Silver and Bleak

By Gary Norris Gray, BASN Staff Reporter
Updated: July 8, 2010

CALIFORNIA (BASN) — It’s very difficult for loyal Oakland Raider fans in the Northern California Bay Area to wear the colors of mighty Black and Silver these days.

The recent arrest in Alabama of former quarterback JaMarcus Russell continues the downward spiraling of this historic football franchise.

The Raiders have had 11 head coaches since John Madden’s departure in 1978 and six since 1998. This instability does not create unity among team members. The constant changing of different coaching styles created chaos on the Raider Nation football field.

It all came crashing down in 2002 when they lost the Super Bowl to another band of Pirates from the southeast coast called the Tampa Bay Buccaneers led by ex-Raider head coach John Gruden.

The tables were turned as the Bucs were the swaggering victorious football team.

The Raiders have never been the same. The swagger disappeared, the victories have become were too far apart, and the Super Bowl victories are a distant memory.

Team owner Al Davis apparently is unwilling to move the Raider team into the next decade. He still wants to control every move the Raiders make and it seems that time has passed him by.

When football fans think of the NFL many think of an feisty football team called the Oakland Raiders. A team that would fight each other as well as their opponent, a team that plays their home games six feet below sea level, fitting for the Black and Silver.

That team has disappeared. It no longer exists and many Raider fans want them back. During the early years of the American Football League, the Raiders the Western Division.

The Raiders unofficial theme song (The Autumn Wind) was always featured on NFL Films and on their weekly highlight show, “This is the NFL”.

This introduction and forward presentation of “the Autumn Winds” was always done by the deep clear voice of former Philadelphia newsman John Facenda, the video voice of the NFL.

At the beginning of every game, Raider fans swayed when the team entered the field to the rhythmic beat ringing in their ears.

It was party time in the Oakland Alameda County Coliseum (now McAfee Coliseum).

Between 1965 and 2002, the Raiders had the best record in the NFL. They also owned Monday Night Football by losing only four games between 1970-89.

The Raiders have been in five Super Bowls, 14 AFC/AFL title games, 15 Western Division titles, and can boast 20 Hall of Famers.

The Raider Nation, with the pirate and shield on their helmets, captured the winning image. With their rabid fan base and cast of characters in the Black Hole, they always delighted the national television audience.

Lastly, their world famous cheerleading squad, the multi-ethnic Raiderettes added class to this franchise by beating the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders blond squad hands down.

This was the battle tested image for the first 50 years of Oakland Raiders history. Teams were afraid to enter the field with the Black and Silver. That psychological edge and physical advantage has disappeared.

However over the last 10 years, that battle cry has become extinct

Thee big question now is can the Raiders reclaim their “Commitment To Excellence”? Will the players and coaches regain that “Pride and Poise”?

Here’s hoping that they can do it very soon.