I asked my love to give me shelter
And all she offered me was dreams -- Yes, Drama, 1980
We are the diaspora Raider fans. Torn from our ghetto-homeland of Oakland for not the first but second time, we seek sustenance from a casino capitol that was not long ago shunned by the Amish as a potential NFL franchise. We yearn for our love of memory to shelter us with a feeling we once experienced from Daryle Lamonica, George Blanda, Ken Stabler, and Jim Plunkett. We just knew the Raiders were going to find a way to win. And when they didn't, we adopted Bobby Layne's aphorism: Time just ran out on us.
We are old now, and that saying--time just ran out on us--has taken on a new meaning. All we have left are our dreams. Yet some things never change, and opening day is one of them.
Coming into Allegiant Stadium tonight is one of the best young quarterbacks in the NFL. The only problem is that he doesn't wear Silver and Black. He wears purple, black and gold--and his name is Lamar Jackson.
Forget that silly stat about the Baltimore Ravens’ success on opening day over the last five years. Lamar Jackson has only been a starting quarterback for two seasons. And during that time on opening day--both Baltimore Ravens' victories--the numbers put up by Mr. Jackson are scary:
Lamar Jackson (2019 - 2020):
2019: 17/20 324 yards 5 TDs (at Miami Dolphins) 59 team points.
2020: 20/25 275 yards 3 TDs (Cleveland Browns) 38 team points.
TOTAL: 37/45 599 yards 8 TDs.
Half of Total: 19/23 300 yards 4 TDs.
So what of Lamar Jackson's better half, otherwise known as Raiders' Derek Carr? The numbers are less than those of Action-Jackson, but the two games--both Raider victories--are impressive nonetheless:
Derek Carr (2019 - 2020):
2019: 22/26 259 yards 1 TD (at Denver Broncos) 24 team points.
2020: 20/25 239 yards 1 TD (at Carolina Panthers) 34 team points.
TOTAL: 42/51 498 yards 2 TDs.
Half of Total: 21/26 249 yards 1 TD.
Look, Lamar Jackson is not going to throw four touchdown passes against the Las Vegas Raiders, is he? If so, it's going to be a long night for Raider fans. Let's dream that one of those passes is intercepted--and that Derek Carr puts in a flawless, understated performance in a Raider win.
Las Vegas Raiders 28, Baltimore Ravens 24.
We are the old, understated, diaspora Raider fans. It is our lot in life to follow the Silver and Black until the franchise moves on to become the Anchorage Raiders. We hold to the high-water mark of January 26, 2003--otherwise known as Super Bowl XXXVII. We hope to stay out of jail. We hope the Raiders change their name to "Lovers," and that the logo becomes a silhouette of an Oakland Raiderette in flagrante delicto with Al LoCasale. We hope for at least a first-round Silver-and-Black playoff win in January, 2022. And we hold true to rage and rail against racism and injustice--as well as any and all Raider opponents.
Until our time just runs out on us.
Author, Football’s Blackest Hole