I am not one for playing into the whole "Everyone's out to get the Raiders" thing. Although I do realize there are things like East Coast bias and things of that nature. But now and then it just becomes hard to explain.
For instance, as part of ESPN's coverage of the Super Bowl, they put together a little montage on Monday to kick off their week of Super Bowl coverage. Its purpose being to celebrate the kinship between the city of New Orleans and the Super Bowl.
The city has hosted a total of nine Super Bowls and six since the Superdome was built. Those played in the Superdome were Super Bowls XII in 1978, XV in 1981, XX in 1986, XXIV in 1990, XXXI in 1997, and XXXVI in 2002.
The Super Bowl/New Orleans tribute montage was written by longtime Sports Illustrated and ESPN sportswriter and on camera personality, Rick Reilly. Here is how it went:
It starts with some images and sounds of New Orleans to set the tone. Then narrator Brandford Marsalis begins speaking.
"If the city of New Orleans wasn't invented for the Super Bowl, then why did they divide it into four quarters?" he says, as they show an image of the Patriots kicking off in Super Bowl XXXVI against the Rams.
"Why does the stadium have it in the name? Why would a streetcar (Desire) describe what's in the players' hearts?" As they show and image of Packers' cornerback Craig Newsome coming out for pregame introductions before Super Bowl XXXI against the Patriots. This covers the past two Super Bowls there.
"A Super Bowl in New Orleans is like a New Orleans supper - it serves up vintage ‘Starbachs'," which is a reference to Cowboys quarterback, Roger Staubach, as they show his image. That was Super Bowl XII which was the first one played in the Superdome.
He continues with "cups of hot Joe," referencing Joe Montana and showing an image of him from Super Bowl XXIV versus the Broncos.
"Favre's flambé," which of course is Brett Favre and their second reference and image from Super Bowl XXXI.
"and for dessert, a little Sweetness." Referring to "Sweetness" himself, Walter Payton, from Super Bowl XX pitting the Bears against the Patriots. (Man, how is it the Patriots play in so many Super Bowls in New Orleans?)
Then they finish it off with this statement "If you win a Super Bowl in New Orleans, gon' be big but it's never gon' be easy." It begins with Terry Bradshaw jogging into the tunnel raising one index finger after winning Super Bowl IX. That Super Bowl wasn't even played in the Superdome. It was played at Tulane Stadium in 1972 - three years before the Superdome was to be built.
Then yet another image from the Packers win in Super Bowl XXXI showing Reggie White celebrating among the confetti. And then another of the Patriots in Super Bowl XXXVI with Adam Vinatieri kicking the game winning field goal and closing it out with the Patriots players running up the field celebrating.
So, that's a total of five Superdome Super Bowls which means there was just one that received no mention or image whatsoever - the Raiders win over the Eagles in Super Bowl XV.
That's quite an oversight. It isn't like there was SO much footage they had to make a sacrifice. They showed three images from Super Bowl XXXI and two from Super Bowl XXXVI. And yet, there was just no room for a Rod Martin interception (he had three of them), Jim Plunkett bomb, Kenny King Super Bowl record 80-yard catch and run, or one of Cliff Branch's two touchdown catches? Nothing?
Is it Rick Reilly's doing? He is from Boulder Colorado and wrote for the Denver Post early in his career. Then he went on to write for the Los Angeles Times for three years while the Raiders were in LA. And according to this article after Al Davis' death in October of 2011, Reilly didn't care for Al Davis at all. Saying he was "Utterly single-minded, he was a selfish egocentric who only liked you if you could help him. Mostly, Davis had all the charm of C. Montgomery Burns." while knocking down every positive thing anyone had to say of Davis following his passing.
But even still, there were several images which had nothing to do with the words Reilly wrote. The Raiders could have appeared if even for an instant in any of them.
They did a montage like this each day this week. In the montage the following day, Terry Bradshaw's "Legend" is made, Jim McMahan was born a "rebel", Refrigerator Perry makes "fiction" a reality, Tom Brady is a "prince" who is "crowned" and Mike Ditka and Mike Holmgren are "on top of the world." This time we see the first hint of Raiders. They show Al Davis accepting the trophy for Super Bowl XV while Marsalis says "Where scoundrels can be kings." So, a mention albeit not exactly a positive one and right on par with Reilly's opinion of Al Davis.
The following montage was dedicated to some crazy or acrobatic plays either in the Super Bowl or en route to one. The Raiders were absent from that one as well which I suppose is somewhat understandable.
Thursday's version was devoted to quarterbacks. This one Reilly's words spoke of New Orleans being where Terry Bradshaw won his first Super Bowl, Joe Montana won his last, Brett Favre won his only, and Tom Brady started his "opus". No mention of two-time Super Bowl winning QB Jim Plunkett. Although, he is shown for a moment. That's something, right?
ESPN doesn't avoid the game altogether. When fellow ESPN analyst Ron Jaworski -- the losing quarterback for the Eagles in Super Bowl XV -- was on set the other day, they talked about it. Then again, the only highlight they showed from the game was Jaworski's lone TD pass. None of his three interceptions. And then Trey Wingo made sure he pointed out Jaworski had more passing yards in the game than Plunkett (who threw three TD passes and won the MVP).
All you can do is shake your head and chuckle. They have all this time to talk about the games of the past and somehow they find a way to dance around the Raiders completely. Just pretend they were a blip in a dark time in NFL history.