I’ve been in an abusive relationship with the Oakland Raiders for 12 years, and the name-calling and the double takes have only gotten worse.
“Get rid of that backpack!”
I put on my leather Raiders hat and I feel like I’m going to get cat-called like a girl in a short skirt walking through downtown San Francisco.
“Hey, take off that shirt!”
I can feel them undressing me with their eyes and replacing my team’s gear with San Francisco 49ers memorabilia. I’m spoken for, 49er fans, okay? Your advances aren’t working.
I’ve been a Raiders fan since I was a kid, and consider it a family tradition. I’m drawn to being a rebel, the anti-hero in that “silver and black” way. And all the taunting and name calling will be worth it when the team gets back to prominence and I can say I was still by its side — even after everything the boys have put me through.
They haven’t produced a winning season since 2002, but even that season ended in our demolition by the Buccaneers in the Super Bowl to the tune of 48-21.
I’ve sat through bad draft picks over and over again. Hell, I couldn’t tell you the last time I was happy with a draft class. I could go to Wikipedia right now and tell you who we should have drafted, but I won’t because I don’t want to bawl my eyes out at all the awesome names left on the board.
In the past decade the Raiders have drafted “nobodies” and turned down future Hall of Famers like Aaron Rodgers, Larry Fitzgerald and Calvin Johnson, and football fans are beginning to take notice.
“Just leave them already,” they say. “All they do is hurt you,” they say. “You deserve better,” they say.
“It’s okay, there is always next year,” I reply. “They don’t mean to,” I cry. “Derek Carr is playing well,” I sigh.
Despite all of this, I have never given up on my team. I still wear my collection of shirts, jerseys and hats with pride, but believing in the Raiders is starting to get really tough. I feel like I’m in that bad Chris Rock movie, but the Raiders are my wife and the Seattle Seahawks are Kerry Washington.
This season isn’t changing much for our relationship. We have the worst record in the NFL at 0-5 and we fired Dennis Allen, our head coach of three years, after an abysmal showing in London against the Miami Dolphins.
This chain of events breaks my heart because this season was one of the few I have looked forward to since former head coach Hue Jackson took over in 2011 and led us to an 8-8 record.
Overall, the Raiders are an old team without young talent on the roster. Other than Jackson, the coaching hires have never been great. I don’t believe many coaches want to come and coach here, especially with Reggie McKenzie as the general manager. He hasn’t been able to put together a good roster since he first arrived.
The only way we can get back on the right track is if we get rid of McKenzie, and start from scratch all over again — something all Raiders fans, myself included, are tired of hearing. It hurts to say, but this may be one of the last chances the team has of making amends for the stuff they’ve put me through.
I’m not saying I’d leave them for another team, though. I’m just saying I need a little space to be on my own for a while, you know? They just haven’t been treating me right.