The number 13 is an unlucky number in the United States. For a franchise known for it’s counter-culture persona, it’s surprisingly an unlucky number for the fans of the Oakland Raiders.
It’s been 13 long seasons since the Raiders won more than 8 games. The last plus .500 campaign was 2002, a year that will live in infamy for many who root for the Silver and Black as they lost in epic fashion to the Bucs in the Super Bowl.
The climb back to respectability has been littered with public failures, internal strife, and humiliating defeats. Yet through it all, the fans of the Oakland Raiders are consistently upbeat, patriotic and bullish on their teams fortunes, no matter how wishful they might be.
Turn the page to 2016.
It’s real. The Raiders are real. Now more than ever before do Oakland fans have something to genuinely feel good about. Pro Football Focus ranked them as a playoff team. Derek Carr, Amari Cooper and Khalil Mack are genuine stars.
On the eve of a triumphant return to glory, owner Mark Davis is doing all he can to rip the good vibes right out from under these same fans who endured so much. Did I mention he’s doing it publicly?
“Right now, I’m focused on Las Vegas. We think it could make a great marriage with Las Vegas and the Raiders.”
Yikes, a Las Vegas wedding. It’s one thing to privately pine for better pastures, it’s another to openly lobby for the affection of a location questionably more deserving of a winner than Oakland.
Sports is a business. Being a fan is not a business. It’s a hobby. It’s a costly hobby, and for the fans who have paid to watch the Raiders take their lumps only to reach the tipping point then have them taken away so cruelly… it’s an awful business-like hobby.
The fans funded the Raiders imminent rise to glory, only to have them snatched at the last minute. One can only hope the Las Vegas deal falls through, or gets delayed like an outbound Oakland-to-Vegas flight, so the fans of Oakland can have one more taste of the big stage they deserve before it heads into the desert, like a mirage that vanishes into the dust.