Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Oakland Raiders: Is The Silver And Black Still Relevant?
The Oakland Raiders are one of the most popular sports franchises in America. Their tradition is unparalleled dating all the way back to the AFL-NFL merger. Founder AL Davis was an innovator, pioneer, and one of the 3 most influential people in professional football history. Their slogans "commitment to excellence" and "just win baby" characterized the culture surrounding the team for decades. Star players like Kenny Stabler, Jack Tatum, Lester Hayes, Cliff Branch, Marcus Allen, Howie Long, and Tim Brown embodied what the Raider mystique was all about.
In 2012 the Oakland Raiders are a shell of their former selves however and if we're being completely honest the Raiders have been living on past greatness for quite some time. They haven't made the playoffs or had a winning record in over a decade and the last time they won the Super Bowl only 4 players on the current roster were 2 years old. Since 2005 The Raiders have had 6 different head coaches and 6 different starting quarterbacks.
To make matters worse the decision making by the front office has been sketchy at best. The Al Davis brain trust drafted JaMarcus Russell #1 overall then later traded first round picks for Richard Seymour and Carson Palmer. Darius Heyward-Bey has yet to prove he's an impact player and Darren McFadden has yet to play a full season.
The silver and black doesn't strike fear in their opponents anymore. In fact you want them on your schedule if you're trying to make the playoffs. Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to discredit anything the Raiders have accomplished, but you have to be old to remember the last time the Raiders were good. Raider Nation remains loyal, but are they realistic? Chances are Oakland will wind up a sub .500 team this year once again and add to the legacy that is going in the wrong direction. If you're talking serious football the Raiders are not in the conversation. What a shame.