Although it has been a long decade since the Oakland Raiders have been in the Super Bowl, that doesn't mean that one of the NFL's most passionate fan bases doesn't care about the game.
There has always been a secondary motive for the Raider Nation to watch the Super Bowl when the Raiders don't make it. For example, most Raider fans have rooted to see the Patriots lose (twice) to the New York Giants because of a long-standing bitterness toward the Patriots since the "Tuck Rule" game in 2001.
With Super Bowl XLVII coming up this Sunday between the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers, there are a few ways to determine who to cheer for between the Ravens and 49ers if your mind is still undecided.
As a resident of the Bay Area and a lifelong Raiders fan, I've seen firsthand how large the 49ers bandwagon has grown the last two years. I do know some lifelong 49ers fans who have been there for the ups and downs, and they say that us local Raiders fans should have regional pride.
The 49ers fans will say that the 49ers represent the Bay Area while Baltimore represents a group of people 3,000 miles away.
The regional pride factor may not matter much to the Los Angeles fans remaining from when the Raiders played there.
I've got regional pride, but my regional pride is in Oakland, not San Francisco.
Perhaps the most intense rivalry of the NFL in the 20th century was between the Oakland Raiders and Pittsburgh Steelers.
Why does that matter here?
It matters because one of the most intense rivalries in the modern-day NFL has been between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens.
That hatred of the Steelers is something that the Ravens and Raiders share, and it could make Raider Nation more intrigued to root for the Ravens on Sunday because they share a common enemy.
You may not be aware of this if you live outside the Bay Area, but there is a nasty rivalry between Oakland and San Francisco. After a preseason game in 2011 between the two teams was filled with fan violence, the annual preseason series was cancelled by the NFL.
Whether or not the fights between the fan bases were fueled by the on-field rivalry or fueled by other influences, the violence was still Raiders fans against 49ers fans, and it was so bad that the series was cancelled.
While the Raider Nation may not be best friends with the Baltimore Ravens, especially after the way the Ravens beat the Raiders in the regular season, there is still not nearly as much animosity between the fan bases as between Oakland and San Francisco.
With the Super Bowl, there are usually sub-plots that develop leading up to the big game. This will be the last time we see Ray Lewis play football, and many fans are hoping to see him come out with one more ring.
Another side-story is the rise of Colin Kaepernick. After he replaced Alex Smith in the regular season when Smith suffered a concussion, Kaepernick overcame the calls for Smith to get the job back, and he has led the 49ers to the Super Bowl.
Personally, I will be rooting for the Ravens on Sunday.
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