Wednesday, March 01, 2006

The Risk of Greatness

Talk about guts. The Oakland Raiders, implored by so many to subscribe to NFL groupthink and to “get with the times,” have instead blazed a spectacular trail back to the future. They may fail. I hope and expect that they will succeed. Either way, they’ll do it on their own terms.

Let’s put this into perspective. For the past few months, dozens of NFL talking heads have been ripping the Oakland Raiders, calling them a lost cause, bemoaning the early re-hiring of Rob Ryan, mocking the team for not accelerating its head coaching search, spreading unsubstantiated rumors about how and why Art Shell was hired, and basically declaring the 2006 Oakland Raiders dead on arrival. The Raiders’ last hope, we were told, was to somehow find a hotshot offensive coordinator at the eleventh hour.

So what do the Raiders do? Instead of trying to play nice and hire someone who “makes sense” to the NFL groupthinkers, they pull offensive coordinator Tom Walsh out of the ice chest and thaw him out for an Art Shell reunion. Wow. It’s a choice that “
boggles the mind” of many.

Tom Walsh is coming to Oakland from essentially another solar system:
Swan Valley, Idaho—population 226—where Walsh was mayor and owner of a vacation guest ranch. He hasn’t prowled a sideline for seven years. So imagine, the phone suddenly rings at Walsh’s Hansen Guest Ranch and the caller ID reveals a 510 area code: “Tom, it’s Art, you have five days to help us with a make-or-break decision on our quarterback situation. We’ll have Gorilla Rilla pick you up at Oakland International tomorrow morning.”

Now, there are reasons to be afraid. Check out the latest
Raider Nation Podcast for a good sampling. We’d all better hope that Coach Shell and Tom Walsh can quickly shake off any rust, hit the ground running, and improve on past performance. It’s a tall order.

And yet…and yet that makes this all the more exciting, doesn’t it? If groupthink is so great, then why do so many teams still stink? Norv Turner was a safe choice, an NFL groupthink kind of choice, and look where that got us. There are cracks in the hard shell of the AFC West. The Chargers are dealing with executive infighting and quarterback quandries. The Chiefs are adapting to a new coach who is quite likely overrated. The Broncos were tough in 2005, but I'm not convinced that Jake Plummer can become an "era." Who says that the Raiders can't pop these teams in the mouth in 2006?


No other team in the NFL generates as much negative and jealous scrutiny as the Raiders. Countless are those who want the Raiders to fail. Now, they are licking their chops, because the Raiders have completely rebelled against NFL groupthink. Rather than cover their butts to please others, the Raiders have gone out on a limb, at a tremendous risk of both greatness and failure.

You may have misgivings, but come September one thing is for sure: you’ll be rooting for the Silver & Black.
You will be sailing on a proverbial pirate ship in shark-infested groupthink waters. Everyone is waiting and wanting the ship to sink. We’ll do our best to help make sure it sails.

In other words, the Raiders are living on the edge, and we in the Raider Nation are right there with them. This is going to be fun.

34 Comments:

Anonymous MBT99 said...

Sad too say but the "groupthinkers"
who irritate me the most are the ones who tell us they are Raider Fans, yet Bitch & Moan about every move made by the team. You know the ones that are already telling fans the Season is over, even though NFL Combines just ended yesterday. If a Fan has been around the Oakland Raiders for any period of time, they should already know AL Davis, does it His Way, and that is One of Many reasons We became Fans of the Oakland Raiders in the first place. Just a side note to say Thank You for all of your takes. I may not agree with all of them but at the very least I know You are a Raider Fan.

5:33 AM  
Anonymous Mad Stork 83 said...

I agree with you RT, but I still have concerns regarding Walsh. Let me make a comparison. I am a manager in my company. I believe that a manager should surround himself with the best and brightest and not be concerned that they might outshine him. In other words, I would never hire a salesperson who hasn't sold in 13 years and was only "decent" 13 years ago because I'm comfortable with him, or because he won't backstab me. I think this arrangement can work for Shell and I hope with all my heart that it does, but I'm still not wild about the thinking.

When Shell's agent has been asked about it, he never talks about what a great, intelligent, charismatic coach Walsh is. He says it's important for Art to have Walsh around because he's comfortable with him. That's just not a great reason to hire anyone, especially for such an important position...

5:57 AM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

MBT99, thanks for your takes, too!

Mad Stork, you make good points, and I actually have similar concerns about Walsh, for reasons you, Raider Nation Podcast and others have already cited.

At the same time, I stand in awe and appreciation of the Raiders' willingness to still blaze their own unique trail. It gives me an incredible rooting interest.

Additionally, the Raiders organization has earned my confidence with their legacy of winning (unlike, say, if I were a fan of the Lions, Cardinals, Saints, Chiefs, etc.).

Some will say Walsh is a crazy choice. I might call it a daring choice. We won't know for sure until September, when we'll be side by side, united and rooting for the Silver & Black!

6:38 AM  
Blogger dan said...

Same concerns about Walsh as the rest of you. The hiring seems so bad on the face of it that it has to be great. I'm giving Raiders (Al) benefit of the doubt and assuming he knows just a little bit more about football than me (joking) and so has a good rationale.

I love the fact that our offseasons are so exciting b/w free agency, draft coaches and so forth.

However, the last 3 seasons have been pretty miserable - as were the endings of the prior 3. I'm craving some progress here. Any progress.

I'm interested in your takes on what would be success in your minds for the upcoming season. I want playoffs and superbowl as much as the next guy, but I believe very much in the need for continuity with coaching, system and players. Don't think we will have that this year or next. We need the players to understand Art's way, whatever that turns out to be, and we need the right players. On that topic, I also feel we are a year (or two) away - stud lb, reliable/tough nosed safety, more seasoned CBs, an o-lineman or two who in combination with Art's coaching, Gallery, Grove and maybe Walker turns into a dominant unit. And then there's always KFC...

In sum, I'm praying for playoffs, but if we have a year like we did when we beat Chefs at Arrowhead last day of season to knock them out of playoffs, I will consider that a step in the right direction.

6:59 AM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

Raider Take - Great post. Your positive outlook and original viewpoints are very refreshing.

When I first read the title of your post I was anticipating a piece on the latest VY to the Raiders rumors.

I am hopeful that both Shell and Walsh are able to get up to speed quickly and learn from their mistakes in their 1st tour of duty together.

The QB quandry still needs to be resolved and the 2006 draft will be critically important.

I'm with you RT. I'm shoving all my chips into the center of the table ... "All in on the 2006 Raiders".

7:17 AM  
Anonymous Mad Stork 83 said...

I'm giving myself some comfort with this; Davis must have grilled the hell out of Walsh before they hired him. Say what you will about the old man but he knows his football and you cannot BS him on a chalkboard. There has to be something there. And we still don't even know who the QB coach will be. Neuheisel? Dare I say Gannon ( I know, probably not)?

7:25 AM  
Blogger TheFreakingPope said...

Great comments, all. The one point I'd make is that there are Executives, Directors or Senior VPs, that have trusted middlemen. I know this because I'm on of those guys in the middle. Whenever given an opportunity, my boss picks up the phone and brings me in along with one other team member. We have become partners. Every "new" thing can be handled more efficiently by people who no longer waste time explaining or reviewing the basic presuppositions. Both Art Shell, and his subsequent hire, Walsh, know what Al wants. And as the Raider Nation knows, it's long overdue for Al to get it.

Every "groupthinker" in the NFL thinks that Collins is the obvious choice. You can only think that if you didn't watch the games. Hell, my good friend, a diehard Dolphins fan, watched the games with me and he will tell anyone who will listen that Collins has to go...as long as he doesn't go to Miami.

As a side note, the very things RT mentioned about the franchise brought three of my friends into the fold. They'll cheer for Oakland any given Sunday, as long as it doesn't require cheering against their childhood favorites (mostly NFC teams). Give me time, and we'll fix that part as well.

11:04 AM  
Anonymous Harvey said...

I am an idiot!

When we hired Gruden it wasn't a super popular choice and was blasted by some in the media but I convinced myself about the genius of the move because we needed fresh young thinking to turn the team around. And that he did.

When we hired Callahan it wasn't a super popular choice and was blasted by some in the media but I convinced myself about the genius of the move because we needed his continuity to get to the next step. And that he did. At least for a year.

When we hired Turner it wasn't a super popular choice and was blasted by some in the media but I convinced myself about the genius of the move in that Norv was the offensive counterpart to Bill Belichik. Given a second chance and his offensive scheming prowess he was going to lead us back to the top. Not quite the move I was hoping it to be.

Now we hire Art Shell and Tom Walsh as the OC which is not a super popular choice and is being blasted by some in the media. As much as I try to find the genius in this hiring I cannot fathom how this is going to turn things around. I find myself agreeing a lot with the pundits who so gleefully bash our Silver & Black at every opportunity. Does this mean doom and gloom for our Raiders? Does that make me right?

No, it makes me an idiot. Just because I can't figure out this move and don't agree with it doesn't make it the wrong move. Al has made some very questionable decisions in the past. Many worked out well and few were miserable failures. But for the record I am not ashamed to admit that his legacy in football is somewhat greater than mine. So with the greatest respect to myself I will defer to Mr. Davis' track record of success and will hope and pray that this is another of the many genius moves the man has made and we will once again rise from the ashes.

And if it isn't. Well the one thing I know for sure about Art Shell that couldn't be said for any of his predecessors. If we continue our losing ways at least I will know for certain that Art will be taking the losses just as hard as us Raider fans do and that he bleeds the Silver & Black just like us. No more outsiders that aren't steeped in the Raider ways. Good luck Art and here's hoping that we can rise once again and prove the groupthinkers wrong and finally get them to shutup for good!

11:28 AM  
Blogger Doobie said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

12:37 PM  
Blogger Doobie said...

A part of me wonders if this is the last time we'll see Raider football as we cherished it in the seventies and eighties.

Three years from now...usually the benchmark of a head coach...Al Davis will be 80. Right now his health is starting to fail him, forcing him to use a walker because of his leg. As much as we'd like to envision him as Mr. Burns in the "Bobo" episode...with his presevered head in a glass jar atop of a robotic body...prowling the field before a game, unfortunately, Al is mortal.

What if Al's thinking about stepping away from the game by retiring or even selling his share of the team? What if he's been discouraged by the events of the last 22 years and has decided that he's going to give it one last fling by going out on his terms...Raider football to the extreme.

He brings in old schooler Art Shell and his crony Tom Walsh. He hires an aggressive and pedigreed DC in Rob Ryan. These types of weapons have brought him glory before and perhaps these are the weapons he's chosen to make his last stand with.

Either way, I think we'll find out over the next three years whether or not Raider football can still win.

Let's raise a toast to the gunslinger and hope he can still prove all the media bastards wrong.

12:49 PM  
Anonymous raider00 said...

Raider take, your latest post was nothing short of brilliant !! It touched on something that has been bothering me for a long time. There seems to be a great divide in the Raider nation. A divide between fans who citicise Al Davis/the Raiders, unfairly, and fans who have grown so comfortable with losing, they do want to hear even the slightest bad word. Between fans who think Al Davis can do no right, and fans who think he can do no wrong. Between fans who just want to win baby, and fans who just want to uphold the mystique, even if it means going winless in the division. Sometimes I wonder what it will take to bring the whole nation together again ? I know this much, at the core of Raider Mystique, is WINNING. Without all the great winning seasons, what would we have ? The question is, as we move foward, can we only win in a certain way...the Raiders way, and will the nation split even more if Art Shell cannot turn things around quickly ?

2:59 PM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

Those are great questions, Raider00. I think that the Raider Nation is unique in that both the destination and the journey are inseparable. Winning is the destination. But how we get there is also very important. We want to get there the Raider way, don’t we?

I wonder, what if my team were the Patriots, owned by a guy who made millions in paper products, coached by a guy with no personality, led by a golden-boy GQ quarterback and a bunch of workmanlike veterans who blend together like wallpaper in their fancy contemporary uniforms...Would winning be enough for me? Would I be banging away at a fan blog in the wee hours? Would I bleed silver and blue? I doubt it. I’d still be a fan, but no longer a rabid one.

We can never lose sight of the destination. But we also must remember why we left the station in the first place. It’s a complex equation. That's my way of saying I don't really have answers to your questions, just thoughts on them.

Perhaps I’m perverse, but I enjoy an uphill climb. I was lucky enough to be atop Mt. Davis (speaking of uphill climbs) in 1999 when James Jett hauled in a Jeff George pass on the last play to win the game. There was a sort of animal energy that was unleashed at that moment. It felt like an earthquake. It also felt like a flashpoint. It would be the Raiders' and Gruden’s second 8-8 year in a row, but you could feel the momentum building. The journey was well underway.

Norv Turner was an unfortunate detour. But I expect that we’re back on track. I expect to sense similar momentum in 2006. Glory is great, but so is the Return to Glory!

3:28 PM  
Blogger Raider Raza said...

Great Post Raider Take!!!

There is nothing like being a Raider fan tailgating from Saturday noon till game time when the Hells bells electrifies the stadium and the Raiders come out the tunnel.

We have a maverick owner, a rich history, mystique, we win with players nobody wants, we wear black and our passionate fans with Raider tattoos make lots of noise.
Everybody either loves the Raiders or they hate the Raiders...

So, when was the last time you seen a Patriots tattoo???

4:20 PM  
Anonymous raider00 said...

RT, I think everyone in the nation can agree that one of the greatest things Al davis has done, is to keep the Raiders uniform unchanged, & untarnished by today's modern fashion mayem. We only need to look at the Donkey's, whose uniform has gone from ridiculas, to hideous. My point was simply that as a Raiders fan, I just want them to win again, and if it aint exactly done with "Raider football", that's ok with me. To tell you the truth, 22 yrs removed since our last Super Bowl title, I'm not even sure what Raider football is these days. When Gruden won with a different style, no one I know complained. The saying is "just Win Baby". It doesn't say how.

6:43 PM  
Blogger alzadoman said...

God Bless Al Davis and every decision he makes. He is the Raiders, and everything I love about them.

7:15 PM  
Anonymous Stick'em said...

RT: Perhaps the biggest reason we love the Raiders is they do things the way they want to do them--mediots and convention be d@mned.

I believe in this way because I can think of no one I'd rather have in charge than Al Davis.

Why?

Al knows and loves winning the game of football like no other living man. It's almost like if he can beat the game of football, Al believes he can beat game of death itself.

No one can dispute this.

Does *Patriots owner Bob Kraft?

No. He's just a corporate clown lucky enough to be surrounded by folks who do know and love football. Truth be told, Kraft would rather be trading rings with Vladimir Putin than thinking about linebackers.

You think Putin would get Al Davis' SB ring off his 77-year-old finger without getting smacked upside his noggin with one silver'n'black walker?

No, you do not.

You do not because you know Al Davis wakes up in the morning rubbing that ring, calling it "My Precious," and thinking about nothing else besides how he can add a fourth one.

President of Russia and public relations be d@mned, Al would say, "You may kiss the Godfather's ring. That is all, Putin."

But some folks just don't get it. Instead of looking forward to the upcoming season, some folks already have condemned the team before a single game has been played, with the explicitly stated goal of being able to say, "I told you so" when/if the Raiders do not succeed.

While I too get flashbacks of Mr. Peabody and the Way Back Machine when someone tells me we rehired Tom Walsh, I would never wish our team a single loss just so I could say, "Look at me. I am always right!!!"

Pathetic delusions of grandeur.

Did I think the Raiders were in trouble before last season with KFC at QB and nary a linebacker and even fewer guards? Yes. And I said so. Did I hope I was wrong? Certainly.

So to all the gloom and doom spinners out there, lemme tell ya, "Al Davis does not give an infinitesimally small part of a midget rat's @ss what you think. Al's busy trying to win at the moment. Wear the colors or don’t.”

This is why I love the Raiders.

7:57 PM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

Raider 00 - One of the points Art Shell emphasized in his press conference was that the Raiders needed to return to playing "Raider football".

He defined Raider football as a committed, effective power running game with the ability to strike deep. He defined Raider football as tough minded players who played with a swagger. Shell also said that the offensive line would lead and set the tempo for the team.

To me the "Raider Way" is loosely defined by having an inconic, maverick owner who goes against the grain and willing takes chances on players who
a) have been discarded by other teams (ie. Plunkett)
b) have "character" flaws(ie. Moss)
c) are unpolished gems (ie. Branch)

The Raider Way also seems to be a way of saying that the organizaion is less corporate and more family operated. The hiring of Shell and Walsh is a return to the Raiders cocoon. It is another line drawn in the sand. On one side you have the Raiders. On the other side are all the other teams and groupthinkers.

Shell, Walsh, and Ryan have their work cut out for them. Shell's marching orders are to build a dominating offensive line, return to a solid rushing attack, and instill a tough minded attitude in the locker room. Ryan needs to shape and prod the D to keep taking positive strides. We need to upgrade the QB position and make the most out of our draft choices by adding a few playmakers on the defensive side of the ball. If we are able to meet these objectives, the Raider Way will simply be, winning.

Progress to me is when we are at least 3-3 in the division and a
legitimate playoff caliber team. The next step after that is to be a playoff caliber team with a legitimate shot at playing for all the marbles.

9:00 PM  
Anonymous raider00 said...

Calico: Sounds good to me. Let's start the season tomorrow !!! Really though, one thing overlooked when talking about returning to Raider ball is that, the Raiders of old had a star, if not a hall of famer, at nearly every position. That is not the case today. Anyway, I hate to be one always making counter points. Believe me, I want the Raiders to win sooooooooooo bad, I can't explain. I'm assuming our 3-3 record in the division would include beating the Donks twice !! Has to happen. Anyway, love the hiring of Jackie Slater as o-line coach, and hear the pride n' poise boys are interested in Skins Qb, Pat Ramsey.

9:20 PM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

Stick'em 37: To me Wayne "I told you so" Norris (aka Westside Pirate) is even worse than Ray "Mr. Smug" Ratto. At least Ratto doesn't claim to be a Raider fan while at the same time spewing venom and ridiculous assumptions.

In the piece you cited, Westside Pirate gives no bearing to the differences of personnel in 2006 vice 1994.

Here are just a few of the more ridiculous, off the mark claims this knucklehead makes:

"He will solve our Kerry Collins' problem, because he will get Kerry Collins killed just as he did Jeff Hostetler. The problem here was in Walsh's system where it required the quarterback to hold on to the ball 3.5 to 4.0 seconds before getting rid of it."

(Does Westside Pirate realize that KFC might not be wearing the silver and black colors this season? Does Westside Pirate realize that Walsh/Shell are more than capable of implementing an intermediate pass attack?)

"As in 1994, you can expect the Raiders to always run on first downs and, as a result, defenses will counter this with eight men in the box, in a 5-3 Cover 1 Defense, and they will shut our running game down."

(Really? You mean that the Raiders won’t try any play action passes on first down? Ever?)

"You can expect the play to be very conservative with a lead and he will not to play to win on offense. He will put that burden on Rob Ryan's shoulders while we will all be biting our nails."

(Tell that to the Pittsburgh Steelers who just won the Super Bowl. You mean that if the Raiders have the lead it would be unwise to play smash mouth football, gaining yards and first downs, and controlling the clock?)

"You can expect us to go into trips and multi-wide receiver formations only on third down and long situations."

(So we shouldn’t expect to see Doug Gabriel on any first or second downs? Preposterous Westside Pirate.)

"You will see us go to a no-huddle offense only once, as Walsh did in one particular game versus Tampa Bay to win the game, never to see a no-huddle again."

(So Walsh and Shell who have been around football for 60+ years won’t EVER use a no huddle offense even in 2 minute offensive situations?)

"You will see very predictable play calling and no half-time adjustments whatsoever, ever."

(Are you in the locker room when the coaching staff is tinkering with the play calls and personnel packages?)

"An Offensive Coordinator that Coach Shell can trust and not have to worry about losing his job over."

(The main reason Shell brought back Walsh was because he trusts him you moron)

"And one who will play to win."

(Shell and Walsh are back for one reason and one reason only you fool. To win.)

"I will eat every word if I am wrong, but it will be the first time that I ever knew of."

(Be prepared to eat your words Westside. Also, if you don’t mind, turn in your colors because you are a complete hypocritical, traitor. On the one hand you say you love the Raiders. On the other hand you make a bunch of ridiculous claims which gives no reasonable weight to Walsh/Shell’s football knowledge, ability to adapt to the personnel, and most importantly, to play to win.)

9:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with you all, on every level. However, we are all waiting
for Al Davis's genuis to take us
to the next level. That has not
happened since Gruden was here. And there are those of us who had issues with Gruden. Point being we shall see another long season of really close games yet not being able finish them off. All the talent in the world, yet no way of putting it all together. I have been a Raiders fan since I was a boy and I shall die as one. But the reality of the situtation is Al Davis has not made the wisest of choices past or present. Beware of what happens when Al is gone one day, Amy Trask or Mike L. running the show? I don't know how that is going to all work out. I will still go see my Raiders play but I will not be thrilled by Art Shell or Tom Walsh trying to figure out how to beat Denver,
Kansas or San Diego.

10:24 PM  
Blogger frkyraider said...

i've said it before and i'll say it again, some of you doom and gloomers will never be happy no matter who we hire or what we do. the only way to silence these people is to match the '72 fins record. if such a thing were to happen the first thing out of the mouths of these same people would be "i was pulling for us all along, just had my doubts thats all". in the very next sentence it would be, "we're screwed next year, Al's got us way over the cap", "we're too old", "gotta rid ourselves of Al, he's been ruining this franchise for years". and then they would simply give all the credit for tyin the fins record to someone else. "Al just got lucky enuff to hire someone that knew what to do". to these people i say, to steal calico jacks line....turn in your colors.

5:36 PM  
Anonymous raider00 said...

Sigh...This is what I meant about the great divide in the Raider nation. Anon criticises Al Davis, some fairly, some unfairly, and Frkyraider responds with terms like "Silence these guys", & "Turn in your colors". I just don't know what makes some people think they are better fans then others. Sure some of the things said are over the line, but some of it is valid. If 13 wins in three seasons, & NO wins in the division isn't time for at least a little doom, & gloom, when is ? If being the greatest Raider fan means shutting up, and buying into everything Al Davis does, well, even Al Davis would not approve of such blind following. He was never one to do it himself. So to the fans who don't have anything good to say about Davis, remember this, Al Davis has done alot of great things over the yrs, and at least we know he is trying hard to win. And to the fans who think Davis can walk on water, consider this, sometimes you guys seem a little too happy after a losing season. What's done is done. Now is the time to get behind Shell, Walsh, & everybody else, and let's get back to winning, something that all fans can agree on....I hope.

6:31 PM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

This isn't a competition to see who is the "better" fan. It is an open forum to discuss the one thing that we all supposedly share; our passion and love for the Silver and Black.

In my view, the organization, Al Davis, the coaches, and players are all fair game to be criticized, evaluated, and held accountable. Raider fans are entitled to their opinion. At the same token, the Raider fan's opinions are open for criticism and evaluation.

I personally respect the Raider fan's opinions that have some semblance of reason and thought behind it as opposed to outlandish blanket statements(all, always, never). These blanket statements seem to be usually centered on Al Davis. ("It's all Davis fault", "Davis never drafts well", "Davis is always wrong") Blah, Blah, Blah.

A fair weather fan wants to simply bask in the glory of "their" team in good times but spew nothing but venom in bad times. It might just be me but I get tired of all the so called Raider fans who always see the glass as half empty. Yes, the last 3 years have been tough to swallow. Yes, there has been plenty to criticize in the past 3 years. I would hope though that any loyal Raider fan would at least see how the draft, free agency, and new coaches pan out and let the upcoming season's record guide their views. At the end of the day, performance is what counts. Wins and Losses are what matter. The scoreboard is the final judge and jury.

No one has a gun pointed at their head to be a Raider fan. It is a choice made of free will. If all of your thoughts about the team and organization are negative, you should ask yourself "Why am I a Raider fan?" Why would you profess to be a Raider fan if all you can do is slam the team and you don't have any hope for a better future? I prefer to view each new season as a clean canvas and take a "wait and see" approach.

10:43 PM  
Anonymous LK said...

Tommy Maddox just got cut.....not that that's relevant to the Raiders situation, I'm just suffering from post-withdrawal.

I was hoping for the $94 million cap to stick--it would have almost certainly led to the bus ticket goodbye for KFC and would have put any number of high quality FA's out there. I say this because I think Mike Lombardi [and Bruce Allen before him] gives us an advantage in dealing with the cap by outsmarting teams to land FA's in a cap friendly way. If a new deal is done and the cap jumps $10M, there will still be players out there that can help [ for example at G and DL], but $10M more cap room makes me nervous about the bus ticket...

1:35 PM  
Anonymous Stick'em said...

Raider00:

Please don't think this is an audition for the Raiderettes, with the "who is the best fan" stuff. Tryouts are upcoming, but I'll wager no one here would look good in a black miniskirt.

On the other hand, feel free to criticize Al Davis. I do.

How about this:

Three years ago, Al decided not to resign Tory James at CB because James wanted to be a starter. Tory James sure looked a lot like Mike Haynes to me, with his long arms and such.

"Keep 'em and make him the starter," I says.

Instead, Al dealt with Beelzebub's minions, the POSton brothers, and ended up paying WTF Chuck Woodson over $20 mil. for the last three seasons.

The result? Al got positively taken to the cleaners.

James has 17 INTs in last three seasons for the Bengals. How many does Woodson have?

That's right. WTF Chuck has 17 INTs in his entire eight-year career.

James salary was $2mil/year in each of the last three season; Al could have had James and a few more players for Chuck's wages. Instead, the Raiders set a new record for the fewest INTs in NFL history this season.

The point is, you do not have to be a sheep and think Al Davis does no wrong to be a Raider fan. On the contrary, I encourage you to think objectively for yourself.

However, when bozos like this "Westside Pirate" take so much glee in the Raiders' recent misfortunes, it really makes you wonder, ”Why the hell are you a Raider fan if you spend all day convincing yourself how bad life has been/will be?”

For your own sake (not mine), WSP and the others of like mind, go follow the Chinese ping pong team if Raider football makes you that miserable.

Normal people just do not get off on losing as much as some of these people seem to, and they are not going to bring me into the 'groupthink' of Raider hating with them, so why do they try so hard?

Yes, this team sucks right now. No, I'm not going to chose to be a masochist, wallowing in self pity about how the sky is falling because Al Davis didn't properly thumbtack it to the ceiling.

These bozos, like WSP, miss the whole "Poise" part of the organization. We all know you are going to treat your wife great on her wedding nite. But how will you treat her a decade later when you learn she has cancer?

That is the question at hand.

I would never tell someone to "turn in their colors" for the simple reason that I don't equate being a Raider with wearing a Randy Moss jersey (or Warren Sapp, or whoever the player of the month is this month).

The Raider Way is much more than this. It is not just about the gear you wear, it's about 00 Jim Otto playing every single game until there is not an unbroken bone in his body.

The whiners, like WSP, just don't get it. They can wear any colors they choose. They can run around saying, "I've been a Raider fan since 1860, so I have a right to b!tch," or whatever nonsense.

The truth is, everyone sees them for what they are--All Pride, and no Poise.

8:10 AM  
Anonymous raider00 said...

I hear ya Stick'em. I guess that all Raider fans, much like the team itself, are different. I may disagree with West side Pirate 100% of the time, but I am not going to sit hear, & question his love of the Raiders. Some fans just have to vent, and it's unfortunate that it comes out as all negative. I think they are ready to explode over what's been going on. Poise is a great thing, but how many times can we calmly say "We lost to Denver again, we'll get'em next time". We need some rage in the Raider nation. We need to want to beat the opponent by ripping off there limbs, and winning by 50 points. That's how I feel. Anyway, I hope all Raiders fans continue to blog here. This is a great place.

1:14 PM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

Stick’em: I like your analogy about how you treat your wife on your wedding night and how you treat your wife 10 years later when she has cancer. This point drives home the true definition of loyalty. It is easy to get on the wagon when the Raiders are winning but it is a mark of loyalty to continue to support the team in the difficult times. The keyword here being support. It doesn’t mean you have to agree blindly with everything the organization does but it does mean you can be counted on as a loyal supportive fan. I view the team as family members. You might not like everyone in your family but you would back them up against outsiders or in tough times. Case in point for me is Collins. I have consistently criticized Collins the last 2 years. However when it came to game time, I supported him and wanted him to play well. It makes no sense whatsoever to claim to be a Raider fan but to hope the team loses.

The Westside Pirate has every right to vent his frustrations. However, what bothers me about WSP and other Raider-haters of like mind, is that they seem to relish the down years. Why wallow in misery? What is the point? In essence WPS is saying on the one hand “I hate the Raiders. The Raiders will suck” and on the other hand “I’m a long time Raider fan”. I’m sorry but you can’t have it both ways. If you read through all of his crap, and get to the heart of it. what WSP should say is “I’m a Raider fan when they are winning and I’m a Raider-hater when they are losing”.

It also annoys me when a “I told you so” know-it-all like WSP makes unsubstantiated claims and predictions about the team’s fortune BEFORE the draft and free agency. If you are a die-hard Raider fan wouldn’t you at least wait to see who your QB is? Who you drafted? Who you picked up in free agency before saying the 2006 season is lost?

It is great that the Raider Nation can agree to disagree in forums like RT’s blog.

2:29 PM  
Anonymous Stick'em said...

OO:

Ohhhh, I'm p!$$ed!

The thing is, my furniture starts resembling matchsticks very closely when the rage comes out. Keyboards turn into plastic confetti too.

I'd give a month's wages right now to be locked in a dark room with Philip "Lifetime" Buchanon. I'd make him my Smurfette, believe it!

But alas, I cannot get my hands on the little smurf, nor can I send KFC back to the chicken processing plant.

So...since I can't get my hands on the people responsible for this mess, and the inanimate objects around me do not feel pain (no matter how hard I fling'em or hit'em LOL!)...

I hang out with folks like you and RT to talk about the Raider way around the proverbial pub and try to have a nice day. It's better on my mental and physical health, and throwing furniture gets to be an expensive habit!

4:02 PM  
Anonymous raider00 said...

Stick'em, that one made me lol. Well, I know you're p***ed, & I'm p***ed, & so are Calico, RT, and a lot of others in the nation. I'm waiting for the RAIDERS to get p****ed !!! I don't want to see them casually strolling into KC, Den, SD, like they are there to feed the birds. We need some fire, some effort, and plenty of well placed anger out of them. Al Davis made a great point at the pc introducing Shell as HC. He said, and i'm paraphrasing, that other teams whip themselves up into a fanatical hatred of the Raiders before a game. He pointed out that the Raiders were not matching this emotion. He said something along the lines, "This is no joke anymore". It sounds like Al is p****ed too !!! Now if only some of these players can get it through their thick skulls. It's not rocket science. Just play smart, mean, hard, & nasty for 60 minutes every week, and things will turn around faster then you can say "Donkey's Suck" !!!

5:11 PM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

I'm with you Raider 00 - I haven't been a happy camper the last 3 years. The main reason that I'm optimistic that we are on the right track now is that Art Shell is the man in charge.

The one thing this team needed more than anything else is a no-nonsence HC who demands that the players go to war every Sunday. Both Al & Art in the press conference seemed to be singing from the same sheet of music ... Tough, nasty football. A power running game built on an offensive line that dominates. A swagger and confidence that we'll get it done in 60 minutes. A win at all costs attitude. A team feared by the opposition. etc.

Art Shell will change the attitude of the team for the better. Having a coach who clearly bleeds silver and black and has a sense of urgency is just what this ailing team needed the most.

Now if we can just get RT hired as a Marketing Director so that the House of Thrills is sold out for each home game, visiting teams will dread coming to Oaktown.

10:32 PM  
Anonymous Stick'em said...

There is a God!

The Raiders released Kerry Collins.

6:55 PM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

In an ironic, twist of fate, give Gene Upshaw an inadvertent assist for the release of KFC by walking away from the CBA negotiation table.

7:13 PM  
Anonymous Stick'em said...

Found it in a second source just to confirm I'm not just delusional with happiness: and there was much rejoicing!

God it feels good to be a Raider!

7:15 PM  
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