In the wake of the devastating victory over the visiting Pittsburgh Steelers, in the hours and days that have followed, fans are still scrambling for answers as to how their team could win this game when defeat seemed certain. After reading some of the heated debates on SB Nation, and observing fan reaction which ran the gamut from stunned and lethargic Walking Dead zombie behavior to super human rage monster World War Z zombie behavior, I decided to get to the bottom of just what the hell went right for this team and to put this fan base at ease once and for all. Like any good detective I decided to conduct my search at places that have a history of devastating victories and to mix it up I selected places that have only recently experienced the pain of winning.
My search for answers started in New England where I was fortunate to catch up with Pats Pulpit blogger Blair A. Witch. She was initially reluctant to discuss some of the more painful memories of victories but after promising to go camping with her, she opened up.
Me: "Your fan base has a history of dealing with victories, how do you cope? How is it that all the fans still talk to each other? Dammit, Blair, what is your secret?"
Blair: "You know, Bleed, I'd feel more comfortable talking in the basement of that abandoned farm house, if you wouldn't mind? About that question, you know, after a while it just becomes kind of routine, and we don't really question the victories like we used to. If I actually let you leave here, which I don't plan to, by the way, go home and tell your fellow Silver and Black dudes to get over the victories, to just let them go and not over think them. That's how we handle it."
I got the hell out of there pretty quick and continued my search for answers in a place more familiar and with a more recent history of success. My logic was I needed a case study of a fan base without the recent history of success more similar to our own. My journey took me to Kansas City where I caught up with Arrow Head Pride's Fred E. Krueger.
Fred: "Bleed, please call me Freddie. You want answers, I know, I see it in your dreams. Let me just say this, as a Chiefs fan, I'm telling you, look to your defense for answers, we do." (click click click) "How about a nap, Bleed? You look tired."
Me: "Ya, thanks. I'm leaving now..." (click click click)
Before heading home, I had one Final Destination to complete my journey for answers: Denver. I caught up with Lynn Blair over at Mile High Report, who agreed to speak to me as long as it was in her room and I bound her arms and legs to her bedposts. I thought it was a little kinky, but hey, whatever gets her to open up. I can take one for the team. And, dammit, I still needed answers.
Me: "Lynn, how do the fans here at MHR exorcise the demons of each weeks blowout? It must be hell to win by such a large margin each week. How do you cope, HOW DO YOU DO IT???"
Lynn: "Bleed, first let me clear my throat so that I can explain it to you." (I still have no idea what that green shit was that she spit out. I still can't get the stains out of my favorite Raiders shirt! Thank God I was wearing my black one!)
Lynn: "Sorry about the shirt. Ok, about dealing with victories. You have to understand our perspective here in Denver. We have no idea how long this will last. Most fans you talk to here don't think we have to deal with the victories for much longer, let alone the blow outs. I think knowing the misery of victory will end sooner rather than later gets us through the night. I know it gets me through the night, especially when I don't have my trusty cross with me. By the way, wanna see what I can do with this thing...?"
Me: "Uh, I think I got what I came for, thanks..." (Me yelling this while sprinting down the hallway and Lynn screaming for me to untie her.)
It was a scary journey, to be sure, but I think I found some answers. With time and patience (with each other) I think we can all overcome our own anxieties about this renewed experience of victory. But I think the key is that we cannot do it alone. We must take this journey together.
Ok, on to the poll. I think it's clear who most fans think saved the day last Sunday. It's the defense. And a much improved and, dare I say, over achieving defense? Which defensive unit at the near midpoint of this season is most improved in your opinion? And if you don't think you can break it out that way, we have a selection for that.
Have a Happy and Safe Halloween, Raider Nation!