In reading many recent articles regarding the future of the AFC West and how things are shaping up in our Division, I began to wonder if the Oakland Raiders being overlooked is a good thing. After getting past my frustration of not being able to find an article about the Raiders that does not mention the Denver Manning’s as well, I was able to smile and realize that I think this may work to our benefit.
Often in years past it has been the team that has flown under the radar that made some of the loudest noise in preseason and also the Super bowl. Cases in point- look at the Giants of last year, as well as the 49ers, Bengals etc. The recurring theme I see in these teams is the lack of faith from the media market coupled with scrutiny on all sides of the ball from rookie QBs to questionable defenses to coaches constantly on the “hot seat”.
Categorically the Oakland Raiders fall right into scrutiny from the media in such areas as questionable Defensive scheme, positional depth, aging quarterback prone to interceptions… the list goes on and on. The fact of the matter is that EVERY team going into a season has questionable variables that will not be answered until the season is well underway. In this regard we are no different from any other team on a broad scale.
ESPN has dedicated an entire week of coverage for the Donkeys training camp based completely on the new found anointment of Peyton Manning being the second coming of Christ. Norv Turner is on the hot seat, San Diego’s “window is closing”. Phillip Rivers is given a pass for a shitty season because his “defense was lackluster” and he had to compensate by throwing pick sixes repeatedly. KC has a new coach and suffered catastrophic injury in 2011- but boy they sure played great game against GB and those players sure love playing hard for Romeo don’t they? So let’s give them a media pass too. But where is Oakland in all of this? Penalties, penalties, penalties, penalties is all they can say.
While there is a lot of truth in the reporting of the self destruction of the Raiders last year, I feel that there is not a lot of truth being reported on the likelihood and probability that the Raiders are a viable contender for the AFC west title, let alone a run at the Super Bowl. I have never seen penalty yards be categorically broken down with such repetitive minutia in my life. In short, I am hard pressed to find a good article about the future of this Franchise that is not overshadowed by the already appointed king of the Division Peyton Manning, who has not even taken a snap since his surgery.
How is this good thing? Well for one, I don’t give a shit what ESPN or any other major sports reporting agency has to say about my team. Unless you are giving me a contract update or an injury report its pretty much going in one ear and out the other because your credibility for reporting unbiased NEWS is totally shot.
With all of the focus on the other three teams in the AFC West (particularly the Denver Manning’s), I see an opportunity for Oakland to slip in the back door, execute the ultimate upset and slip back out again without even the courtesy of a reach-around. I mean let’s be realistic, if it weren’t for the Donkeys new personnel acquisitions, all the ACF West news (as little as gets airtime) would be focused on the miraculous rebound year Phillip rivers is going to have and the “window closing” for him to get his ring. What is forgotten in all of these scenarios, is the sleeping giant in the black hole.
It’s a new era in Oakland. There is more drastic change and optimism in the Raider Nation than we have ever seen. There is a focus on the future now instead of a focus on the moment. And with the spotlight completely off of this franchise, don’t be surprised if the giant awakens in week 17 for a total upset shocker and you are hearing ESPN say things like-I never thought I’d say this but the Raiders have dominated this Division and are sitting poised to take the AFC west. Again, back to reality- It will probably be something more like-I know Oakland has squeaked in but if Manning hadn’t gotten hurt…If Rivers had more protection..If Romeo did a better job. In the end, the Raiders don’t need credit or validation from slanted monkeys on TV, all we need is to “just win baby”.