"Stay the course" is a phrase that I heard former Coach Tom Cable use in one of his media interviews. It has prompted me to think about striving and pressing toward a goal or a mark in the NFL. Even though Tom Cable is gone, we have to admit something was learned from him, although the rate of progress was not sufficient.
Our hope is that Hue Jackson will be able to build on the progress that was made in 2010. We look forward. We move on...
Since I just left Washington, DC and was flooded with the international news of a strategic move of the part of United States, it triggered my mind to compare the mentality of war in life, with war on the NFL gridiron.
Both confrontations required a certain type of discipline and focus, matched with knowledge about the opponent. It may have taken nearly 10 years for a recent feat in the international situation, but let's hope it does not take as long to overcome the opponents of the Oakland Raiders.
If, in fact, each team in the NFL is unique, then the Oakland Raiders are unique. Uniqueness defies comparability. In other words, the quality of uniqueness can not be compared to any other team.
Hue Jackson has openly declared that he wants players who are capable of being bullies, and this means he wants hard-hitting, tough, smart, guys who are successful in their football strategies. He wants a go-getter attitude with the courage to invade the opponents territory and score touchdowns.
If compared, then the comparison determines who is above or below another team. In fact, the uniqueness of the Oakland Raiders guarantees that there is a quality that they have that no other team has. Now, who can determine that "unique" factor? Seriously, tell us what you think.
Those unique factors are intangibles which are not easily measured.
The uniqueness of the Oakland Raiders is like a composite DNA of the team. This makes sense because each player is unique so the combination of talents, intangibles, immeasurables and spiritual qualities of the team are unique. Once there is a true synergy in place, those collective qualities will stand out, and will drive the team to victories.
When we consider the phrase "beyond" themselves, we realize that the competition is within the standard for excellence for each player and within the franchise or team.
A higher level of excellence is to be measured by previous accomplishments of the Oakland Raiders, and not comparisons with other teams.
Each Oakland Raider must improve above and beyond last year's performance levels. Personal goals must be enhanced. The intensity of focus of each player must be turned up, high up.
Each player must strive to raise the standards and expectations of his performance, and gauge his growth against what he did in a game, for example, against the Denver Broncos.
There is always room for improvement. Dealing with that reality is capable of driving each team member and the entire team to a higher level of excellence.
"Striving above themselves" is to strive for a reason that is above yourself. Believing that what you do and how you perform on the playing field could inspire someone to hang in there and strive, too, for greater heights.
Striving above ourselves could be to do so well that some kid you met who is struggling with some health issue can see a victory and believe in victory.
It could, for example, be a stimulus to a single parent who is having trouble planning a victorious future for a child.
Also, striving to do something victorious and thinking "above yourselves" could mean that what the Oakland Raiders do will boost something in the culture and economy of the cities contiguous to Oakland, California.
When striving is beyond a personal struggle and above personal needs, it is capable of thrusting the Oakland Raiders to a level so high that they can not be ranked below any other team.
Their passion for excellence, and their love for staying the course could be just what some of us need as we press toward the mark of the high call in each of our lives.
Play heartily. Stay the course, and maintain a true commitment to excellence.
The Oakland Raiders should and must strive beyond and above themselves.
Finally, if the earlier generations had nicknames like "The Assassin," then those fearless personalities are expected to develop in this generation of Oakland Raiders. Of course, we also expect that the young warriors will function within the new guidelines of the NFL.
Go Raiders! Get the job done!