I spent a lot of time sleeping over at my Aunt's house when I was a kid and my cousin Matt, the same Matt who rode into Bagdhad flying a Raider Flag off of his vehicle, had an Oakland Raider banner hanging in his room. It was one of those white ones with the black skull on it, circa 1976. For some reason, that image, with all of it's promises of overseas plunder, has been in my mind eversince.
Being born in and living in the East Bay; Castro Valley, Hayward, Livermore and Oakland, the Oakland Raiders were the image of greatness from 1972 - 1980.
I'd met Marv Hubbard and every time, as a kid, you'd hear about the Raiders or watch a game you associated it to yourself and your Community.
At the end of 1980 I then found myself in Forty Niner Territory when I moved to San Mateo to live my Uncle Rick and Aunt Junko. This became quite a shock when we sat down to watch the Playoff game between the Oakland Raiders and Cleveland Brown in 1981
I had watched football before I lived with my Uncle Rick, but, I had not watched sports as I do now until I moved in with him.
If there was any kind of sporting event on, in between chanting, it was on the televison or radio and we'd be talking about it..
On his radio I listened to Billy Martin's Oakland A's team, behind Mike Norris, move into the playoffs in 1980.
I also listened to that team lose to Billy's Yankees on that radio.
And, for some reason, I can still see Cliff Johnson ducking and falling out of the box against a mean curve that was called a strike, then laughing so hard it was difficult for him to get back in the box.
But, for some reason, the game that sticks out the most to me was a game played in the freezing confines of Paul Brown Stadium.
As a Niner fan, my Uncle could not root for the Raiders, so he was cheering for the Browns and a young QB named Brian Sipe.
On the schoolyards of Oakland that I'd come from, when you were throwing the ball, you were Jim Plunkett and when you were catching it, you were Cliff Branch and every once in a while a young Lester Hayes would come in and steal the ball. I know that I was watching all of those players, but, the only tangible things that I recall are the way that the Cleveland Brown Helmets looked against the snow and my Uncle telling me about the greatness of Brian Sipe.
I can still recall seeing the breath of the players. Through the eyes of an eight year old, it was a mystery game. A game being played in SNOW!!! I had just realized that football is a game that cannot be called due to weather. This sports was not like baseball, where a drizzle would knock out our Little League games, this was FOOTBALL!!!
When I thought about what I'd write today, this was the first thing that cam to my mind. What do you remember about that game or what was the first Raider Game that you can remember watching? Who got you into football?