Oakland Raiders: I Can't Quit On You

Stewart UptonContributor IOctober 5, 2008

In assessing the current situation with the Oakland Raiders, as well as the way ahead, for this season and beyond, you need to deal with reality, not personal attacks.

There has been bad judgment on behalf of both owner Al Davis and former coach Lane Kiffin. Both have basically admitted as much.

As a Raider fan, I have been mulling my loyalty over for the past couple of years and have threatened Mr. Davis with each coach firing that I would take my support and money elsewhere should this mismanagement continue.

I have come to the realization, though, that I cannot quit on the Raiders. Be they Oakland, Los Angeles, or possibly the Las Vegas Raiders.

My thoughts of picking another team that has competent management, a competent coach, and disciplined players were very lucrative.

I mean hey, what about those teams out there who do not have continuous offsides or holding penalties (though they have been fewer this year).

Or what about a team that continually pressures the quarterback in stead of only putting three rushers up on the line so the opposing quarterback can pick your defense apart in the final minutes of the game to win.

We know these teams are out there, but in the end, they are not the Raiders that exist when we envision and think about our team. 

Unfortunately, that vision is not the reality we find ourselves with today in the team and the organization.

To tell you the truth, lately, since the Buffalo loss, I've become physically ill. 

It is rare for a cold to stay with me beyond a couple of days, but this one remains, as the Raiders’ dirty laundry was put on public display this past week.
It has been proven that the fans of winning teams experience an elevated feeling of confidence (not to mention increased testosterone levels in men).

The opposite is true for the fans of loosing teams.

The last time I felt this bad was the day after the Super Bowl, when the Raiders lost to Tampa Bay and I began a deployment to prepare the forward operating command in the middle east for war with Iraq.

This had me going through U.S. Central Command located in Tampa Bay. 

I envied the fans at the Tampa Airport, returning from the game all smiles. 

Later that night, I would refuse to join Buccaneer players at a local bar when all my friends left me to join them.

I also had to make sure I had enough supplies to stay inside the next day, in which the city celebrated the Buccaneer’s Super Bowl win with a parade.

The fact that this has been going on now for the past six years means that Raider fans have had to deal with loosing to the point where it is affecting our psyche.

I think it can now be legitimately inferred by some that Raider fans that continue to be "fans" in these times are considered either "stupid" or "loyal"—or both.

I had told friends and fellow Raider fans in the office that I didn’t know if I would be watching last Sunday because I didn’t know if I could take it.

But I remembered some time ago, during the Jim Plunkett era, when the team was taking a loss at home and it had started to rain.

Most fans had left and there was a comment in the newspapers the next day from a Raider lineman expressing his perception that those who stayed were the "real" Raider fans and supporters of the team and its players.

I wound up watching the Raiders play San Diego, and I will continue, because I want to be that fan in the stands there to support my team and the players.

I’m not just some fair-weather fan, who shows his support only during the good times.

I consider myself part of an organization that has the worst record in the NFL over the past five years. 

The judgment of a Raiders fan in remaining loyal should not be measured by loosing games and/or records but in the words of Vince Lombardi. 

We have gotten back up again and again, to do our best in supporting our team.

No doubt that proudly displaying a Raider jersey after game day in the office is something Raider fans can only hope for maybe later this year, maybe next, or more likely after Mr. Davis has moved on.

There is also no doubt that Kiffin's continued presence meant a divided and splintered organization.

But there is more to that; his continued presence divided the fans, about a third of which I believe have supported Mr. Davis throughout this Kiffin ordeal. 

For there to be a continued splintering between us Raider fans is also something that is not needed.

I am "moving on" and will continue to support my team and its players. 

The Raider Nation should unite and do the same.