Last Friday, The Steering Committee for the Oakland Raiders Booster Clubs presented Justin Fargas and Nnamdi Asomugha with the Commitment to Excellence Award for 2008.
There is no higher honor for a Raider player as it is an award voted on by teammates. Fargas has won the award two years running and this marks the second time that Asomugha was presented with the prestigious honor.
Asomugha was out of the country and was unable to be in attendance to receive the award with Fargas.
When Justin Fargas came forward to accept the award, he gave a rousing speech that was being shown on Raiders.com this week. I hope the video becomes available in the near future. It is a must watch for any Raider fan.
Anyone who frequents JBB knows that I’m a Cable guy. I’ve bought in and I’m pot committed to the Tom Cable era!
Let me first backtrack a little and own up to something before I spew another word of praise for Coach Cable.
After Cable took over for Lane Kiffin last season, I was apprehensive. All I knew of Cable was his hideous record as a head coach at the University of Idaho and seeing him coordinate an anemic offense at UCLA.
The six years of misery had finally taken their toll on me.
I was so disgusted by the team’s performance in the three games that followed the win over the Jets that my bet felt all too safe.
What did impress me was despite loss after loss. Tom Cable never seemed to waiver. In interviews and press conferences, Cable spoke as if his team was just working though a bad spell and nothing more. I admired his determination but felt he was just selling us the company line.
Then something unexpected happened. Something that made me reverse field and ultimately cost me my foolish bet. The Raiders beat the Broncos in Denver. Now, had it been a close game, I might have actually been mad that I lost my stupid wager. But the 31-10 final score was so one sided and impressive that I gladly handed over my funds and watched on as the Raiders won their final two games of the season to give us all a glimpse of what is possible.
So, I swallowed my misdirected pride and re-upped for Tom Cable.
This off-season has only helped to reassure us all that the Re-Commitment to Excellence is underway.
The re-signings of Shane Lecheler and Nnamdi Asomugha, combined with the restructuring of numerous contracts, all point towards a locker room that has become a much happier environment filled with a new commitment to excellence.
The gloriuos Raider past is being echoed in the voices of the Raider present.
When Justin Fargas accepted his award last week, he gave a glowing review of Coach Cable. His words spoke to the hearts of players and fans alike. After seeing the brief snippet of Fargas’ speech, I was ready to suit up and run through a wall for Tom Cable.
Yup, I’m a going all-in for Coach Cable. Maybe I’m just some foolish fan who is grasping at straws, but when I hear Cable speak and see how the team has responded to him, I take pride.
Raider fans come from all walks of life.
Some were there from the genesis of the Raider organization and have followed ever since. Other fans became attracted to the Al Davis “Just Win Baby” mentality. Certain fans have been drawn in by the unwavering, maverick, style of business practice that Mr. Davis has employed over the years. Some have grown fond of the family environment that the Raider organization has fostered, a belief that every man and woman is equal and all are capable of greatness. For countless others, it is the great Raider tradition of playing with pride and honor for the colors you wear, the city you represent and the men who you go to war with.
I can think of no other Raider coach in recent memory (not even Gruden) who best exemplifies the passion and pride of Raider football.
I’m not going to try and convince you that the bad days are behind us and Tom Cable will have another Lombari in the trophy case next year. Believe me. I want that to happen as bad as the next person. The truth is that there is much more work to be done. Cable knows this, he’s a realist.
For now, I’ll just be content with seeing my favorite team line up on Sundays and go all out on every play. So long as every man in that locker room is playing with his heart on his sleeve, the wins will come. I have faith.
Justin Fargas is a guy who is easy to root for. Fargas is a Raider, and not just because he’s on the roster. He is a Raider because every time he gets the ball he runs with a reckless abandon. He is a Raider because he has done whatever he’s been asked to do in order to win. He is a Raider because he plays for the logo on his helmet and not the name on the back of his jersey. His Commitment to Excellence was founded long before he was presented with the award. Fargas is a Cable Guy.
Maybe I’m just too hopeful in the wake of six dreary years. Maybe I know nothing of what really is going on behind the closed doors of the Raider franchise.
One thing I do know is that the Autumn Wind is Tom Cable.
Yeah, I’m a big time Cable Guy! Who else is with me?