Why I bleed silver and black

Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

I see all these posts about being a Raider Fan so I decided to post my own.

Around 1987 maybe earlier I got my first taste of the pro game. A guy my mom was dating (a die hard Pats fan well before Belichick) introduced me to game. Being the curious kid I was, I popped in old VHS made by Sports illustrated commemorating past Superbowl champs. I remember getting goosebumps when I first heard "the autumn wind". From that point forward I took an interest in Raiders. The Bo Jackson/Marcus Allen/Tim Brown Raider teams of the early late 80s early 90s won me over. I had a portion of my Senior HS pics done up in Bo Jackson's number 34. I did my senior year English paper on the book "Bo Knows". I was pretty obsessed with the team and the culture it created. The defeat in the 91 AFC Championship game that Raiders lost 51-3 remains my most crushing defeat as a sports fan. Also the reason why the Bills are my most hated NFL team. The Tampa loss in 2002 and snow job rank up there.

I came at cross roads with the team around 2009. When the team picked DHB followed by Mitchell in the draft along with the constant losing, I absolutely lost it. The gut check forced me to contemplate switching teams. However, no matter how terrible the team played it didn't feel right being anything but a Raiders fan. The conclusion I came to was: pro football and the Raiders are inseparable for me. Can't have one without the other. Any fan that endured the post Gruden, Trask/aged Davis era is a true fan in my book. It was tough to watch the team you love run so poorly while the iconic godfather of the team was dying before our eyes. You knew what was happening but didn't want to admit it.

The glorious future of our beloved team. I see the team in line for 10-15 year run with its current core/cap situation. We have a solid GM with a nose for talent, an owner that who is fully invested in the team AND doesn't meddle. A solid coaching staff who can develop talent. The new stadium is on the horizon. Our current team is built around two of the hardest pieces to fill: A franchise QB and a dominate pass rusher. The team and its brand have grown over the years even when the on the field product didn't live up to expectations. The Raiders are one of those 5-6 teams that no matter what market you go to there are fans. Go Raiders!

Fascinating fact that fate marked me as a Raider fan: The Battle Hymn of the Raider Nation: The Autumn wind, was narrated in 1974 the year I was born.