Twenty two miles separate McAfee Coliseum and Monster Park. The rivalry, however, is far greater than a mere 22 miles. Every summer, fans of the Oakland Raiders and the San Francisco 49ers have a war; not for a win that matters in the record books or season total, but for dominance. Who owns the bragging rights in the Bay Area for the next year? Good or bad, this is the Bay Area's "Super Bowl."
These two teams have played a number of times when it has counted as well, 11 times to be exact. Their first meeting was in 1970, and the Oakland Raiders lead this all time list with six wins and five losses.
Sunday, Nov. 3, 2002 was the last time these two teams met when it counted, and the 49ers defeated the Raiders 23-20 in overtime. Jeff Garcia was still throwing to T.O. and Rich Gannon's favorite target was Jerry Rice.
So Oakland owns the all-time regular season record against the 49ers but how about the pre-season? Well, sorry 49ers fans but Oakland happens to own that too (but only by one game). Oakland leads 18-17 with the next installment to be played on Friday, Aug. 8, 2008 in Oakland. The last time these two teams met, San Francisco beat the Raiders 26-21 at Monster Park in San Francisco.
I guess the most logical question is why do these two franchises dislike one another so much? Neither share a division let alone a conference. So I asked so locals and this is what I found:
Brian C. of Milpitas, California and a 49ers fan said that "all that matters is the rings; the Niners have five and the Raiders have three."
Moises M. of San Jose and Raiders fan said, "49ers fans just live in the past. Yes, they have five Super Bowl championships but they did that in like 10 years so what have they done since? At least the Raiders have won division titles and been to the Super Bowl in the last 15 years."
Jeff W. of Fremont, California, also a Raider fan, said that "49ers fans don't respect us because we are blue collar workers. They think we are beneath them and therefore are just trash."
Phil R. of San Francisco and a 49ers fan said that "Raider fans are just thugs, gang members and pimps, and we are a much higher brand of fan; we don't consort with the likes of people like them. Raider fans make me sick."
But not all the messages from one team to another were hate filled.
Jeff V. of Milpitas, California said that although he is a Raider fan, he respects the history of the great players to come out of San Francisco and hopes that one day we have an all Bay Area Super Bowl.
Jarrett J. of Redwood City, California is a 49er fan but says he admires the great fans in Oakland and thinks that Raider fans are among the best fans in all of sports period. He too wishes for an all Bay Area Super Bowl but concedes that it most likely will never happen because the NFL would prevent such a thing from happening because like most Niners' fans, the NFL hates the Raiders.
So there it is, straight from the fans in the Bay Area. We all have our reasons for hating the other team and we all have high hopes for our teams this upcoming season, but the "war" is far from over and the next battle is right around the corner. Who will win this battle? We will find out Friday night.