Five Postgame Takes
2. At this point, I could incite more circular “chicken or the egg” analysis about what’s wrong and how to fix it. I could make my argument, and then you would make yours, and pretty soon we’re in a pissing contest about stats and “what ifs.” I’ll bet this is exactly why Mr. Davis coined the simple phrase: Just Win, Baby.
3. Jerry Porter stopped by Everett & Jones BBQ a little after 6 p.m. for the KSFO radio postgame show. He showed poise and class in the wake of a rough defeat. However, the Raider Nation was justifiably riled up, and several callers (who were piped into the restaurant’s speaker system) breathed some righteous fire. At one point, someone called in to challenge, among other things, Jerry’s statement that the Raiders are still better than their record indicates. The caller asked Jerry to back his statement up. It was a fair question, but moderator (and Raiders legend) George Atkinson intervened and told Jerry that he didn’t have to respond. Why not? If Jerry can take big hits and hang onto the ball like he did in D.C. last week, why can’t he handle a simple question? At that moment, you could feel a shift in the room, a darkening of the mood. Then, still trying to mount a defense for the Raiders’ coaching and execution, George made the mistake of saying, “Sometimes what the fans don’t understand is…” He tried to make the point that sometimes you have to give credit to the opponent. But it was too late. The silver and black cat was out of the bag. At that moment, some dude stood up amid the tables, as if possessed by the collective Raider Nation. He’d had enough. “This is the Raiders,” he hollered, interrupting the live broadcast. “I’m from Oakland. This is the Raiders! Ain’t no one should be able to stop Jerry Porter and Randy Moss. You know it, you just won’t say it!” The room broke into applause. Jerry Porter just smiled. George Atkinson and co-host Rich Walcoff looked mortified. There was no hiding behind the phone lines now. It was a small yet epic moment. Lesson: don’t call out “the fans” in front of the fans.
4. During the waning minutes of the game, my cousin and I watched an exodus of folks walk up and out of the Coliseum (I hate to say it, but I saw it, it’s the truth). As they passed us by, we couldn't help heckling: “Don’t you remember Heidi?!” The problem is, the coaches apparently don’t remember Heidi, because Kerry Collins was still throwing 10-yard passes to the middle of the field with no timeouts during the last minute. I don’t care. I’m not budging until time expires. I still believe.
5. These are the days you will remember. These are the times upon which character is built. When the Return to Glory is complete, you will want to say you were here, right now, still proud, still standing. Across the bay, they are “the faithful.” Fine. Over here, we the loyal and the unshaken. It doesn’t sound as cute, but it matters even more.