Raiders: Why every game still counts for this team

Raiders (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
Raiders (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images) /

The Oakland Raiders are prepared for their final home game at the Coliseum this week. And no matter the stakes, every game still matters.

You may be expecting this to be another typical piece lamenting that the time for the Oakland Raiders‘ final game in the Coliseum is drawing near. That is a part of it, but I’m thinking bigger picture.

An MLB season is 162 games long, 82 games each for NHL and NBA, and most notable professional soccer leagues are anywhere from 34 to 38 games in a season. In the NFL, you get 16 games.

Wins are few and far between for most franchises, but since the Raiders fell flat in the 2002 Super Bowl, few have found them rarer than the Silver and Black nation. For this franchise, every game counts.

Other teams have the luxury of viewing certain teams on the schedule as an additional bye week, but this is a team where the rules and logic of football bend so frequently. That’s why a more talented Raiders team needed overtime to beat a reeling Cleveland Browns a few seasons ago.

That is why we cannot take the Jacksonville Jaguars for granted this week. The Coliseum farewell is part of the equation, but its a byproduct of years of Raiders history.

That being said, I urge Raiders fans to not let the pressure of winning against the Jaguars detract from their enjoyment of the game. When I say every game counts, I mean it as an experience.

If you look back at the last 20 years at the Coliseum, there may not have been many wins but the fanbase still comes in droves, and many others watch on TV and on social media.

For their lack of success, the Raiders produce many positive plays and memories as well as their headscratchers. The best feeling is seeing the Black Hole roar whenever a scoring play occurs. This will be our last opportunity to hear and see that sound and sight.

After losing by 31 points to the Jets, the only good thing that came out of that was remembering humility.

For all of the brief glimpses of hope this franchise has had that they could be a consistent playoff contender let alone participant or even Super Bowl winner, they are quickly followed by a cold bucket full of reality.

Sometimes even just bad luck, like when Derek Carr went down injured meaning the Raiders would limp to the playoffs to be dispatched by the Houston Texans. Perhaps in some sick, twisted fate, the Raiders are the anti-Patriots.

If the Patriots are Thanos and everything goes their way, the Oakland Raiders are the Murphy’s Law team. What draws people to be Raiders fans then if anything that can go wrong, will go wrong? Wouldn’t we be all washed away by the tide of interceptions and penalties?

Despite the metamorphosis the Golden State Warriors enjoyed in the neighboring Oracle Arena, Oakland is very much still a town of underdogs. Always underestimated and facing adversity.

Off the field, the adversity might be traffic, parking, gentrification, rising housing costs, and a competitive job-hunting environment. On the field, that adversity sometimes is the ownership and front office’s credibility and the types of players they draft or sign as free agents.

Maybe it’s just something in the water.

This has cultivated a special relationship between this team, oftentimes an us-against-the-world mentality. Come this Sunday, playing the role as “the world” is the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Forget about their record and the probability ESPN experts give either team a chance to win this game. All that matters is making the most of those 60 minutes of game time.

For fans in the stadium, at home, and watching across the world, it’s about lifting our team to a final win in a stadium that everyone likes to criticize for being shared with a baseball team (among other reasons).

For the coaches and players, it’s about reminding us why the Raiders are the Raiders in the most positive of senses. Taking every game as an opportunity to silence those nagging voices, from real-life critics and the omnipresent demons that may lurk.

Just win baby, but win, lose, or tie, Raiders ‘til I die. Oakland or Las Vegas, but Oakland will have a special place in my heart.

Next. Raiders: Top 3 players who could be cap casualties this offseason. dark

Regardless of what happens against Jacksonville, every game counts.