Fourteen years is a long time. It’s practically a lifetime for some younger fans. It’s the length of a very long NFL career. It’s the length of time since the Raiders made the playoffs. And 17-year Raiders kicker Sebastian Janikowski has suffered through them all in Silver & Black.
“I can’t describe it,” Janikwoski said of how he felt after the Raiders beat the Chargers to clinch a playoff berth. “It feels so special. I’ve waited a long time for that.”
For Janikowski’s sake, at least he was around for three years before that when the Raiders played their best football since the early 80s, going to two AFC Championships and a Super Bowl in that time. Though I’m sure it doesn’t make the long drought since then feel much better.
Other players on this Raiders team have never tasted the playoffs. None have had a longer road than long snapper Jon Condo who has spent 10 seasons in Oakland, heading home every January.
After Condo, the player who has had the longest drought is left tackle Donald Penn. He was signed by the Raiders three seasons ago after spending his first seven NFL seasons in Tampa where the Buccaneers made the playoffs once in 2007 as a rookie and lost his one and only career playoff game.
“I’m overwhelmed,” said the 10-year veteran offensive tackle. “We put in so much work in the off-season, during OTA’s, during training camp and every week. We worked hard. Hard work pays off.”
The man on the opposite side of the Raiders offensive line has also seen a considerable length of time outside the playoffs. Austin Howard is in his 7th season and hasn’t seen the playoffs since his rookie season with the Eagles where he watched from the sidelines as they were ousted in one game by the Packers. In two seasons in New York and in his third season in Oakland, he is headed back to the playoffs as the starting right tackle.
Other veteran Raiders players who have never been to the playoffs include Taiwan Jones (6), Andre Holmes (6), Marquette King (5), David Amerson (4), and Jamize Olawale (4).