The Autumn Wind: Understanding the Raiders Mystique

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The Autumn Wind: Understanding the Raiders Mystique

Back in 1974, a poem written by NFL Films' Steve Sabol would become the inspiration of a Nation.

When Oakland Raiders' owner Al Davis first heard "The Autumn Wind," he was completely mesmerized.

It epitomized everything the Silver and Black stand for.

After adding some battle music, recruiting the legendary voice of John Facenda to recite the poem, and Oakland fans borrowing part of a name from a classic Civil War song and voila "The Battle Hymn of the Raider Nation" was born.

"The Autumn Wind is a pirate
Blustering in from sea
With a rollicking song he sweeps along
Swaggering boisterously
His face is weather beaten
He wears a hooded sash
With his silver hat about his head
And a bristling black mustache
He growls as he storms the country
A villain big and bold
And the trees all shake and quiver and quake
As he robs them of their gold
The Autumn wind is a Raider
Pillaging just for fun
He'll knock you around and upside down
And laugh when he's conquered and won."

I agree with Davis that the "Battle Hymn of the Raider Nation" truly symbolizes the Raiders.

In almost every stanza of the poem, I can see many images of Raiders past.
The first four stanzas make me think of hot shot running back Marcus Allen sweeping through the Washington Redskins' defense in Super Bowl XVIII on his way to a 74-yard touchdown, the longest run in the big game's history.

Then he swaggers boisterously back to the sideline as the Los Angeles Raiders dominate the Washington Redskins 38-9.

Then images of the intimidating and always angry Lyle Alzado (R.I.P.) come to my mind as I read the next four stanzas, his bristling black mustache perfectly aligned with the rest of his massive beard.

Then scenes of Bill Romanowski growling at the AFC Championship on Jan. 19, 2003 come to me in the next two stanzas, his villainous reputation making the opposing Tennessee Titans shake and quiver and quake as he arrives at the point of attack.

Rod Martin suddenly comes to mind when I read the following stanza as he robs Ron Jaworski three times in the Oakland Raiders' 27-10 Super Bowl XV victory over Dick Vermeil's Philadelphia Eagles.

As I read the next three stanzas, images of Raider players committing "cheap penalties" immediately come to mind as "Commitment to Excellence" borders with "Cheat to Win."

Finally in the last stanza, I see the everlasting image of John Madden being carried off the field at the Rose Bowl in absolute triumph as the Oakland Raiders conquered Fran Tarkenton and the Minnesota Vikings 32-10 in Super Bowl XI.

As a football fan, you can't help but be enamored with the grand mystique of the Raiders.

The following slides are my favorite San Francisco 49ers turned Los Angeles/Oakland Raiders.

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