Venom, Hope and Evidence
One of the things I'm going to love most about today’s victory is the Raider Haters trying to cope with the fact that the Raiders aren’t a total disaster, a position that is essential to their worldview.
The national media has been literally freaking out about the Raiders, saying they’re the worst this, the worst that, etc. All the while, they have been hedging their bets, moving the Raiders up in their “power rankings,” just in case.
Some will say that Raider Take has been freaking out, too. I have, and with good reason. Over the past five (now six) seasons, I believe the Raiders have lost full a year (and probably two) of relative progress for inexcusable reasons I don’t need to belabor (and for me, that’s a year or two of competitive football inexcusably stolen from my life on this earth, which is not something I take lightly, especially when my team’s motto is Commitment to Excellence).
However, I shall remind folks—I am a Raiders blogger. I cover one team, not 32 teams. By definition and vocation, I have tunnel vision.
The national media have no such excuse. They bash the Raiders as a blood sport, by choice, and completely out of context. Just consider the ratio of Chiefs bashing to Raiders bashing in the national media. It’s not even close. When is the last time you read a “I hate the Chiefs” article in a national media outlet? How about never. Yet the Chiefs are clearly the worst team in our division (forget the league), were no better than us last year, and don’t even have a history of success to buy them a little benefit of the doubt. They have nothing. But all you hear about is the Raiders are the worst this, and the worst that. This is 2008, not 2006. Yet you would never know it.
I’m not saying that the Raiders don’t have tons of work to do, nor that I’m content with a 2-4 record after five years of record-tying misery.
I’m just taking this opportunity to point out that, after putting serious scares into the Bills and the Chargers, and now after shutting down the Jets for their second victory in six games, the Raiders aren’t the “worst” anything. That doesn’t make them great, or even good. But it does shine a spotlight on the irrational venom that is directed at the Raiders with maniacal frequency and editorial impunity.
Are the Raiders poised to finally take things to the next level? I hope so, but I’m done with getting my hopes up. Hope used to be one of my currencies, but hope has become fool’s gold in the Raider Nation. We need evidence, not hope. If we win at least two out of the next four (Ravens, Falcons, Panthers, Dolphins), which is an entirely reasonable expectation, then I will consider that evidence.
In the meantime, I will enjoy this victory, praise our defense for stopping an opponent when it counts (finally), and congratulate Tom Cable on his being .500 as a head coach in the NFL.