Saturday, October 4, 2008

The Anti-Raider Nation emerges from within the Nation

There's
* the Yin and the Yang
* Night and day
* Friday and Saturday night at Ricky's Sports Theater and Grill in San Leandro, California, epicenter of the Raider Nation.

Usually, both nights are equal. You wouldn't be able to tell the difference. This year, Saturday nights are traditionally a rally night at Rickey's as a prelude to Sunday's Oakland Raiders game. That's where all your staunch silver and black foam finger waver types can be found, doesn't matter what the team's record is or any issues surrounding the organization. They just support. They have invested too much time, money and energy to even consider showing any chinks in their armor of "Go Raiders!" resolve, their chosen passion in life.

This Friday night however, October 4th 2008, drew a surprising number of rabble rousers proclaiming the Anti-Raider Nation movement was officially afoot. No longer will such blind obedience from the foam finger wavers go without an obvious sneer from the anti crowd.

You wouldn't be able to tell the Anti-Raider Nation from a foam finger waver because the two are one and the same, wearing team merchandise (as was I this evening).

This firing of Lane Kiffin has upset a lot of fans. The difference between this firing and others is:
* people knew Art Shell was not the right guy for the job at that particular time.
* Norv Turner was not highly regarded.
* Bill Callahan punched his own ticket out of town as did Jon Gruden.
* No one remembers who Joe Bugel is anymore so why mention him or Mike White.

Kiffin was fairly well liked for his honesty and more or less competent handling of affairs. Despite a horrendous first game embarrassment and his questionable judgement with the media, the team was getting better. They're battling, they're getting close to learning how to close games out. The general thinking is we're not playing bad all of the time.

Raider fans are highly disturbed by Al more than ever as his walls of secrecy have finally come tumbling down. This key point cannot be overstated in its importance. Really, up to 2008, most of the Raider Nation turned a blind eye to Al's ways, at least in spirit. At this specific moment in time, the Nation is highly disturbed and truly fed up with the downward spiral.

If the conventional thinking is a divided house cannot stand then this year's Nation defies that rule. The Nation is intent on making it through this latest power play by Al. Looking ahead to better days is an old standby but it's all that's left.

Overall, the Anti-Raider Nation people I spoke with felt that the team would be better regardless of head coach but the whole way the team is run has become a tired tale of one man's arrogance.

The Nation, anti or not, has really become a parody of itself, at least on Friday nights at the Nation's epicenter. What you get is an extravaganza of Raider memorabilia, walls of satellite TVs and every element of the Raider Nation in your face.

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