The Oakland Raiders have one of the proudest and finest franchises in all the land. A team that started with a band of outcasts in the early 60’s made being misfits an identity. That identity lived in Al Davis, and has been passed on throughout generations of those who choose to fly the skull and crossbones proudly. Reggie Mckenzie has promised change to this storied franchise, but he has no intention of changing anything other then the check marks in the win column (and Al’s horrid defense). This is still Oakland land of the misfits home of the bully, and win or lose opponents will still feel the sting of every hit and the brutality this franchise has always brought to the game.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are one of those few franchises who also participate in a different brand of football. Formed in the fires and hardships of the industrial town in which they play for, the Steelers have always played the game with a work mans attitude. Their franchise goes all the way back to the 30’s. Every year this franchise is one that can be a potential super bowl contender (not that they need another one).
The Steelers represent everything the Raiders are not. The Steelers are the Starsky to Oakland’s Hutch, a disciplined workman mentality against the swagger of a street brawling loose cannon mentality. Despite the rivalry between the two franchises both fan bases can respect one another knowing they are the salt and pepper of the NFL. Come Sunday, what Oakland and Pittsburgh look like on paper will not matter. For when two storied teams such as these clash, the game is decided on pure brutality. Fans will be able to relive the days when the likes of Ken Stabler, Cliff Branch, Fred Biletnikoff, Willie Brown, and George Atkinson squared off against Terry Bradshaw, Lynn Swann, and the Steel Curtain.
Not only is this a great match up of rival teams, this is also the perfect time for Oakland to revive any chance of having a winning season. Winning Sunday will give the Raiders the confidence and reassurance of Raider Nation. Greg Knapp should be wanting this win more then anybody. His wretched zone blocking and horrid play calling might be overlooked by the Nation if Oakland wins. This game will also provide Darren McFadden a chance to prove himself against a team who prides themselves on defense. McFadden is surely frustrated after the first two games, and it would be nice to see him prove to the NFL that he is not going the way of CJ2k. Of course, it would also be nice to see Greg Knapp mysteriously vanish and Al Saunders take back the reigns, but I’m not banking on that either.
So, on Sunday whether or not we see a one sided game expect to get some physical play. If we are lucky maybe we can see Richard Seymour go Chris Brown on Big Ben all over again! However, the win would be just as good.