I'm not a Raiders "insider". I have no connection to the team, other than being a passionate, loyal and sometimes overly optimistic fan for over thirty years. I do feel, however, I have spent enough of my life following Raiders football to feel connected in some way.
So, for argument's sake and for the point of this article, let's define "outsider" as someone who has no passion or hatred for the silver and black. Someone who is knowledgeable, and what I would consider objective, in an assessment of the Raiders.
Facebook is a wonderful thing. I was browsing through the other day and happened across the profile of a childhood friend. I sent a friend request and she accepted.
Carrie was the little girl who could compete and compete well with all the boys in the neighborhood. Her dad was my first football coach. If she'd have been a boy she would have played football and played well.
She sent me a message earlier. I had not talked to her in over two decades. The message was, "dude I can't believe you're wearing a Russell jersey, you need to get one of a real Raider!"
We continued to chat. She made some points many of you have expressed or expressed displeasure at. The thing that enlightened me, though, was that she is a Colts fan with no agenda for or against the Raiders.
So loosely quoted here are the thoughts of a very knowledgeable football fan with no axe to grind:
"Your team may never have any success again until your owner...Well you know!"
"You know you guys played so well against Pittsburgh. You have a good team, Gradkowski looked good. If you just gave that effort every week..."
So there it is folks. Someone who isn't influenced by the media or hatred (Bolts, Donkeys, and Chefs fans), can look at our team and think they could play well.
She didn't say we were lucky or that some other team was overlooking us. She recognized the fact that the talent is there to be a winning NFL team. So long as the effort is there, and the owner is not.
I've always been an Al Davis loyalist and I've made every excuse in the world for Jamarcus, like I said earlier, I'm overly optimistic.
However, I think my childhood friend has made me recognize some things.
Things I may not have accepted hearing from folks like me, that would be you my fellow Raiders fans, or the media because I'm convinced whether it's true or not, that they hate the Raiders and their fans.
My friend, this "outsider", may have caused me to re-assess some things. Is it really that simple?
Could Al Davis and consistent effort make us winners? Probably not, but I do think it may be an important part of the equation.