The Raiders, despite the last decade, have a huge fan base who, in the majority, vividly remember the "Raider style" of football as inspirational, awesome to witness, worthy to be associated with and proud of as a fan regardless of where the team finished or how any single game went into the books. Not just Raider fans appreciate the uniqueness of the Silver & Black menace, the rest of the NFL (until comparatively recent times) acknowledges that the Raiders were unique in their aggressive approach to the game.
This aggressive, nay, belligerent approach to the game was the realized vision of great coaches. Beginning with Al Davis, who created the mold, and continuing with John Madden, Tom Flores, and Jon Gruden, the Raiders distinguished themselves as being the most physical, mercurial, ballsy, and gritty team in the league - hated but respected - win or lose.
The Raiders, despite their recent inability to make playoffs, continue to draw new fans because of their great heritage of hard-boiled gutsy football and the noble and natural desire of human beings to identify and be apart of greatness - in this case, a unique heritage and mystique that makes being a Raider fan exhilarating.
It becomes apparent that it really is about the style in which an NFL team plays the game that determines whether they are just another fungible team or something special - like the courageous, even audacious, physicality and swaggering attitude of Raiders' coaches and players that formed an identifiable corporate entity loved worldwide.
Maybe I'm out of step with the Nation, but I would be happier with the beloved Raiders when they lost games so long as they recapture that beautifully eccentric outlaw style that had nothing of the timidity or ultra-conservatism that is now present.