We've heard this before. Free Agent player signs with the Raiders, says the incredible response from the fans played into his decision. Sean Smith experienced the power of the Raider Nation this offseason, and saw the eager anticipation and excitement build for him the moment reports revealed he was considering the Raiders as a destination.
"It was great," Smith said of the fan response in an interview on Bay Area radio station 95.7 The Game. "You know how social media is in the sports world. They were on my head even before I signed. Telling me to ‘hurry up and sign already', they had little pictures and memes of guys waiting for hours. It was crazy to me, it was funny."
Most fanbases will claim to have the same passion and reach as any other, but Smith's experience this offseason was, as he described it; "at least 10 (to 1)" ratio compared to other team's fan responses.
The other two teams mentioned as possibilities for Smith to land this offseason were the 49ers and a return to the Chiefs. So, yes, he is saying the Raider Nation response was ten times that of the Niners Empire or Chiefs Kingdom or whatever they choose to call themselves.
Arrowhead is said to be one of the best NFL venues and a couple years ago they claimed to have rivaled the CenturyLink in Seattle for the noise record. But for Smith, playing in Oakland each year was just as impressive. Perhaps more so.
"It was always funny and interesting playing against the Raiders," Smith continued. "[Derek] Carr is such a gunslinger. No matter how tight the coverage is, he's always going to throw it in tight windows and give his receivers a chance to make a play, so you just knew it was going to be a fun game. And then when you mention playing in the Black Hole and having that fanbase behind him. It doesn't matter if he gets a first down or a five yard run, that stadium's gonna be rocking regardless of what the score is or whatever happens. I couldn't imagine what it felt like playing for that team. Imagine if they were actually winning games and things of that nature. I always thought that would be a cool experience."
After so many years viewing the Raiders fans from the outside, Smith is glad to have those rabid fans now cheering for him, instead of against him.
"It's been great. The Raider Nation has welcomed me with open arms. I couldn't be more happy."