It was said long ago that the Dallas Cowboys were "America's Team". They were supposed to represent what the nation wanted in a football organization, but they lacked the great wins to justify their title.
Meanwhile, the Oakland Raiders could have been considered "America's Winningest Team", thanks to the coaching of the legendary John Madden. And this hero of the Silver and Black didn't call it quits when his coaching days were over; instead, he became a household name as a successful NFL TV analyst.
Madden is not the only Raider alumni to have retained popularity. Oakland was the playing home of great players Howie Long and the late Gene Upshaw, who became the head of the NFL Player's Union and made NFL free agency what it is today.
When Upshaw died, his initials were embroidered on every NFL player's jersey; therefore, the Raiders were represented in every game.
At this point you may be asking, "How does this make the Raiders 'America's Team'?"
This came up when I was chatting with a Cowboy fan. He was praising his team, as most Dallas faithful do. I explained it to him this way:
The Raiders have always been on top, one way or another. They are known as the team with the greatest fan base, a group that generates all kinds of revenue from jersey and ticket sales.
Madden put the Raiders into everyone's home when he bought the rights to EA's NFL game and put the Madden name on the yearly software release. So no matter what football team you love, if you love to play Madden, then there's a little Raider in your home.
I guess the new saying in Oakland is true: There is a little Raider in all of us.
The Oakland Raiders are "America's Team" due to their aforementioned fan base and pervasion. I am sure that when Madden passes to Raider heaven, patches with the letters "JM" will be put on every player's uniform.
And no doubt about it, the Madden games will continue to be bought by the many Raider-haters out there and taken into their homes for hours of enjoyment.