certainly room for some discussion and debate about who is the best/most fanatical fandom among those four teams – the Raiders, Cowboys, Packers, and Steelers. And nobody is going to raise too much of a stink about any of those four being slotted in the top four. The fandoms of all four certainly deserve to be there.

It’s the team that actually checks in with the fourth best fandom that should raise a lot of eyebrows – not to mention fill quite a few sick bags. Checking in with the NFL’s fourth best fandom are – drum roll please – the New England Patriots.

You may now pick your jaws up off the floor.

Yes, while the Raiders are the fifth best NFL Fandom – and fifty-third overall, the Patriots are supposedly the league’s fourth best fanbase and thirtieth best fandom overall. Yes, those Patriots with such a – ahem – rich and distinguished history have fans who are supposedly more loyal and better than the denizens of the Black Hole.

Yeah, and if you buy that, we have some timeshares on Mars we’d like to sell you.

While it’s true that the Patriots have been quite good for a while now, the launching of their fandom can very likely be traced back to one particular date – January 19, 2002. The infamous “Snow Job.”

Yes, we said it. We went there. The infamous, notorious Tuck Rule Game – it certainly helped propel the Patriots into their current state of being.

And it was the game that launched a fandom.

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Following New England’s Super Bowl title that year – a title that many Raiders fans still consider fraudulent given the Snow Job the team got at Foxboro – the Patriots fans started coming out of the woodwork. It’s amazing how many “true, diehard fans” suddenly started sporting their Patriots gear after that title, isn’t it?

This Patriots-mania is about a decade and a half old. Oakland’s fandom of hardcore, diehards stretches back half a century. To say that New England’s fanbase is better and more loyal than Oakland’s is beyond absurd. This frothing at the mouth Patriots-mania wasn’t present during the 1-15 Marc Wilson/Tom Hodson years.

No, this Patriots-mania, crazed fandom began with their first Super Bowl win and has continued on ever since. It doesn’t have the history or tradition of the Raiders fandom. It just happened to come at the expense of Raiders fandom, at the expense of the Nation.

And it’s about as much of a travesty as the fact that Justin Bieber and Kanye West are considered to have better fandoms than the Raiders.