Watching Raiders Evokes Pity, Nothing Else

Earlier this afternoon I saw Stephen Jackson of the Rams run through a big ol' hole in the Oakland Raiders' defense and score easily. As he made his turn at the back of the endzone a Raiders fan threw beer at him. (I assume it was beer-it was liquid anyway) Unfortuately for those zealous Oakland fans, who deserve better, and unfortunately for football fans in general, that beverage-chucking fan may have been the most passionate opposition Jackson saw all day. The NFL really needs the Raiders to get well and it's never going to happen as long as owner Al Davis continues to think he's the smartest guy in the room. Al keeps pushing all the buttons and the Raiders just get worse and worse. And the NFL needs them to get good in the same way Major League Baseball needs the Yankees to be good. These leagues need these teams to attract publicity and emotional reaction the way lightning rods attract lightning (I guess). Whether or not the metaphor works, the point is, it's no fun to watch the Raiders if they stink so bad I don't even bother to hate them. There was a time when the Raiders inspired passion, like the Yankees do. They made the playoffs every year in a time when only 4 teams advanced from each conference. They were good, they swaggered and they, usually, beat you. You either loved 'em or hated 'em and that was good for interest in the game and the league and for TV ratings. Here in the Midwest, we generally hated them, but it doesn't matter how you felt, the important thing was that you felt something. Right now, the Raiders only inspire ridicule or pity and that's too bad. Not because I like them, cause I don't. It's too bad because the NFL doesn't have a "Yankees" team that inspires passion from almost everyone. Even though the league is properous, it'd be more fun with somebody to hate.

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