Some of us from the newer generation are a little too young to remember some of the greater moments in Raider history. The fans that have been around awhile, however, remember the feeling.
They remember the feeling of capturing the franchise's first NFL championship. They can tell you vividly what the mood was in the organization when John Madden became head coach. They can also tell you how it felt during the glory years, when the Raiders became first in the division not once, but 16 times between 1960-2002.
But that's history, this is now. However, maybe it's good to look back at all of that greatness to have an idea of where you've come from and where you're going.
The problem is, many fans have no idea of the history that covers this franchise. They cannot recall a winning season, or a complete football team that plays for four quarters.
So with that said, some questions come up that maybe you can answer to yourself while watching a game. Is the great Raider history becoming tainted? Is this team becoming more of a Sunday joke? Is the losing really that bad? Questions, questions.
In my free time I like to blog and read other writers' posts from different sports-affiliated Web sites. I also like to glance over comments that fans post, sometimes they're dead-on with their critique of the article, sometimes it's just simply funny to read what they write.
One post that got my attention was from a fan, not of the Raiders but from another team, an outside view. They were commenting on the possible acquisition of Chris McAlister—formerly of the Baltimore Ravens—by the Raiders. Without plagiarizing what he said, he made reference to the fact that Oakland is a sorry team and the organization could only get players on the downslide of their career.
That was his assesment of the team. Case closed.
It seems moreso than ever wins are overshadowed by losses, coaching is given a backseat to controversy, and the media eats it all up. When did this happen? When did a loss become more interesting than a win, when did it become more memorable?
If the Raiders win Sunday, everyone will still feel the urge to talk about Monday's loss to the San Diego Chargers.
The greats are being forgotten.
John Madden, Jim Otto, Art Shell, Gene Upshaw, Marcus Allen. These men have shaped Raider football through the years and should not be forgotten. No one can say that John Madden didn't shape the face of American football for years.
Championships are growing irrelevant.
Three-time Super Bowl champions: '76,'80,'83. Four-time conference champions: '76, '80, '83, '02.
But again, that's just history.
The truth is, only winning can bring the franchise back to the dominance it once held, only then will the organization become more than a wise joke or punch line. However, we all know jokes get old really fast, maybe this one will also.