This is my first fanpost, and it's coming at a time when I think the Raider Nation needs a little encouragement, and a quick reminder of what we are and where we come from.
We are not the 49ers. Never have been, never will be. Raiders fans who aren't from the Bay Area likely won't understand the depth of this statement. The 49ers, like the overpriced, pretentious city they come from, have always been golden boys. I have never been a golden boy, so when the inevitable choice of "Raiders or Niners" came up, my choice was clear.
To be a Raider fan is to a acknowledge that the golden boys of the world aren't worth the paper that they're printed on. They may win- of course they do, they're adored and accepted by the powers that be. To be a Raider fan is to accept that we are not going to be adored and accepted. It is a middle finger to the rest of the league and to society at large. It is an acceptance of an underground mentality. Chuck Noll called it a "criminal element," which is wrong. We are taxpayers, we are proud fathers. But we're underground and have no reason to be otherwise.
Al Davis was the symbol of this mentality. We are Committed to Excellence DESPITE the fact that we will be called losers. And idiots. And felons, and thugs. (And I'll bet that 90% of the time the "felon" or "thug" statement is racially motivated. Call them out on it.) Al's flame burns in the Coliseum, a stadium widely acknowledged to be the worst in football. It's considered the worst by people who like the Niners- they go to their stadium to be seen and to play carnival games or whatever the hell they do. Like Benjamin Christensen said, "The Coliseum is a battlefield, not an amusement park."
Stay strong, stay poised. It's not going to get any easier for us. However, there's a bright light on the horizon. We're going to come back. Al's flame is burning, and will burn forever. Like Al, we are Raiders fans- being hated comes with the territory.