While those putting together power rankings may not find any value in a competitive loss like the Raiders had last Sunday against the Chiefs, the fans clearly do.
After the Raiders’ win over the Cardinals in week 11, we put out a poll asking if at this point in the Raiders’ lost season they would rather see this team pull out an ugly win over a bad team or show promise in a hard-fought loss to a good team. The results of that poll show the fans overwhelmingly preferred a competitive loss to a good team by a 2-1 ratio.
As it happens, we got to see both of those things within a three week span. Two weeks after that ugly win over the then 1-win Cardinals, the Raiders had one of their best looking games in a loss to the then 9-2 Chiefs.
With that win over the Cardinals, the weekly fan confidence poll went up six points to 19%. But with the loss to the Chiefs, it rose ten points from the previous week to hit 36%.
This is the highest jump up the confidence poll has seen all season long and it’s the highest mark since following their week four overtime victory over the Browns when it was at 38%.
Some may scoff at the idea of moral victories or be angered that fans would find more confidence in a loss than a win, but I can certainly see the logic. Wins are great, and the players need to experience it. However, this team isn’t fighting for anything but pride at this point. They are also fighting for their careers, whether that’s in Oakland or elsewhere. In that vein, putting a quality product on the field is most important, whether that results in a win or not.
Based on the fan poll results, the fans are taking the long view on this as well.