The big news today is the ending of the world. The Mayans predicted it thousands of years ago when they chiseled up their handy little calendar. And the day they ran out of room on that tablet is today. What better way to go out than reminiscing of my favorite Raiders memory?
My favorite Raiders memory came back in the year 2000. Jon Gruden was the coach at that time and what the Raider decided to do was put on what they called "Community Day". It was rather like what we now know as the Raider Nation Celebration. Only this happened in Napa where the Raiders hold training camp.
For community day, fans could purchase tickets in advance for $10, the proceeds of which would go to the Boys and Girls Club of America. Then the Raiders put on a little show, with Gruden himself as the Master of Ceremonies.
He introduced the players by group and they would come out to the middle of the field. The surprise on this day was the return of Steve Wisniewski. He had been contemplating retirement and Gruden saved the news of his return for this moment. The fans went crazy knowing Wiz was going to be back. He would end up making the Pro Bowl that season - his first in three years.
This was the rookie seasons of Shane Lechler and Sebastian Janikowski so we all stood and watched as Janikowski nailed 60 yarders and Lechler skied punts. The Lechler punts prompted ‘ooh's' and ‘aah's' from the crowd as if we were watching a fireworks display.
Then after the show, the players lined up around the sidelines and fans could come out and get the autographs of some of the players. I chose the line for Tim Brown as he was my favorite Raider of all time. I had Tim Brown sign his only Wheaties box which has him, Jerry Rice, who would join the team the folliwng year, and Andre Reed on the cover. It sits on my shelf to this day.
I also for the first time got to meet the likes of Janikowski, Greg Biekert, James Jett, Tory James, Jon Ritchie, and Eric Metcalf.
Here are some favorite memories from S&BP staff:
Marcus Allen Krause
My favorite memory from the Raiders happened when I was only 7 years old; back in 1993. It was a wildcard playoff game against the Denver Broncos. I remember watching the final game of the regular season when the Raiders won the division against the Broncos and then the two teams had to play again the very next week in the playoffs. That last game of the regular season was intense and the Raiders barely won so I was crazy nervous. I wanted them to play anybody but the Broncos.
Then the game was played and I remember rooting for Jeff Hostetler at QB and I was not disappointed. I can remember jumping and screaming like a banshee with long TD's to Timmy and James Jett but it was still back and forth throughout the first half. The second half the Raiders would pull away and I smiled all week until they lost the next week to those dang Buffalo Bills!
There are so many to choose from, but I guess mine would have to be the entire SB18 with all of the great plays and all of the that domination. From all of the great runs by Marcus Allen and catches by Cliff Branch to the great pressure by the defensive line and the shutdown coverage by Hayes and Haynes.
The moments were great because it was still when football was football and players cared more for the game than for the money as evidenced by the tears of joy streaming from Lyle Alzado's face. The greatness of that day ended superbly by Al Davis' great "Just Win Baby" speech.
My favorite Raiders memory is actually one that I don't recall personally because I was too young to remember it. Instead, this story comes second-hand from my father.
I was born in the early morning of January 30, 1983, the same day John Riggins and the Washington Redskins would defeat the Miami Dolphins in Super Bowl VXII. My father, as a lifelong Raiders fan, began my indoctrination into the Raider Nation very early on. When the Raiders made the playoffs after the 1983-84 season, he taught me to make the ‘Touchdown' signal whenever he said "Touchdown Raiders!" Wouldn't you know it, the Raiders made the Super Bowl, and had to face the team that had won on the day of my birth.
Unfortunately, it turned out I was too sick to watch Super Bowl VXIII live, so my Dad taped the game on his Beta-Max. Later in the week, and just before my 1st birthday, we re-watched the game and I got to make the "Touchdown Raiders" signal 5 times thanks to Jim Plunkett, Cliff Branch, Derrick Johnson, Jack Squirek, and of course - Marcus Allen. Thanks Dad for making me a Raiders fan.
Feel free to share your favorite sports memory in the comment box. There are only a few more hours left for this world so why not spend it reminiscing? Make it count.