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Oakland Raider News 10-01-07: First Place For The First Time Since 2004

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For the first time since the 2004 team sat at 2-1 on September 26th of 2004, the Oakland Raiders are in First Place in the AFC West.

In fact, this is the first time since 2002 that the Raiders have been in first place in the AFC West after the third week of the season.

It has been a long wait Raider Nation.

In those 4 LONG seasons we have seen many players, coaches and fans come and go.

Gone are, Bill Callahan (Who is currently ruining the Nebraska Cornhuskers), Norv Turner (Who is currently ruining then San Diego Chargers) and Art Shell ( Who is in hiding and scheming up the NEXT great offense with Tom Walsh).

In their place is the youngest coach in FOOTBALL HISTORY.

A young coach with a great football pedigree who is proving that he was INDEED Al Davis's first choice to run this team.

A young coach who worked tirelessly through a bout with mono to change the image of a 2-14 team.

A young coach who said that there would be no scholarships and purged the coaching staff as well as the roster to create a competitive environment for his players.

Lane Kiffin and his staff are the number one reason this team is on top of the AFC West on October 1st.

It is fun to look back at some of the names who have departed over the last four years.

Gone are Rich Gannon, Rob Johnson, Tee Martin, Rick Mirer, Tui, "Vodka" Collins, Aaron Brooks, Tim Brown, Jerry Rice, Charlie Garner, Perella, The Woodsons, Coleman, Barton, Romo,  Teyo, Moss and Jolley.

When Rich Gannon went down for the season, and ultimately his career, in 2004, that is when the team completely died.

In fact it seems like 10 years ago that he got slammed into by the Tampa defense. So many faces have changed, and so many losses have piled up that this team was lost until this year.

This year we have two quarterbacks that play with their emotions on their sleeves and each of them have earned the respect of the team.

For the first time since Gannon went down, we have a leader with the football in his hands.

My favorite part of the stinking mess that has been the last 4 years of Raider Football is that the bandwagonners who hitched their carts to the Raider Train in 2000 and bailed after Gannon got hurt against KC in 2004 are gone. And to that I say, Hoo-Ray!!!

The bandwagonners are the ones who would throw pee on old ladies wearing the wrong colors to a game. The bandwagonners are the ones who would start fights in the stands.

If you have been to a game in the last three years you will notice that the fans are passionate about our team, but not throwing batteries at players and opposing team's fans.

October 1st is a day to celebrate, Raider Nation. It has been a long time since we could hold our heads up high and KNOW that we have a solid team that can compete with anyone.

Heck, if San Diego beats Denver and Jacksonville beats KC, we could be all alone in first place by the time we play the Chargers in San Diego!!!

That would be the first time we were in first by ourselves since Barrett Robbins was our center and Tim Brown was our go-to guy.