The 1976 AFC Conference Championship win over the Steelers. The ‘Sea of Hands’ playoff win over the Dolphins. The 1976 AFC Division playoff win over the Patriots to begin their first Super Bowl run. ‘The Heidi Bowl’ win over the Jets. The Wildcard win over the Oilers in 1980. AFC Championship win over the Titans in 2002.
Those are just a few of the great Raiders moments that happened on the Oakland Coliseum field in its 53-year history. And tonight could be the last game the Raiders ever play there.
At least that’s how this game is being approached.
With the impending move to Las Vegas in 2020, we knew the Raiders’ time in Oakland was numbered. But up until recently, we thought that number was much bigger.
What changed everything was the City of Oakland filing an antitrust lawsuit against the Raiders and the NFL which prompted Mark Davis to threaten to play the 2019 season elsewhere. Where exactly is not yet known. It could even be Oakland. But it may not as well. And if it isn’t Oakland, tonight will be the last hurrah for the Raiders in the old Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. A premature ending to a long history of the Raiders in the facility and in the city of Oakland.
“I try not to speculate on things,” Head Coach Jon Gruden said of where the Raiders will play next season. “There has been a lot of things that happened this year. You can’t control a lot of it. You just have to hope that that is not the case and hope that it works out. If it is the last game, it will certainly be a sad day.”
It will indeed be a sad day. It’s bad enough that a team is being taken away from this great city and their glorious and loyal fans. It only rubs salt in the wound to then rip the team away a year early.
In light of this, tonight will be a bittersweet event. The fans will come out in droves just in case this is their last opportunity to see the team play in the venue they have played 40 of the team’s 59 seasons in existence.
Thus far there has been no announcements of the team doing anything special for the fans tonight, despite suggestions that they do something...anything...to show they appreciate them continuing to show up an support team even knowing the team is leaving.
Earlier this week former Raiders CEO Amy Trask had a few interesting suggestions, including hiring some local musicians such as MC Hammer to perform in the parking lot before the game. But again, no word on if the team has any plans for such a thing.
Everyone is hoping this is just a false alarm and the team will play out its original plan to stay in Oakland thru the 2019 season until their new stadium is ready in Las Vegas. But the fans can’t take that chance. They have to live today like it’s their last. Because it just might be...for their beloved Raiders in Oakland.
Merry Christmas, everyone.