Fans of good teams probably gather and talk about how awesome this player or that coach is. They probably have a full blown e-Celebration after every victory. They talk about it all week long and get themselves psyched for the next game. Typical fan stuff. Simple.
But the Oakland Raider fan's existence is much more complicated. Especially on the internet where people are dropping in from all over the world. Oh yeah, Raiders fans are everywhere. He or she must not only consider the state of the team and what to do about it, but also the intrigue and mystery that exists within the Raider Organization.
This can be a mildly entertaining, but also consciousness-expanding exercise. Entertaining because...well, maybe addictive is the better word here. Consciousness-expanding for sure, though because nothing is simple in Raiderland.
For example, in Broncoland, maybe they argue Orton vs. Simms or Orton vs. Cutler to amuse themselves. But not here. Nope. It's got to be a full on 3 way battle...Russell, Gradkowski, Frye. Nothing else will do. A 2-sided argument is simply not compelling enough.
Likewise, in Chargerland, maybe they debate Schottenheimer vs. Turner. But here in Raiderland, you can take your pick between Shell, Shanahan, Gruden, Kiffin, Cable, etc. or maybe even go all the way back to the Archbishop of Football, Mr. Madden.
But all of that is really the simple part. You hang around a Raider forum long enough, and pretty soon you're chasing the white rabbit...Russell to Cable to Al Davis and back to Russell. Who's fault is it this year? Like chasing the white rabbit down the hole trying to find the elusive end to the mystery.
"He certainly could be playing better," says one group.
"He'd be playing better if he was coached better," says another.
"Yeah, well, he didn't get drafted to play like this, did he?" says a third group.
"How is he supposed to play when that one guy insists THOSE receivers be the starters?" chimes in the first group again.
Then the fifth group, now incensed, throws in their lot. "Well THOSE receivers can't very well catch the ball when it's bouncing in the dirt, now can they?"
And finally, inevitably, from somewhere else, "Well if that O-Line would block for a change instead of just tripping people and false starting...oh yeah, and WTH is with that guy from Arkansas?"
Around and around it goes. You follow it from place to place, finding yourself on one side of the argument, then another, then a third, then back where you started. Maybe you never waver from your position. Maybe you change like the weather. But no matter, what you're caught up in it, and IT doesn't let go very easily.
All roads lead to Al. Or do they? And, oh yeah, says who?
And all of this on top of the maddening spectacle that awaits the Raider fan on the football field every Sunday.
Careful Raider fans. If you find yourself mumbling out loud about who the Raiders should draft next year, begin wearing an eye patch full time, or even start frothing at the mouth when the subject of the Raiders comes up, there's still time to become a 49er or Chargers fan and save what's left of your sanity. But no, you won't do that. You'd rather go stark, raving mad, wouldn't you?