Oakland Raiders: The Legacy of the Commitment to Excellence

Back2 BlackContributor IIIJuly 15, 2010

4 Aug 2001:  A player of the Oakland Raiders holds up his helmet during the Pre-Season game against the Dallas Cowboys at the network Associates Coliseum in Oakland, California. The Raiders defeated the Cowboys 21-14.Mandatory Credit: Jed Jacobsohn  /Allsport
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

Historically, the Oakland Raiders are by far one of the most dominating and intriguing organizations in professional sports.  At one point they were recognized as The Winningest Team in Football

To those who may have forgotten, who aren’t aware of the history of the game or are of the younger persuasion, this may be hard to believe, but the fact of the matter is from 1963 to 2002, the Raiders only had a total of seven losing seasons.  That’s correct…seven! 

Sports commentators and writers throughout the world of sports have developed a severe case of athletic amnesia.  This has caused them to characterize the entire 50 year legacy of the franchise, based on the performance of the last seven seasons.  As a result, the opinions that people have of the Raiders, are skewed at best and has caused the public to view the entire franchise as completely dysfunctional.   

To briefly jog the memory of those who may have forgotten, and inform those who don’t know, the Oakland Raiders have been:

Super Bowl Champions three times (76, 80,83)

Conference Champions four times (76, 80, 83,02)

Division Champions 15 times (67,68,69,70,72,73,74,75,76,83,85,90,00,01,02)

Appeared in the playoffs 21 times.  (67,68,69,70,72,73,74,75,76,77,80,82,83,84,85,90,91,93,00,01,02)

If we were to go back as far as 1945 and compare the winning percentages of all the teams in the NFL, the Raiders are the still the 3rd most winningest team with a record of 435-353-11 for a .551 winning percentage. 

The Raiders were the first team in the NFL to have 16 consecutive winning seasons.  Only one team has more.  From 1965 to 1985, the Raiders had winning records in 19 of the 20 seasons. No team has a better Monday Night Football record (the first 35 games played) 27-6-1.

The Raiders boast a .500 or better record against 24 of the 31 teams in the NFL.

Given the history that this organization has, on occasion it may be necessary to remind the players, fans and members of the media, of where the Raiders have come from in order to accurately assess who they are as a team.

In the field of Psychiatry, often a psychiatrist looks at the symptoms a patient has and makes a diagnosis based on current behaviors, picture recognition, goals or dreams. 

Again, I see this situation being applied to the Raiders.  In the 39 years from 1963 to 2002, the Raiders had 32 winning seasons.  Because of the last seven seasons, the Raiders have been considered: the laughingstock of the NFL, a joke of an organization etc… 

Several NFL analysts have been excessively critical and overtly disrespectful during several of the NFL drafts and some have gone as far as laughing in the face of Raiders players during interviews.  Too many media outlets have prescribed a treatment of verbal valium towards a healthy organization that has gone through a tough time.

No one knows a person better than they know themselves.  Regardless of what the specialist may say, it is up to that person to do what is best for them.   Sometimes a person may need the perspective of someone from the outside to help them understand certain things, but it still comes back to that individual to do something about it. 

This is exactly the position the Oakland Raiders are in.  We know better than most the several factors that contributed to the last seven seasons.  Age, continuity, injuries, lack of focus and panic all contributed to the downfall of the Raiders. 

Regardless, we aren’t who they think we are, or who they say we are.  There is only one way to rectify this diagnosis.  That is for the coaches and the players to stop listening to these “experts” and just recognize who they are.  This part of the process has already begun.  The

Oakland Raiders have returned to the greatness that they once exhibited and will remind us all, of whom they really are.