Raider fans are known for being true fans; that is to say fanatics, literally. Is it too much?
For a Broncos fan brought up to be a good sport about football, I think it can be. Certain distinct differences in these two organizations make this rivalry one of the most interesting, both on, and off the field. It's good vs. evil, plain and simple.
To fans around the NFL, Raider fans are known for being over the top, and acting in ways that simply aren't acceptable in most places.
The first time I witnessed a Raider fan losing it I must have been 10 years old. I was cussed out, literally, by my best friend's dad for rooting against the Raiders. As I left my friend's house I could still hear his dad explaining himself to his wife as she questioned his actions.
I ask myself what would drive a person to act out like that. I have a few theories.
-First, I think the symbolism of the Raiders feeds a man's sense of brutality. I think that people who want to feel more powerful will naturally identify with the Raiders symbolism: a pirate; skulls and cross bones; the color black
-Second, I think that the mob mentality will play part in making other Raider fans think that acting out is okay: see the "Black Hole"
When Al Davis first heard "Autumn Wind" he immediately moved to make it the official hymm of the Oakland Raiders. With quotes like "He growls as he storms the country, A villain big and bold" it is easy to see why some Raider fans think it's okay to act like villains.
So take a large group of people who identify with the Raiders symbolism, and add to it the Raider organization-management's embracing the evil symbolism, and what you have is a mob.
If you ever have the privelege of attending a Broncos game at Mile High, you will notice a recurring theme: keep it classy. There are signs throughout the stadium asking fans to act like gentlman. There is a recurring voice coming over the loud speaker telling fans to be good sportsman.
Fans who come to Mile High stadium are made to feel welcome; it doesn't matter what team they root for.
Mike Shanahan will probably finish out his coaching career for Pat Bowlen because Bowlen feels Shanahan's attitude is key. After reading Shanahan's book Think Like a Champion, it's easy to see where the Broncos get their winning attitude. Mike Shanahan believes in being positive at all times.
This is why I identify with the Broncos organization. It's a classy organization with a classy attitude.
Obviously, every Bronco fan isn't a saint, and every Raider fan isn't a felon; however, there are distinct differences in these two organizations that make this rivalry all the more prevalent.
Kudos to the Raiders fans for being so enthusiastic, to the Broncos fans for keeping it classy. Here's to a rivalry that will be feeding debates for decades to come.