Oakland Raiders Diary #7 & #8 & #9 – The Conference Win, The Rookie Beatdown, & The Blowout

Raiders v. Chiefs

Raiders 26 Chiefs 16.

I could sit here and write another Diary entry about how we went from 3-4 to almost out of playoff contention in three quick weeks. I could talk about how Palmer is only worth a damn when we’re behind and how McFadden got hurt just like I predicted. I could talk about how running backs continue to have field days against us and how we let Doug Martin run for 251 yards and 4 TDs. I could even talk about how we walked into Baltimore and got stomped.

But no. In an effort to switch it up, why don’t I just share my first memories of each of the teams we played in the last three games? You can read the stats and what went down in each of the games elsewhere this time. Let’s try to have some fun, although, the memories I have aren’t particularly great.

I’ve been a Raiders fan ever since I can remember. But I don’t remember actually paying attention to them regularly until 1992 or so. That season, the Raiders went 7-9 and the one memory I have was of their last game of the year against the Redskins. I was at my grandma’s and surrounded by family…Redskin fan family. When Nick Bell[1. It's safe to say Nick Bell was my first favorite Raiders player. He was a running back like my dad was and he was the first Raider I could easily identify. I didn't even care about Tim Brown until the next season and I didn't appreciate former greats until I was a teenager and the Raiders weren't winning at all. He was only in the league 3 seasons but for that one day, my guy Nick Bell came through for me!] ran it in from the Redskins 5 to take the lead in the 4th, I was pumped. So pumped that my grandma warned me to calm down because she was afraid someone would attempt to punish me for rooting against the Redskins. I managed to calm down when the Redskins took the lead back, but when Vince Evans hit Tim Brown for the game winner, I pissed off the whole house. My dad would’ve been proud.

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My first memory of the Chiefs though came from a football card. The card simply recapped the Raiders matchup against the Chiefs in one of the 1991 AFC Wild Card games, which the Chiefs won 10-6. As someone who only knew the Raiders had won the Super Bowl three times at that point, I was pissed. Why would the Chiefs stand in our way? Why did they let the Redskins (my most hated team at the time) win the Super Bowl [in 1991]? Looking at it now, the Chiefs even overcame the “it’s tough to beat a team three times in the same season” stigma to advance. Granted, the Bills scrubbed them out of the way the following weekend (not as bad as the Bills dominated us in the 1990 AFC Championship Game), but I still didn’t like it.

And while this isn’t my first Chiefs memory, it happened right after the trading card incident: Marcus Allen signed with the Chiefs as a free agent in 1993. Yeah, I know Al ran him out of LA. But at least have a little respect for your former fanbase and go sign in a different division! Peyton didn’t go running to the Titans after the Colts cut him. Reggie White didn’t head for Dallas, Washington, or New York after he left Philadelphia.

But Marcus went to Kansas City until he retired in 1997. And he burned us every chance he got. Not that Al didn’t bring this betrayal on himself. But point is Marcus Allen should have retired a Raider.

I hate the Chiefs.[2. Top 5 hated NFL Teams: 1. Chiefs 2. Cowboys 3. Broncos 4. Patriots 5. Redskins/Steelers. But don't mention the word tie to anyone on the Rams or the 49ers until this season's over.]

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Raiders 32 Buccaneers 42.

Super Bowl XXXVII.

Do I have to?

Actually, my first Buccaneers memory is not of our defeat in the 2003 Super Bowl. In another tale of Sunday football at my grandma’s, I got to watch the early fall spectacle of the Redskins at Tampa Bay. While there were no ‘Skins fans around that day, I still delighted in watching the Redskins fail miserably. Errict Rhett ran all over Washington’s defense while Tampa held the Redskins scoreless in the second half. Plus the Raiders waxed the Eagles 48-17 that day, so I had no complaints.

When the Bucs got their new unifoms in 1997, my friend Matt got a Warrick Dunn jersey. While I’ve always disliked Florida St. you couldn’t deny the fresh new look after years of orange and red in Tampa Bay.

And SB XXXVII…our offensive line didn’t hold up, Rich Gannon was shook and we were facing one of the most dominant defenses in Super Bowl history.

And the Raiders traded away Jon Gruden for draft picks and 8 million dollars.

Sigh.

I’m fairly certain that the day after our third Super Bowl victory (and my first birthday) that Al Davis made a vow to himself. A vow that said no matter what, he would find a way to run the Raiders into the ground until the day he died (and a few after I’m sure). Let’s see: Run Marcus Allen out town? Check. Sign a player who was so talented he wanted to play both baseball and football and lose him for the beginning of 4 straight seasons (and ultimately forever)? Check.[3. I still got love for you Bo.] Fire Mike Shanahan so he can torture us for 13 seasons in Denver? Check. Hire a coach who returns the team to glory and then dump him because you don’t think he’s worth the money? Check. Fire Tom Cable after a .500 season after years of losing? Check. And if I could blame him for Hue Jackson being let go, I’d add that too.

It’s simple: Gruden built the 2002 Raiders team. Bill Callahan worked underneath him. Gruden inherited a good team from Tony Dungy and added the missing pieces. Vick took out the Pack in the first round of the playoffs. The Bucs overcame their Eagles demons in the NFC Championship Game. And the Raiders walked right into Chuckie’s waiting arms.

Not fair I tell you.

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Raiders 20 Ravens 55.

I truly thought there was a moment the Ravens made their mark in my mind besides their escape from Cleveland in 1996. After an hour or so of research and thought, it comes down to a Raiders memory…of the 2000 AFC Championship Game…and Tony Siragusa taking out Rich Gannon.

Sure, the Ravens had another one of those go down in the record books defenses. Sure, they held us to 3 points. But Siragusa fell on Rich’s shoulder. He missed the rest of the first half and he wasn’t effective when he tried to come back in the third.

His replacement? Bobby FREAKING Hoying. The same guy who 1. went to Ohio St. who I despise and 2. is the trivia answer to “Who was the quarterback of the Eagles before Donovan McNabb?” He also is apart of a long tradition of backup Raiders QBs who completely suck.[4. Like Kyle Boller and a rookie Terrelle Pryor on our depth cart when Campbell went down last year. The reason we traded for Carson. I've never understood it.] And despite everything that was going against him, Hoying still threw a touchdown to Andre Rison that was called back by a phantom offensive interference call.

If Gannon stays in, the Ravens may have still prevailed but I feel that Siragusa was sent to take him out of the picture. I’ve generally been indifferent to the Ravens over the years but remembering all the anger I felt back then is moving them back to my hated teams list quickly. I didn’t even get to watch the game because dad and I were in Winchester running errands that day. It’s a good thing I missed out I suppose. But with the low scoring game and all of those offensive weapons…maybe we’re looking at a 17-16 victory instead of a 16-3 loss.

Stupid Tony Siragusa.

Back to live action, the Raiders 2 game winning streak is now a 2 game slide. Three games out of first in the AFC West.

There’s no sugar coating this with hopes and dreams anymore. Home for the Saints, Browns, and Broncos; away at Cincinnati. 3-6. With N.O. improved and coming off their big win last week, I expect a loss. The Bengals have been up and down but they played the Giants tough last week and we’re on the road; another loss. Home for the Browns and we should win that one but it’s gonna come down to making less mistakes and putting Sebastian in field goal range consistently. And a rematch with the Broncos who trounced us in Week 4 will be another loss but hopefully more competitive.

Our record should stand at 4-9 by then and guaranteeing us another losing season.

And I know, I’m down on my team a lot. But if anyone’s allowed to be, it’s me. I just keep telling myself that one day I’ll be writing this feature about wins and playoff berths and maybe even…Super Bowl appearances. And all these years of losing will be worth it.

But until then, just win baby. Please?

Current outlook: 6-10.

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