Some people call us crazy.
Others refer to us as rowdy. Some call us the most violent, vicious fans in sports. Some say that we are far too passionate about our football team.
Whatever you want to call us, whatever label you wish to put on us, one thing will always remain true about us. We will always be the Raider Nation, and we will always be there to provide support for our beloved Raiders, win, lose, or tie.
Are we crazy? Yes. Are we rowdy and can our cheering get out of hand? Yes. Do we, from time to time, spend an ungodly amount of money on team merchandise? Yes.
But will we ever, under any circumstances, desert our team? Never.
Lately, our loyalty has been tested and pushed to the limits. Our once proud franchise has suffered through one of the worst six-year periods in sports history. The glory of the Oakland Raiders has now been reduced to a 24-72 record over these last few seasons.
We have been forced to endure the pain of watching our team get kicked around and manhandled by teams we once dominated. Our owner, at times, seems more concerned with flaunting and showing off his omnipotent power than actually with rebuilding the team.
Every Raider hater out there takes advantage of our losing trend and ridicules and mocks us more than ever before, bombarding us with every insult they can possibly conjure.
We are forced to watch every year as a lucky team is awarded the Lombardi Trophy—the one piece of metal which has helped define who the Raiders are, the trophy which has always been rightfully ours, the thing that we used to be able to enjoy and relish with pride.
Yet, despite all of our tribulations and suffering, we remain loyal to the Silver and Black.
While other fans, when put in our position, wore paper bags over their heads and jumped on the bandwagons of other teams, we proudly sported our Raider gear every Sunday. If anyone ever asked which team we followed, we proudly responded with, "The Oakland Raiders."
When the Chargers had to endure their awful years, their stadium would be constantly invaded by the opposing fans every Sunday. And whenever people in Texas found out their Cowboys weren't the Super Bowl champions, all of the Cowboy gear went in the trash.
But even after watching painful defeat after painful defeat, you still see Gorilla Rilla, Violator, Senor Raiderman, Voodoo Man, and the rest of the Raider Nation filling the seats at McAfee Coliseum every Sunday, decked out in their costumes and face paint, still terrorizing anyone rooting against the Silver and Black.
Are we frustrated with our team's poor play recently? Absolutely. Do we, at times, become infuriated with Al Davis? Definitely. But will we ever back down from any team in the league and will we ever claim another team besides the Silver and Black? Only on the day the Chargers finally admit they are nothing without a Super Bowl trophy.
Yet many people still question the loyalty of the Raider Nation. I seriously doubt many other teams could sell out six of their eight home games during a 2-14 season.
Without a doubt, it's never easy to keep that Raider sticker up on your car or wear your black jersey after you just witnessed your team take a 41-14 beat down from your archrival on Monday Night Football.
But we still do it.
It's because we know no other team. It's because no Raider fan would ever be able to live with him/herself if they were to ever don the jersey of another NFL team.
So go ahead, Raider haters. Criticize us for the way we dress and the ways in which we cheer on our team. Call us violent, rowdy, and unruly. Keep on using those cliché stereotypes about us that you've always been using. Tell us that our Super Bowl rings have no significance because they were won in the 80s.
You can never weaken the Raider Nation. Our passion for our team is stronger than that of any other NFL fanbase that you will ever find.
The fire that burns inside every Silver and Black fan will continue to burn inside each and every one of us until the day we depart from this earth. And that fire will never be extinguished by any Raider hater insult, or any losing season, or an Al Davis-made decision.
We are proud to be Raiders, and we are proud of our rich history and numerous accomplishments. All of the other teams bash and criticize us for our rough ways. But at the end of the day, every NFL owner would love for their team to have a fanbase like the Raider Nation.
I know they would.
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