So...the Raiders had a tough loss today. There will be many in Raider Nation that will scrutinize and analyze the coaches, the players, the refs, playcalling and more. You know what? Who gives a fuck about stats and power rankings? Well, not me. Not today anyway. I had the pleasure of watching a great hard fought game.
I was born in 1969. My earliest memory was sitting on my father's lap - still too young to even know what football was - and him telling me what the Raiders were all about. I learned later that "Commitment to Excellence" wasn't just a motto, it was an expectation. In the years that followed, he and I watched some of the greats that I suspect many people here on this site never had the opportunity to see play this game that I love. Haynes and Hayes, one of the best secondary ever assembled, Plunket and Marcus, Long and Matuzak. Dave Casper and The Snake. Ray Guy could arguably be the best punter ever. There were so many idols I had in my childhood, other than my father, who were Raider players. No...not players. They were esteemed members. They were members of an organization that came to fruition with the emergence of the late, great Mr. Al Davis. I have watched, rooted, cried and once even got into a physical altercation (which I won or lost depending on who you talk to) for the Raiders. I have seen the good, the bad and all the in-between. This drought of a dozen years is devastating for all loyal fans as we watch each week hoping that this will be different, that we will see a glimmer of the past glory and a new regime that buys into the commitment to excellence.
Today, I saw a freaking good game. Yeah, the Olines sucked, and you could cast blame at Pryor or the coaching staff...whatever. I watched a good game that two teams fought hard to win. This game against the Giants is the best game I have seen the Raiders play all year and for that matter the last several years. I saw a team with balance, with heart, and a never say die attitude. This game is what I have been waiting to see. I actually think this is a game that would have made Mr. Davis proud. Yeah, Raiders lost. And yep, they could have won. And oh hell yeah there were a lot of mistakes. But I saw 4 quarters of fighting today. And that gives me hope, and that is why I am a Raider fan. This drought is nearly over.
So call me a Homer. I don't care. I have been called worse just less than an hour ago. But know this. I have seen it all before. All I can say is just believe.