Posted on: April 9, 2008 12:17 pm
First Posted on Silver and Black Rants
As the offseason has continued, Raider Nation has continued to keep a watchful eye on their beloved Oakland Raiders. Even when the news was at its bleakest, many of the following have posted to message boards to calm the rest of the brethren.
Through it all, even the least optimistic of Raiders fans has weathered the storm of the media only to now be accosted by other teams' fans raiding the Nation's message boards to vilify, taunt, and insult the Silver and Black following.
I myself have been insulted just for writing pieces having to do with the Raiders, a coming of age for any writer you could say. I won't reveal who it was, but I will say that they went out of their way to create a profile so they could tell me that I am, "a no-talent hack." The only thing that had caught me off guard was that I wasn't writing anything of conflict, some might say I wasn't writing anything of interest judging by the popularity the article received.
Water under the bridge right? Sure, until the 2008 NFL season starts. These messages of hate have grown considerably more frequent since Big Al made the trade for DeAngelo Hall. Prior to the trade and the boat load of free agent signings, the Raiders and Raider Nation weren't even being paid attention to.
Now, you can't go on a Raiders message board without seeing an upset Charger fan or an incessant 49er fan making fun of the Raiders, Al Davis, and Raider Nation. This hasn't deterred the avid Raider poster though, in fact it seems that the Raiders posters have banded together to fight off this scourge commonly referred to as, 'Haterism.'
It's a well known fact that the average Raider fan knows far more about his team than the most fanatical of other teams. It's also very well known that the average Raider fan can carry on a legitimate debate using real facts and analysis unlike most other football fans. The common thread in these debates is that rarely have Raiders fans resorted to broad generalizations of groups of fans to denigrate them as a people...at least as far as I've seen.
A colleague of mine recently wrote an article where fans of other teams decided to post comments. You can see the article here. It was a decidedly biased article, but nonetheless the debate turned ugly quickly as you'll see if you scroll to the bottom of the article and read the posts. Even I had something to say, which when it comes to these types of back and forth, I normally stay out of them.
One must wonder what would cause people to spend their free time insulting people minding their own business. I find it hard to believe that people would have the time or care to bother with Raider Nation unless there was something to it. Prior to the start of free agency, nobody cared if 'Rocky the Raider' was on a message board saying that they Raiders would win the Super Bowl next year...except for other Raiders fans. Now, going on to a Raider board and saying something positive about the Raiders, could get you a long rant about how your mother is a convict and you are a welfare baby and that's why you're stupid.
I wouldn't fret though Raider Nation. Your numbers are strong, and for every hater, there are three or four in the Nation that have your back. Rejoice! Once again, the Raiders and the Raider Nation are relevant on the football scene. Thanks to Mr. Davis, others fear Silver and Black domination.
Broncos, Chiefs, Chargers, and 49ers fans fear it the most. They fear not being able to have anything to say to the average Raider fan that elevates themselves in the conversation. They won't be able to dust you off with the simple phrase, "19-61 over the past five years," for much longer. They may actually have to learn about what they speak and stop throwing the false rumors at you so you'll have pause.
Soon, you'll be able to stop the hater...and they won't be able to say that you're living on the past. Soon, they'll have to revert back to the 'old' put-downs dealing with the costumes, how all Raiders fans are hoodlums, and how Al is controlling everything. Well, they might be right about Al, but they aren't right about you are they? Ah, who cares, as long as the Raiders are beating their teams it doesn't matter what they say. The only thing that matters is the old Al Davis mantra, "I'd rather be feared than respected." Their posts are proof of that.
Posted on: April 9, 2008 12:15 pm
First Posted on Bleacher Report
This is part eight of an eight part series detailing players that have jumped out at me and made me say, "Man!! That guy would be a good Raider!"
In the glory years, the AFC West was the toughest division in all of football. There would be at least three of the four teams worthy of playoff consideration. Over the past three years, it has been steadily declining to where only one team in the division can be considered a playoff contender.
Rich in tradition, the AFC West still plays a style that is still reminiscent of the old AFL days. All four teams can run the ball, they can usually pass, and usually can defend the pass. Most often than not, the winner of the West is the team that can stop the run the most effectively.
Before I start, let's take a look at the past articles written in other divisions:
I'm going to try and not make big reaches, so I'll find at least one player per team, but no promises past that. If you have any suggestions, post them.
This is a team that is very much in transition. The problem is that even Broncos fans are unsure where this team is heading. I like guys like John Lynch and Dre Bly, but I think they may be on their way out of the league. I also liked Jay Cutler when he came out of the draft, but he has yet proven to be consistent. Brandon Marshall was looking like he may have star material, but this off season hasn't been the best for the young receiver.
OC - Tom Nalen: I have nothing but respect for this guy. Not a big guy by today's standards at all, he's still a force in the middle of the Broncos line. I thought he was retiring, but I guess I was wrong. He's supposed to be back next year after suffering a torn biceps injury. For a lineman, that can be the injury that ends your career.
CB - Champ Bailey: I'd argue that he's the best in the league, but let's just say I wouldn't be disappointed if he wore different colors. One of the three or four best corners playing in the NFL today.
LB - D.J. Williams: Right now he's in the middle, but his natural position is outside. Regardless of the position, he excels as a linebacker. He's fast and strong. He can stand up the fullback and still make the tackle on the runner, and he can cover too. He's also pretty crazy looking, which may be my favorite thing about him.
DE - Elvis Dumervil: In 29 regular seasons over two years, he's already gotten 21 sacks. He's only 23! I don't think I'm looking forward to the next five years of his career.
Kansas City Chiefs
This is another AFC West team that seems to be in decline. They have some good players, but I'm not a big fan of the staff coaching them up. Napoleon Harris, In my opinion, was a good Raider, but he won't make the list here. The Chiefs have much to prove as a team before some of the players will make the list.
TE - Tony Gonzalez: Not much needs to be said about this guy. By the time he retires, there won't be any doubt that he's been the best pass catching tight end the game has ever seen.
WR - Dwayne Bowe: This guy is impressive. Along with Anthony Gonzalez (IND) and Sidney Rice (MIN), he looks to be a future star receiver in the league. He's fast and tall, and I'm sure that JaMarcus Russell wouldn't mind throwing to him again.
DE - Jared Allen: He grew up a fan of the Raiders, and he plays like a Howie Long on the line. He's nearly impossible to block for 60 minutes, completely disrupts an offense with his high motor. He's scary when he's going against you.
San Diego Chargers
I guess it's appropriate to save these guys for the last team I discuss in the AFC West, since they are the best right now. Although they are solid from top to bottom, many of their players are system players. Lorenzo Neal would've definitely been on this list had he remained a Charger, but I guess Norv is starting to work his magic in San Diego.
RB - LaDainian Tomlinson: Another guy that doesn't need anything said about him. If you don't know who he is or how good he is, you don't watch football.
TE - Antonio Gates: Dominating player that can block well enough and catch the ball very well. He's extraordinary at getting open when he needs to, like third and five.
OT - Marcus McNeil: Two years in the league and two pro bowls. Left tackle that dominates at the line of scrimmage. opens up nice running lanes for the Chargers' running game and protects Rivers' blind side during the passing game.
OG - Kris Dielman: A true throwback guard. Plays whistle to whistle, and has been accused of being dirty. He plays next to McNeil and the two of them form arguably the toughest left side in the game.
LB - Shawne Merriman: I can't argue with results. He really plays defensive end due to the 3-4 alignment, but you'll have a tough time finding a better pass rusher. He's mean and nasty, athletic, and has a nose for the quarterback.
DE - Igor Olshansky/Luis Castillo: I like both of these guys because they can hold up the run and rush the passer when needed. I think I like Olshansky a little better, due to the name 'Igor.' Really, can you blame me? What a great name for a lineman. Castillo is a monster in disruption and seems to make big plays for the Chargers defense.
Did I miss anyone? Did I reach too much? Agree or disagree?
Any feedback you have is greatly appreciated. I want to thank the guys that have given their feedback so far. If you think I got it wrong, let the world know by posting it.
Remember the only criteria to make my list, is that the player has had to have made an impression on me so significant that I would say to myself, "He'd be a good Raider," or "I wish he was a Raider."
Who's done that for you?
Tags: AFC West, Antonio Gates, Champ Bailey, D.J. Williams, Denver Broncos, Dre Bly, Dwayne Bowe, Elvis Dumervil, Igor Olshansky, Jared Allen, John Lynch, Kansas City Chiefs, Kris Dielman, LaDainian Tomlinson, Luis Castillo, Oakland Raiders, Raider Nation, Rob Calonge, San Diego Chargers, Shawne Merriman, Tom Malen, Tony Gonzalez