Friday, June 23, 2006

Random Raider Takes

It’s Our Nation

The proliferation of the word “nation” is getting tiresome. Steeler Nation. Bronco Nation. Clipper Nation. Blah, blah, blah. In his Raiders blog, the Analyzer makes a good argument that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Nevertheless, I think we should turn up the mockery volume until it stops. The mainstream media are a big part of the problem, suddenly calling every fan base a “nation.” Well, there is one “nation” in the sports world, and it’s the Raider Nation. Reebok, official keeper of NFL gear, has long made Raiders apparel referencing the “Raider Nation.” Why? Because "nation" is an established phrase describing the fans of one NFL team, and that team is the Raiders. It's like "cheesehead” for the Packers fan, just cooler. Come to think of it, Bronco Cheeseheads has a nice ring to it. Don't tell me that "nation" is a generic term, and is thus applicable to any fan base. Don’t call your fast food stand “Burrito King” and tell me you’re not ripping off Burger King.

Here Comes The Fan (Like It or Not)

Another regrettable trend in the media is the arrogant dismissal of “the fan.” The so-called experts seem to be getting more and more defensive these days as blogs, podcasts, email, cell phones and other newer technologies have given fans a voice like never before (If you’re over 30 years old, you remember the day when your voice was limited to a handwritten letter to the editor). Listen to Randy "Raiders Hater" Cross and some of the other guys on Sirius NFL radio and you’ll get pure dose of the arrogance of which I speak. I hate to say it, but George Atkinson has been a perpetrator of this attitude on the homefront (click here and here for a taste of George’s sins). You haven’t played the game! You just don’t understand the nuances! Don’t believe your eyeballs, Kerry Collins is a great quarterback (who still hasn’t found a job in the QB-starved NFL)! Hey radio guy, if you don’t want to hear from us, don’t answer the phone. The fan is on the rise, armed with rollover minutes and bandwith, like it or not. Deal with it.

40 Years of Perfection

I found a cool web site that documents football helmets through the ages. According to this site, the Raiders last modified their helmet design in 1964. Most teams have modified their helmet designs—from the minimal to the drastic to the truly hideous—within the past 10 years. To me, this is just more evidence of the timeless brilliance of the Oakland Raiders, and a clear case of not messing with perfection.

The Endangered State of Tailgates

I love nothing more than a righteous tailgate on the Coliseum asphalt with my cousin and the Raider Nation. However, I now realize that I may have been taking my tailgates for granted. In its 2006 NFL Preview magazine, Athlon Sports has a feature on tailgating, with details for each team. I was stunned that several NFL teams apparently have no on-site tailgating. Take St. Louis: “All parking within one-mile radius. All are private lots; no stadium parking; shuttles provided.” You call that football? Or Jacksonville: “Few stadium spaces for visitors; park in city and take shuttles. All must call to reserve a spot.” Is this a restaurant or a football game? Or Detroit: “All public parking handled by private companies…Get spaces in advance from city’s Parking Department.” Or Cleveland: “Stadium doesn’t offer parking. Best bet, nearby Port of Cleveland parking lot.” Or Seattle: “Parking limited due to location…No alcohol.” What!? Red meat and cappuccino? I now have a renewed appreciation for hanging out in the immediate shadow of the Coliseum, cold one in hand, no reservations or shuttles required.


Blogger The Analyzer said...

Tailgating just goes with sports, it's hard to beleive some stadiums are putting a stop to it. That is a huge part of what separates going to a game versus watching it on TV.

6:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love tailgating too. My problem though is that parking should be reserved for ticket holders. Not everyone who piles into the stadium parking lot are ticket holders.
The last time my dad and I went to a game in Oakland (coming from the Redding area), we had to park 5 miles away because the stadium allows people to park in the stadium without tickets to the game. I think that's unfortunate. Hopefully that has changed, because that was in 1998. If not, then that could be one way to boost ticket sales.
Everyone knows the Raiders have the best tailgate parties. When I went the last time, I noticed a group of dorks, dressed in Raider garb, just making the rounds from tailgate to tailgate. I asked one of them if they had tickets, and they said, "No, we're just here for the tailgate, and when the game starts, we're going to leave and listen to it on the radio."
That's my only beef.
In Houston (nice stadium by the way), they don't allow you to park in the stadium lot, unless you are a season ticket holder. I think that's too overboard.

6:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Seattle Tailgating sucks.... the only time it was close to ok was when they were building there current stadium and the games were held at Husky Stadium for a couple least then when the squawks played the Raiders, the Nation could gather and have a proper tailgate....

most hawk fans are clueless as to what I am talking about when i tell them the stories of my trips to oakland to catch a Raider game.... they have no idea what they are really missing out on....

7:01 AM  
Blogger THN said...

Angel Stadium doesn't allow alcohol, either. But they tend to look the other way.

As for helmets, nobody beats the Browns which hasn't changed in years.

8:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have to correct you on the St. Louis thing...Yeah, there're no lots right outside the door of the Edward Jones dome, but literally RIGHT ACROSS THE STREET, a mere 5 minute walk. And the tailgating's pretty intense there on Sundays (nothing compared to the HOT) but still...It's the town that makes Budweiser, for crying out loud! One thing that is nice is that it's right downtown, right near bars and restaurants so you don't even need to drive to a venue after the game to catch other games.

Hey RT...Think we could open a bar at the entrance to the HOT's parking lot? I bet we'd get good biz ;-)

9:06 AM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

The only problem with the Browns (and I admit, their helmet design is truly brilliant, a work of art) is the team didn't exist for several years recently. I still can't figure it out...If the Browns are now the Ravens, then who are the Browns?

Thanks for the info, Horsecollarjack. I was just going off what the magazine said. I'm not well traveled. I've been to the desert a few times. I recall being in Paris once. In the case of St. Louis, the tailgate scene is apparently better than it sounded in the magazine.

I like the on-site bar idea. We could turn it into a Jim Otto coffee stand one hour after the game ends.

9:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I once went to a game in Buffalo. There was tailgating in the parking lot, but every house for miles has enormous backyards that they open up for parking.

Everyone was a regular, and there were probably 50 families tailgating in this guy's yard. Apparently it's like that all over the place. Then everyone walks to the game.


12:33 PM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

Yes, the Browns helmets haven't changed in years. Great NFL Adam. All this means is that their lame-ass helmets have sucked for a really long time. Congratulations.

Personally I think the Browns generic looking helmets and team colors are ugly in every possible way. Ok, your team name is "Browns" but the primary color of your helmet is orange. If having no logo on your helmet is cool or unique, please put a bullet in my head.

Finally, the Browns team colors remind me of Burger King and/or puke. Neither is exactly a flattering image. Thanks but no thanks.

9:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And just look what Paul Brown did to Cinncinnati's helmets after he left the Browns.

The horror!

But the worst helmet in football history has to be Tampa Bay's Buccaqueer .

That one was like someone took the Raider pirate...

Then to completely make the image the opposite of Raiderness, colored him icesickle orange, stuck an ostrich feather in his hat and a wink in his eye that gives me THE WILLIES, and put that gay blade between his teeth just to make sure you get the point...


5:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, RT - thanks for the head's up on this outstanding helmet site!

Now spending (too?) much time there checking out all the gear...

Here is one for a team called the Nawlins Thunder in some league called the RFL.

It may be the only pro football helmet I've seen as cool as the Raiders one.

Silver'n'Black, natch.

6:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love the Raiders helmet/uniform, and I appreciate the fact that Al Davis has not changed them much since he has been there.
But I wouldn't mind it if the Raiders went to a metalic silver helmet, and numbers, and all black jersey, and pants. I think the look would be even more awesome then it already is. anyone agree, disagree ?

11:37 AM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

I love our home uniforms exactly the way they are. There is a certain symmetry to it from top to bottom; (Silver-Black-Silver-Black)

Silver helmet to black jersey to silver pants to black socks.

There is also a symmetry to each item; Silver helmet (Black stripe + black logo), Black jersey (silver number); silver pants (black stripe); Black sock (at top; white at base of leg).

As far as the away uniforms, I would want to make some changes. Let me know what you think of the following: Have the away uniform the exact opposite of the home uniform excluding the helmet.

Silver jerseys with Black numbers (instead of current white jerseys).

Black pants with silver stripe (instead of silver pants with black stripe).

Silver sock at the top of leg with black sock at base of leg.

The reason I don't think our away uniforms are nearly as good as our home uniforms is because the away uniforms don't emphasize our primary colors (Silver and Black).

12:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

CJ: I don't like the silver jersey idea. They would look to much like spacemen. Hard to improve what is already the best uniform in sports.

4:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I like these away uniforms with silver instead of black lettering.

What'choo think?

BTW, nice with the symmetry there, CJ!

5:10 PM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

Stickem - Are those the away uniforms from 63' + 94'? I noticed on the helmet site that we had the special helmets that would seem to match that uniform.

10:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Stick 'em.
I also think one of the worst helmets and team names, comes from the Arena League (

The Kansas City Brigades??? Look at the helmet, it shows the colors of what KC would really like to be, but what a horrible looking helmet, and what a horrible name. Of course, it shouldn't surprise me as much, being that it came out of Kansas City!

5:59 AM  
Blogger Stick'em said...

CJ: Yep. This is the helmet typically worn with the silver #ered jerseys.

Personally, I like the traditional helmet with the black shield better...

Nate: Yep. The Brigades helmet looks pretty stoopid with the stealth bomber. The team they are replacing The Nawlins Voodoo looks much better, but leave it to KC to screw it up.

To be expected from those Bozos...

10:04 AM  
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