Thanks to the bold thought leadership of Enix, the Oakland Raiders have become GWJ’s official Adopted Bandwagon NFL Team of 2016 Because Everything Else About 2016 is Hot Garbage and This is the One Sign of the Apocalypse That is Actually Fun.
In the spirit of this exciting new development, I am dedicating this week’s post to giving everyone a little bit of knowledge about the Oakland Raiders, upon which we can build this strong and meaningful adopted fandom.
* The Oakland football franchise was hastily formed in 1961, when the Minneapolis AFL franchise bolted from the league to become the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings instead, leaving the AFL scrambling for a replacement. Oakland was not an obvious choice (fan interest and facility availability were both issues), but Chargers owner Barron Hilton threatened to pull his franchise from the league if another West Coast team was not added.
* Note that this was in the early 1960s, when the idea of getting in your car and driving from Oakland to San Francisco to watch a football game didn’t make you want to kill yourself. Oakland was 49ers territory at that time.
* When the team formed, a name-the-team contest was held by the Oakland Tribune to determine the franchise’s name. The winning name was the Oakland Señors. It was changed to Raiders prior to the start of their inaugural season, after the Señors name became the butt of jokes in the Oakland area.
* The Oakland Raiders played their first season at San Francisco’s Kezar Stadium. Towards the end of the season, Candlestick Park opened, and the Raiders played the final 3 games of the season there. They remained in Candlestick through their second season. The 49ers would not move to Candlestick Park for another decade.
* Threats of leaving town have been a part of the Oakland Raiders since the very beginning. While in Candlestick, the original managing partner, F. Wayne Valley, threatened to move the team out of the area unless a stadium was built for the team in Oakland. They played the next few years at a tiny stadium in town while the Oakland Coliseum was built.
* John Madden was the youngest coach ever to reach 100 victories, at only 42 years old.
* In Super Bowl XV, the Raiders became the first ever wildcard team to win the championship.
* Hall of Fame center Jim Otto wore jersey number “00”, which became a disallowed jersey number when the NFL standardized numbers in 1973. Otto and one other player (Oilers WR Ken Burrough) were grandfathered in.
* Carl Weathers was a linebacker for the Raiders for two years.
* Dan Pastorini, while a member of the Raiders, posed nude in Playgirl in 1980. You can find your own links.
* Three players named Napoleon have played for the Raiders, all within the ‘90s and ‘00s. The most well known was RB Napoleon Kaufman and LB Napoleon Harris, but before them was RB Napoleon McCallum, best known for a devastating knee injury (potentially NSFL) that ended his career. McCallum is now the director of community development for the Las Vegas Sands Corp, the group behind the Las Vegas stadium plan attempting to bring the Raiders to town.
* In the ‘70s, the Raiders were famous for their use of Stickum, a sticky yellow substance that players used to help them catch and hold onto footballs. Fred Biletnikoff was one of its most famous users; it’s hard to find a Biletnikoff game photo in which he’s not smeared in yellow. But it was defensive back Lester Hayes’ use of Stickum which brought the NFL to outlaw its use in 1981, a rule forever after known as the “Lester Hayes Rule”.
* Hayes is not the only Raider to have a rule named after him. The “Lyle Alzado Rule” was implemented following the 1982 season. The purpose of the rule? To prohibit beating a player with their own helmet. Officially known as Rule 12, Section 2, Article 15, “Use of Helmet as a Weapon”.
* And we’re not quite done with rules colloquially named after players. In a 1978 preseason game (that’s right, I said preseason), safety Jack Tatum made a devastating hit on a defenseless Darryl Stingley, which ultimately left Stingley paralyzed. The following offseason, the league banned helmet-to-helmet hits. Though this rule is only sometimes referred to as the “Jack Tatum Rule”, the Washington Post’s August 1979 article detailing the new rules for the upcoming season referenced Tatum specifically.
* We’re all about drafted kickers in these threads, and of course we all know about Sebastian Janikowski, but the Raiders have a history of drafting kickers before that. They did so repeatedly in the 1970s, with John Riley (1970 14th round), Rod Garcia (1974 7th round), Fred Steinfort (1976 5th round), and Rolf Benirschke (1977 12th round). And of course wedged in there was 1973 1st round punter Ray Guy.
* Teddy Atlas III, son of the legendary boxing trainer and commentator Teddy Atlas Jr., is the scouting coordinator for the Raiders under GM Reggie McKenzie.
* The official Raiders theme song is The Autumn Wind:
In 2009, though, Ice Cube wrote another theme song for the team, Raider Nation:
* Finally, as is an absolute requirement for any Raiders fandom, just click this and watch 240 pounds accelerate like you’ve never seen before or since:
Kansas City at Carolina: Kansas City held off BORTLESMANIA last week, while Carolina sat on the ball and kept the Rams from doing much more than making it slightly interesting at the very end. The Chiefs are expected to have Alex Smith back this week, which is good given that Nick Foles injured his throwing arm during the Jaguars game and is only questionable himself, and Tyler Bray is out. The state of KC’s pass rush is up in the air, as Justin Houston has been activated from PUP but is questionable to play, and Tamba Hali is uncertain to play himself. On top of that, Jeremy Maclin won’t be back this week. All of which would seem to give Carolina a fighting chance, though with Michael Oher, Ryan Kalil, and Gino Gradkowski all uncertain to play, who knows what offensive line the Chiefs will be rushing against. I feel like this is a trap for the Chiefs, and I’ll go Carolina.
Los Angeles at NY Jets: So is this the week we finally see Jared Goff? (Spoiler: probably not). Is this the week we finally see… Bryce Petty? There’s better odds there, as Ryan Fitzpatrick suffered an MCL sprain this week. He’s still expected to play, but obviously it wouldn’t take much for that to change, or for him to leave the game early. Looking at the injury lists, the Rams are shockingly low on injuries: only five more or less nobodies on IR, and just three questionable players. The Jets list, meanwhile, looks more like a memorial wall, with 8 IR players, one out, one doubtful, and 15 questionable players, with a lot of actual contributors in there. Neither team is any good, but I’ll pick the team that isn’t missing an entire wing of their active roster. Los Angeles.
Dallas at Pittsburgh: The Dak Attack rolls on. Things just got interesting, though, as Tony Romo has now been medically cleared to play. Do the Cowboys make a change? It looks like it won’t happen this week, as the team appears to not be activating him this week, delaying the “is he a starter or a backup now?” question for at least another week. After starting 4-1, Pittsburgh has dropped 3 straight, putting their lead in the AFC North in danger. Pittsburgh has a lot of injuries at WR, with DHB likely to miss the rest of the season, and Sammie Coates and Markus Wheaton nursing injuries that put their availability in question. I don’t doubt Dallas’s production, but I do think it is tough to expect a team like Pittsburgh to lose 4 straight. Plus, a Dallas loss would suddenly make the Dak/Romo question a whole lot more dramatic, and drama is what Dallas is for. Pittsburgh.
Seattle at New England: After a very slow start to his Seattle tenure, Jimmy Graham has come on strong, more closely resembling the player that made a name for himself in New Orleans. He’s PFF’s 3rd highest graded TE, behind only Greg Olsen and the Patriots’ Rob Gronkowski. Seattle’s RB situation remains in flux, as CJ Prosise appears to be challenging Christine Michael for significant carries, while Thomas Rawls returns to practice but will be inactive for another week. New England’s own backfield is in flux itself, as Dion Lewis is set to return to a group that had settled on a balance of LeGarrette Blount on the ground and James White as the receiving back. Regardless of the backs, this game comes down to whether or not Brady can be stopped, and I don’t see it this weekend. New England.
Cincinnati at NY Giants: You can be forgiven for not realizing that the Giants are a 5-3 ballclub right now. After starting the year 2-3, they’ve ripped off 3 straight wins, all decided by a score or less. Cincinnati has underperformed where they were last year, even though Dalton an the passing attack is 4th in the league, and the run game is 7th. The team has had difficulty turning yards into scores though, as they’re only 21st in offensive points scored. They are on a two game non-loss streak though, so that’s something. One thing that should help Cincy is a lack of turnovers, as the Giants win streak has included some big takeaway games (4 takeaways in the Los Angeles game that they only won by 7). Both teams are relatively healthy, so I’m taking Cincinnati to hang onto the ball and not give the Giants the advantageous field position they’ve needed.
Week 9 Results
Rat Boy: 4-1
Running Man: 1-4
Season to Date
Rat Boy: 24-20
Running Man: 14-10