My favorite NFL team is the Oakland Raiders. Because when you spend your formative years (ages 6-17) in Arkansas, there’s no mandatory geographic alliance to any particular team. The Raiders were on TV a lot back then, because they were really good. I liked their logo and team colors (what other reason do you need when you’re six?).
And their players were an odd collection of rejects, castoffs and misfits. I could relate to that too.
The Raiders have been pretty darn horrible over the last decade and a half (and that’s putting it nicely). No winning seasons. 10 seasons with 11 or more losses.
But I’ve stuck with them through it all. Because I’m not a quitter… although I’ve certainly been tempted.
This year the Raiders turned the corner and have been good again. They’ve had some great draft choices and made a few smart free agent acquisitions over the past few years, and those moves have paid off. This year they clinched a playoff berth more than a week ago with a win over the San Diego Chargers. First trip to the playoffs since 2002.
Then this past Sunday, playing at home against the Indianapolis Colts, up 33-14 in the 4th quarter, their young team captain/MVP-candidate quarterback Derek Carr was sacked (first time he was touched by the Colts all game) and suffered a broken fibula.
(Carr was one of three NFL players to have a broken fibula on Sunday… bad things happen in threes apparently.) Just like that, the Raiders went from dream season to nightmare, from Super Bowl contender to also-ran.
The Raiders’ defense is pretty suspect, and it’s doubtful they would’ve gone all the way this year. But the fickle finger of fate has given Raider fans the finger once again. The autumn wind is a pirate, but apparently God is a Patriots fan.