Category Archives: Fans’ perspective

Oakland Warriors got a ring, the Raiders should be next

On June 15, the Warriors will parade their newest NBA Championship for their fans in the Bay. While they sport the name Golden State and rock the Golden Gate bridge, the Warriors play in Oracle which is in Oakland. Let’s not forget that.

Still, Oakland is about to lose the Warriors and the Raiders in a span of a few years. The Warriors are headed to San Francisco while the Raiders are headed to Las Vegas. Considering Oakland has a history as a strong sports town and a hub for social movements, this city deserves as many championships as possible.

Already, the Oakland Raiders are talking about being inspired by their neighbors dominating season. Now, it is time for the Silver and Black to deliver a title.

Over the past few seasons, Raider Nation has supported the Raiders threw quarterbacks like Jamarcus Russell and Aaron Brooks as well as head coaches like Lane Kiffin and Tom Cable. Despite the poor football product, Raiders fans showed up.

The same applies for Warriors fans. They supported the teams through the Monta Ellis and Adonal Foyle eras. Now, they get a team that projects to dominate over the next few seasons. Golden State can continue winning championships before the franchise moves across the Bay.

As for the Raiders, they are also young enough to contend over the next few seasons. Thus, the Silver and Black need to bring a championship to Oakland before they bounce for Vegas.

Oakland is a blue-collar town that is reflected in the culture and colors of the Raiders. No matter where the team plays, they will always embody a piece of Oakland. Hence, the Raiders need to bring another Super Bowl trophy to the Bay. The Raiders must double-down on the Warriors’ championships.

Who knows, maybe the Raiders can win two Super Bowls in three years like the Warriors did? Or maybe they can win three in a row. Either way, one Super Bowl would be great for the city that has supported its sports teams through thick and thin.

 

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What is it like to be a Raiders fan in Los Angeles in 2017?

Detailing my experience as Raiders Fan since the NFL returned via the Rams and Chargers: How has your experienced changed?

It’s a chilly October night. A friend invites me to an impromptu Clippers game. I find whatever jacket is in my trunk, and it is my favorite Raiders pullover.

Of course, I’m never afraid to wear my Raiders gear anywhere. Except for this time, it’s different. The Raiders are off to their hottest start in more than a decade. All of a sudden everyone is very receptive to my Silver and Black pride.

Instead of getting sarcastic remarks that trivialize my fanhood and test my patience, I find support. All of a sudden everyone respects the Silver and Black. Is this a product of their success? Does winning solve everything? OR are Angelinos paying attention to the NFL again due to the return of the L.A. Rams?

***

Los Angeles Raiders fans are an interesting bunch. The aren’t afraid to take short flights or long drives to support their team in the Bay. They tell legends of Super Bowls. They acknowledge the number of open seats leading up to the Raiders return to the Bay.

Even L.A. Raiders players like Marcus Allen and Howie Long will remind you that they spent their careers in Southern California and not Oakland. Either way, we are all members of the Silver and Black… Right?

***

You can find Twitter accounts and Facebook accounts dedicated to fans of the L.A. Raiders. For good reason, the team called this place home for 12 seasons. Fans supported them through good and bad.

This specific geographic designation created a divide in Raider Nation, especially when the Raiders quest for a new kingdom almost brought them back to Los Angeles via a joint proposal with the Chargers in Carson.

Even as the L.A. Raiders return died with the return of the Rams and Chargers, this subgroup continues to exist. What does it mean to be a fan of the most successful Los Angeles NFL team, while two other teams try to establish roots in the Nation’s second largest market? Why did ratings for Raiders game surpass those of the newly returned Rams, despite occuring at the same date and time?

***

It is January 2016 and the Rams are officially returning. I patrol the shops of the mall trying to find some new Raiders gear. Cowboys, Patriots, Seahawks and other popular teams’ gear are replaced with the Gold and Blue Rams gear. The struggle to find fresh Raiders gear at retailers persists, despite their upward success and popularity.

I’ve been going to the same gym for years. Now, I’m seeing more Raiders hats and tee-shirts. Are people getting more pride since the NFL is gaining popularity in my home? Am I becoming hyper-aware of casual fans since my team is finally entering the mainstream again? Am I policing bandwagon fans because I’ve been an active member of this culture since we were horrible?

***

It’s April 2017 and I’m enjoying Coachella 2017. Of course, I’m wearing a Raiders hat to protect myself from the sun and conceal my sweaty hair. It also matches my Raiders tank. People walk up to me and tell me it’s a dope hat.

“Go Raiders!” Strangers say.

“Raiders, baby,” they said.

My first instict is to challenge their fanhood. Sure, you’re a Raiders fan. I notice their crisp Derek Carr, Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper jerseys. They proceed to tell me how they’ve been a Raiders fan for years.

Where were you when we were 4-12?  Where were you when people were telling me they hate the Raiders.

Only two years before at the same music festival, people said, “Raiders suck!”

Now, Raiders gear is the most popular. Surpassing the gold, yellow and blue of the Chargers and Rams?

***

Although I’ll be the first to admit the Raiders Mecca will always be in Oakland, that doesn’t mean Los Angeles is not the second home of Raider Nation. Maybe, this is because I never saw the Silver and Black patrolling the green of the Coliseum.

Either way, I’ve certainly noticed a difference in what it means to be a Raiders fan over the past two seasons. Do I attribute this to the success of the team in recent seasons or the increased presence of the NFL in Los Angeles?

At least until the stadium opens in Las Vegas, L.A. is the second most concentrated place of Raiders fans in the nation. What does it mean to be a Raider fan in Los Angeles since the NFL is back and the Silver and Black are as good as ever?

Let me know what it means to be a Raiders fan in Los Angeles in 2017 via Twitter or shoot me an email, petedcamarillo@gmail.com.

Oakland Raiders: Don’t take 2016 for granted

My annual trip to a Raiders game fell on the week of the Chargers.

There’s no better feeling than being amongst the thousands of Raider Nation faithful. Shoutout to all the friendly people who hooked me up with ice, wipes, an oven-glove, and great vibes.

It was a trueky memorable experience and we’re not even talking about the game. 

I don’t take the atmosphere of the Black Hole for granted.

***

The Oakland Raiders secured their best start since 2002 via a 31-34 win over the San Diego Chargers.

After years of interchanging quarterbacks and coaches, let’s not take that for granted.

Oakland is tied for first in the NFL and first in their division.

This isn’t just a paper championship earned via the draft and free agency.

The Raiders finally have a product reflected by their 4-1 record. 

Sure, it has not been perfect. Oakland got just enough autumn win for San Diego to muff the snap on a game tying field goal. 

Otherwise, the Raiders running game was largely inefficient as it managed less than four yards a carry. They also got torched in the passing game. Travis Benjamin and Tyrell Williams both registered more than 100 passing yards for the Chargers. 

Still, the team found a way to win. That’s been the moral of this season. Rather it was on the two-point conversion in New Orleans or the defensive stand versus the Ravens.

It has not always been pretty. The defense ranks towards the bottom and they’re not always efficient on third down, offensively. However, the Raiders continue to win despite not getting much production from their best defensive-line player Khalil Mack, best corner Sean Smith and rotating through tight ends and right tackles.

It is still early in the season, but let’s not take this Raiders team for granted. We must appreciate that this team is finding ways to win when previous teams always found way to lose.

Not to mention, they’re doing it in Oakland -the Mecca for Raider Nation. Despite the city’s inability to find a long-term stadium option, it is important that this team wins for a city that supports them through thick and thin.

Finally, the Silver and Black are rising from the shadows of mediocrity. The media has been noticing, but fans knew this thing was turning around years ago.

Let’s not take our recent success for granted. Enjoy the winning and let’s keep it going versus Kansas City on Sunday at 10:05 p.m.

Just win baby! 

Gambling on the Raiders staying at home

It was an overcast day. That could not stop me from grilling.

I got into the gravel-filled parking lot and found myself parked next to some Buffalo Bills fans. They were blonde-haired and blue-eyed white people enjoying cold cuts. They were nice and peaceful compared to the rowdy college students which we were.

Surrounding us there were plenty of Silver and Black Jerseys. People of all shapes, sizes and ages engaged in chants of, “Raaaiiiddddeeerrrssss!” underneath canopies of all kinds.

The smell of moisture and BBQ filled the air. It was my first Raider game. It was against the Buffalo Bills and in the O.co Coliseum.

For a few moments, I wondered if that would be my last Raider game in Oakland. All season, I tried to go to a Raider game.

Something always held me back. Finances, weekend commitments, driving and flaky friends were all great excuses.

Still, I desperately wanted to attend another Raider game. As an Angelino, I attended many sporting events but nothing like this Raider game. The ambiance of the Raiders original home is the mecca for anyone claiming Raider Nation.

I wanted to go to Mecca again, but that was questioned with the Raiders attempt at relocation to Los Angeles.

Despite its’ proximity to my home, I always said the Raiders belonged in Oakland.

Realistically, the team was never going to move to Los Angeles. They had me and many others fooled. The Chargers used the Raiders brand as a ploy to garnish interest in the market for their joint Carson project. The two AFC West rivals rely on the L.A. market, and they felt the Rams stepping on their toes. Their best defense included banding together.

This week, their Carson plan failed. It should not be seen as a surprise. If the Raiders had $550 million for relocation fees and another hall billion for construction, they would use that money in Oakland.

However, they do not have that money. Therefore, the Raiders were never really a threat for Los Angeles. It seemed like Davis’ bluff might have worked if the NFL forced Kroenke to Carson and Davis received a lump sum from Kroenke. Instead, Kroenke got his way and the Davis is stuck in the same place.

Well atleast my gamble on the Raiders playing another game in Oakland paid off. I got one more season to see the team in the Mecca of Raider Nation. I better go next year, because who knows what will happen to the franchise after that.

 

Throwback Thursday: remembering Kenny Stabler

Image via Twitter

Image via Twitter

One Oakland Raider went into the Hall of Fame earlier this month. That was Tim Brown.

Now one Raider, who has waited even longer than Brown, has an opportunity to go into Canton. Kenny “The Snake” Stabler was nominated by the senior committee, and will be on the ballot in 2016.

Stabler has been on the regular ballet three-times, but failed to get enough votes.

Stabler should be in, because he lead the Raiders to five AFC Championship games and one Superbowl victory.

But what do I know? I am just another Raider fan and blogger.

The truth is, I never witnessed Stabler play. All I know about the 1970s’ All-Decade team member is what I have seen on NFL films and heard via legends.

Still, I get chills hearing about those great Raider teams. A team that dominated and did so in style. So much style, that one player even arrived on a horse for training camp.

Could you imagine how many retweets that would have gotten?

No one embody the  swagger and image of those Raider teams better than Stabler. When he passed away last month I heard all types of stories.

Most people know about the historic games. The “Ghost to the Post,” and “Sea of Hands” playoff games. Stabler was also on the receiving end of a great comeback via the “Immaculate Reception.”

Then there are legends among bars in the bay-area. There is the story about the quarterback who would get bailed out of jail before games.

Stabler even received a repetition as a womanizer. The two-time divorcee once said players in his day did not have agents and managers. Instead, they had girlfriends and bartenders.

Most of all, he was an approachable guy, who Raider and Alabama Crimson Tide fans still love.

In a lot of ways, Stabler was an athlete ahead of his time. Players did not make nearly as much as they do now, but Stabler still stunted in high fashion and sports cars.

On the field, teammates and coaches loved Stabler’s tireless work-ethic. He was a brilliant player calling his own plays long before Peyton Manning. Stabler was not known for a big arm. However, what he lacked in arm-strength he made up for in accuracy. Not to mention, Stabler stood strong in the pocket and took hits that would be illegal in today’s NFL.

John Madden said he would take Stabler over any quarterback in history. That probably has to do with Stabler helping Madden win his own Superbowl.

None the less, Stabler was a winner, renegade and Raider. There are plenty of articles that throw statistics as to why Stabler should be in the Hall of Fame. He has more passing yards than Brian Griese and Joe Nammoth. However, my appeal goes beyond the statistics.

I am privileged to know about the legend of the left-handed Snake. However, the entire football culture needs to know about Stabler. Look at how crazy the internet went when the Snake passed.

Fans, media and former-teammates grieved for the player who was quiet about his illness. Everyone chimed in stories about him in Oakland, Alabama and New Orleans. It goes to show exactly how much he meant to the game of football.

Canton needs to enshrine Stabler, so future fans can enjoy the legend of the Snake.

Touchdown Timmie Immortalized

Getty Images via Google images

Tim Brown finally enters the Hall of Fame. Getty Images via google images.Aug. 8 was an amazing day to be Raider fan. Legend Tim Brown finally got into the Pro-Football Hall of Fame.

Growing up a Raider fan, there are few instances I can recall about Tim Brown. I am only in my twenties, so I did not witness his greatness first hand. Most of my memories center around Brown being the best player on the football games I played. As i grew up, I had appreciation for the veteran who gave it his all late into his thirties.

Once I got older, I could appreciate all the stats Brown put together. The records he set for our beloved franchise. He has the records in games played. He put together a phenomenal ten year stretch. He ranks No. 6 in receiving yards. I looked up his highlights, many of which happened when I was a baby. That meant, I had to respect the greatness of the one they called Mr. Raider.

Now that I have entered the sports media, I have learned more about Brown as a man. The larger than life spiritual man who GMs a Texas indoor football team. Moreover, I learned the stories about Brown lying to his parents about playing in the band instead of football. I learned about the young receiver who was more renowned for his utility in space and return kicks than his receiving ability. I learned that Brown was the first receiver to win the Heisman. Hence, I grew tremendous respect for Brown as an individual.

So when it was announced Tim Brown was finally going into the Hall, I was enthralled. After more than five years of waiting, it was great to hear he would finally take his rightful spot in history. It was a great moment for the Raider brand, as their top receiver would finally be immortalized.

I was just so happy, because future generations of Raider Nation will know about Tim Brown. They will know about the man who caught passes from 20 starting quarterbacks. They will know about the competitor who could not be stopped, despite not having much of a supporting cast. Most of all, I was proud that all football fans will know and respect the greatness of Tim Brown.