Some people are fans of the Oakland Raiders. But many, many more people are NOT fans of the Oakland Raiders. This 2015 Deadspin NFL team preview is for those in the latter group.
Your team: Oakland Raiders
Your 2014 record: 3-13, featuring the league’s worst point differential (-199). “What this ball represents and what this hole represents are the first four games of the season. The first quarter of our season … This ball, to me, goes in this hole! Okay?” You will not find a more motivational hole than the hole Tony Sparano dug.
Sparano, you will recall, was promoted to interim head coach (all Raiders coaches should be labeled as “interim”) after Dennis Allen was canned after just four games last season. They could have canned Allen a full year ago. Instead, they burned off an entire season of their existence just so they could limply can him after one extra month of duty. This is how the Raiders work. They exist exclusively to waste your time. Their return to glory is so far off in the distance that nothing they do in the intervening decades really matters at all. They could ritualistically set themselves on fire ... or turn into a professional wakeboarding team. It doesn’t matter, because they won’t be good again for centuries. They’re fucking worthless.
Your coach: Jack Del Rio. AHAHAHAHA. That’s your plan? Jesus. I mean, the least you can do it TRY to give fans hope. Instead, you gave them the return of Football Eddie Money…
I wonder if he kept that sash. It’s his most prized sash! He should be forced to wear it on the sidelines for every game.
Del Rio went 68-71 in his tenure with the Jaguars, a tenure most notable for a) the time he wore a suit, and b) the time he put a fucking axe in the middle of the locker room, only to have the punter subsequently bury that axe in his leg. KEEP CHOPPING WOOD, GUYS.
Given that the Raiders also contemplated hiring Eric Mangini and Pat Shurmur, I guess Del Rio is a halfway tolerable choice. But really, after getting the Heisman from Jim Harbaugh (imagine a coach looking at your organization and being like, “I’d better go to Michigan. They’re WAY more functional”), they limited their options like they were dining at a Jersey Turnpike rest stop. “Well, I can eat Burger King, or I can scavenge for chicken bones in the shitter trash can.” This franchise has been eating shit for so long that Del Rio’s career record looks like the feat of a God at this point. OMG HE ALMOST WENT .500 WHAT IS THAT LIKE?
Your quarterback: Permanently mascara-ed phenom Derek Carr. Carr, of course, will get murdered by his o-line at some point this season, in which case your quarterback will be either Matt McGloin or …
YEAHHHHHHHHH WOOHOOHOO!!!! As a Vikings fan, let me tell you what a quality backup your team has secured. If you like watching a grown man run for his life and then fail to throw the ball past the line of scrimmage, this is the guy for you! Every pass that Christian Ponder completes is a small miracle from God. In that way, he fits in perfectly with the Raiders’ passing game.
What’s new that sucks: Kenny Stabler died. (You can bet that every Raiders fan in existence high-fived upon hearing the news that he died at age 69.)
Also, Mark Davis is scheming to ditch Oakland once and for all. If everything goes to plan—Jesus, who I am kidding? these are the Raiders—the team will skip town in 2016 in order to share a stadium near Los Angeles with the Chargers. Just one big stadium full of suck for unsuspecting citizens.
The stadium is expected to cost the city of Carson $1.7 billion, none of which will be spent on improving Davis’s current haircut. Here is where I remind you that the Raiders’ original proposed stadium design included an eternal flame in memory of Al Davis, which seems redundant, given that Hell itself is ablaze 24/7. The Davis Cauldron was scrapped from the plans—I assume funds were reallocated for the stadium’s inevitable need for in-house correctional facilities—but the whole saga is a helpful reminder that the only thing worse than having your team run by a living Al Davis is having your team run by a dead Al Davis.
You can tell Ghost Al is still running the team by its acquisitions over the offseason. Is that Trent Richardson? You know it is. I think it’ll be nice for fans to witness the only thing in existence slower than traffic over the Bay Bridge. And Michael Crabtree is here, too! Finally, a place where Michael Crabtree’s malcontent nature can fully flourish. FUN FACT: Mr. Sorry Receiver has gone over 1,000 yards in his career exactly once. They also signed Trindon Holliday to muff punts, which should be amusing. I don’t know if he can out-fumble James Jones, but he’ll sure as hell try. SPEED KILLS, PEOPLE. Oakland is where you go when you are a failed veteran, so that Oakland fans can dub you a True Raider, only to watch you fail miserably all over again.
The team also signed Malcolm Smith, because it can never get enough of fluky Super Bowl MVPs. Despite the presence of budding superstar Khalil Mack, the Raiders fielded their standard below-average defense the previous season. Hence, they binged on Smith, along with free agents Dan Williams and Curtis Lofton. All that, and yet the best player on the team is STILL the fucking kicker.
What has always sucked: These are the worst fans in America. And I don’t mean they are disloyal or dispassionate. I mean that, as PEOPLE, they are the worst fans in America. State any obvious fact about the Raiders—like the fact that they are bad at football—and you can expect them to go completely overboard in seeking redress. Like so …
YOU: Jack Del Rio? That seems kinda uninspired.
RAIDER FAN: (stabs you)
No wonder Mark Davis is emptying out every corporate expense account in San Antonio and Los Angeles. Getting away from Oakland is a matter of personal safety for any reasonable human being. This is a hilariously incompetent team that can’t play defense and completes one pass for every 20 attempts, and yet NO Raiders fan can admit it. Every year we do these previews, and every year the Raiders have the most humorless, defensive, irrational fans of the bunch. Even Redskins fans are like, “Whoa, they’re being a little unreasonable!” I’ll never understand it. Your team is fucking terrible. You cling to the outdated football philosophy of a rotting corpse. Can you really not see this? What the fuck is wrong with you?
Also, Charles Woodson is still the best player in the secondary. Charles Woodson is 5,000 years old. I bet Ponder dazzles everyone in practice against that backfield.
What might not suck: Amari Cooper, shown here wishing he had been drafted by Jacksonville, was arguably the most talented and hardest-working player available in the whole draft. Put him together with Carr and a healthy Latavius Murray and this almost resembles a functional NFL offense. It’s like when they build a set for a movie, and it LOOKS like a real house, but the back of it is nothing more than wood girders and pegboard.
Hear it from Raiders fans!
I told a friend that I was an Oakland fan, and he told me “Well, I can’t really call you a bandwagoner, because you’re not really getting anything out of being a Raiders fan.”
There was a span in 2010 where I was getting at least one prank call a week from a buddy trying to fool me into celebrating Al Davis’ death.
I was in a car accident on November 29 last year (both cars and parties were fine). On November 30, the Raiders were ass-pounded by the Rams (aptly) 52-0. I received more phone calls to see if I was okay on Sunday night than on Saturday.
Fuck Jamarcus Russell with a cactus dildo.
Mark Davis looks like an old man version of Bucky Larson.
Oakland itself has the inferiority complex of a second-tier Midwestern city.
Despite a decade plus of the most heinous, eye-gouging football fuckery, my dad has maintained his weekly pedicure appointment where he gets his two big toes painted black and the rest of the little piggies painted silver (just like their sparkly helmets). My dad also still wears leather pants on the regular and tried to buy a goddamn used hearse to drive to the Coliseum.
Their best offensive player since 2002 has been a fat kicker who can hit 65 yard field goals but shanks 30 yarders with the game on the line.
Fuck Darren McFadden with his brittle leg bones.
If they injure Peyton, I’ll call it a successful season.
This is what 70+ million in salary cap room buys you: Christian Ponder, Trent Richardson, Roy Helu, Michael Crabtree, Lee Smith, Rodney Hudson, Dan Williams, Curtis Lofton and Nate Allen.
After enduring the 2003 Super Bowl, I proclaimed boldly “The Raiders would be back in 10 years.” I have shitty friends that didn’t forget I said that.
In Week 12 when we won our first game in 368 days, the reaction was embarrassing. Our best players were celebrating 20 yards offsides while the game was still going on. Derek Carr went on a Jesus rant that made Russell Wilson look like an agnostic. Windbag to end all windbags Tony Sparano got choked up (again, for a team that just became 1-10). Raiders fans acted like Raiders fans.
The next week we got clobbered 52-0 by the Rams, who we hopefully beat to Los Angeles so I can stop rooting for this team.
While the East Bay is now the only remotely livable part of the Bay Area, I have never seen so many people be so trashy and yet so pretentious. The Raiders will likely move into the 800 year old Los Angeles Coliseum next year and it will immediately be a massive upgrade over the O.Co Coliseum. There’s a fucking dirt infield on it half the season. The sewage backs up into locker rooms. They only serve Bud Light. And you can’t smoke or vape anywhere in the stadium. I’ll be so glad to not have to drive 6 hours through cow shit up the 5 freeway in order to spend an afternoon watching my team lose to Geno and the Jets while swilling the worst beer ever and not even getting to mask the awful taste of it with a Newport.
Lane Kiffin: 4-12 record – retained the following season
Tom Cable: 8-8, vastly outperforming talent – fired
Hue Jackson: 8-8, vastly outperforming talent – fired
Dennis Allen: 4-12 – retained (x2)
Tom Cable vastly outperformed the talent he had and beat the shit out of his assistant coaches. Both of these qualities made him wildly popular with fans. Naturally, he was fired after his first full season.
We finally shipped out Darren McFadden before his legs fully turned to dust and replaced him with a back who has all the burst and speed of Hodor.
Mark Davis and Reggie MacKenzie look like a children’s show that got caught in a chemical fire.
Because when Mark Davis threatened to move the team to San Antonio, the idiot fanbase here was terrified...as it made too much sense for the Raiders to move there since they had the same color scheme as the Spurs.
The fans care more about their makeup foundation wearing off than they do the score.
Our owner’s dad moved the team to LA only to discover that all the football fans there would rather watch games on TV than sit in traffic for an hour to drive five miles and watch in person. So he moved them back to Oakland where the fans show nothing but love in spite of years of futility. As reward the current owner wants to move back to LA. Probably because it has more chain restaurants. One of his favorite restaurants is PF Changs and his haircut looks like a lettuce cup.
They are threatening to move to LA and share a stadium with one of their most hated rivals, which is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. Fuck these guys.
In a league where 32 teams split $7.2 billion dollars last season in revenue sharing - $226.4 million per team - our owner was seen flying SOUTHWEST AIRLINES to Denver to recruit Jack Del Rio. He probably sat in a middle seat, too.
My best friend has season tickets for the Raiders. He invited me to the HOU @ OAK game last season for what was my first attendance of a professional football game. Needless to say the experience did not disappoint. These were the highlights:
- The walk from the BART station, across the sky bridge, down to the front gates, up the ramps and to your seat is the real-world equivalent of the Troll Market scene from Hell Boy 2; a smorgasbord of goblins, witches, and Lovecraftian horrors offering apothecaric concoctions and libations from open containers.
- As we arrived at our seats with our drinks, we both had a double-take after the announcer shouted “HOUSTON, TOUCHDOWN #99”, marking JJ Watt’s first ever receiving TD. My colleague joked that he felt he “must be on acid” due to the absurdity of it all. The profusely sweating Raider fan (is there any other kind?) next to him interjected with an overly earnest: “yea, I’m trippin’ too, dawg!”
- Every single bathroom had an identical “meeting-of-the-minds” scenario where 4-9 full grown men in stained clothing congregated at the entrance of the restroom to smoke Black & Milds and foster camaraderie by calling every single person who walked in that wasn’t covered in dark clothing derogatory names.
- Whilst relieving myself, a half-naked man staggered to a trough urinal and began violently vomiting into it with his head fully engulfed in the basin. He subsequently passed out under it.
- Adjacent to our seats was the infamous Black Hole section. We saw three different fights break out. All three instances were Raider fans fighting each other.
- During the trek back after the game, we overheard some fans discussing how the team could easily go 6-10 or 8-8 if “Dennis Allen just starts making adjustments at the half.” My friend had to stop walking for a minute because he was shaking with both laughter and rage.
Every stereotype about Raiders fans (methhead biker, tatted up Nortegno gangbanger, escaped psych ward Darth Vader cosplayer) is 100% true.
They want every shit-tier, washed-up veteran FA because they somehow think that bringing him into the black hole will energize him into running for a thousand yards (fuck MJD) or posting 18 sacks. Our coaching staff fucking sucks & our facilities were constructed by the Byzantines; how could you possibly think that someone would come here & do anything more than play below average & cash a paycheck? Draft day is even worse. Raider fans just yell random names that they heard Mel Kiper talk about once in between hits of meth. Some of them wanted us to trade up to get Dante Fowler because SEC. Fuck this team & everyone that surrounds it with a wooden bat. Just let me watch them go 5-11 in peace.
The fans are so oddly jazzed about the new weight facility Del Rio is establishing at the team facility, you would think the Raiders are copying the technology responsible for training Ivan Drago.
My team sucks because the Tom Brady getting suspended for deflating footballs was the happiest I’ve felt about football in over a decade.
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Photo via AP