“I always said we were a few injuries from a pretty good team, we just had to get Al’s guys out of there.”
-Michael Lombardi, former Raiders executive
I have a friend whose grandfather was sick with Alzheimer’s 10 years ago. She’d go to visit him in the hospital a couple times a month. As his condition worsened, it became quite painful to see him, but see kept going even after he couldn’t remember who she was.
This friend also happens to be an attractive young woman.
A while after he couldn’t remember she was his granddaughter, he started coming on to her and began grabbing at places your grandfather should never grab...It didn’t take long before she stopped coming to visit.
Monday with my co-worker:
Handsome Man-You guys should be 3-1 right now.
*Frank*(Not his real name)-It doesn’t matter as long as Al’s around.
The day I finally gave up on Al Davis was the day he brought Art Shell back. I always questioned running Jon Gruden out of town, and Al liked to bring in his token projects who’d never work out, (James Jett, for instance), but I figured Al always deserved the benefit of the doubt until he went back to Art Shell.
Before the season at Safeway:
Obnoxious Clerk-Raiders going to the playoffs this year?
GuyInTimBrownJersey-That’d be something.
OC-Never shoulda fired Gruden.
GITBJ-They’re kind of a mess.
OC-I got a feeling this year.
GITBJ-You got a feeling Al’s gonna pass away?
I’m not a Raider fan. I’ve enjoyed them, even rooted for them at times, but I’ve also rooted against them and take a perverse pleasure in listening to overly optimistic friends and co-workers say things like this year’s team should go 10-6, or that JaMarcus Russell will make the Pro Bowl.
As a fanbase, they’re often overly optimistic. I’ve always known them this way, but lately the incompetence seems to be wearing on them. The commitment to excellence doesn’t ring true anymore, and as a result, more and more are turning against Al.
The once optimistic suddenly have this dead space in the back of their eyes when talking about this year’s team, like they’re removed from the present and watching some great Raider club they remembered from the days of Stabler or Plunkett.
Underneath this lays the knowledge, even if some of them refuse to admit it, that the man who brought the franchise to what it is, the man who put the meaning behind the name Raider, isn’t the hell raiser who terrorized the NFL for the past 40 years.
The sickness in fans stomach isn’t the self-loathing from wishing the old man would simply pass away, but from the product he puts out every Sunday.
Two weeks ago:
Young Child-Did the Raider’s win?
Handsome Man-No, they blew it.
YC-They always lose.
HM-Well, the guy who runs the team has kinda screwed it up.
YC-They need to fire him.
HM-They can’t, he’s the owner.
YC-He should sell the team then!
HM-I don’t think he wants to sell the team.
YC(Thoughtfully)-So the Raiders are going to suck until he dies?