Oakland Raiders: Fan Corner: A Regular Joe’s Silver and Black Life and Game Prediction for Monday Night Football

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Sep 15, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders cornerback Phillip Adams (28) and free safety Usama Young (26) combine for the sack against Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Chad Henne (7) during the fourth quarter at O.co Coliseum. The Oakland Raiders defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars 19-9. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Sep 15, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders cornerback Phillip Adams (28) and free safety Usama Young (26) combine for the sack against Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Chad Henne (7) during the fourth quarter at O.co Coliseum. The Oakland Raiders defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars 19-9. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

This is a life-story presented to me in an email by a good friend of mine, Mark Taylor.  Mark has a lot of football knowledge, and, in my opinion, he is a go-to person for me to bounce ideas off of.  I asked him to tell me the story of his “Silver and Black Life” as he was growing up, when he started liking the Oakland Raiders, and his opinion of their chances in 2013 and for the upcoming Monday Night Football game against the Denver Broncos.  Here is Mark’s story:

First, let me qualify what I am about to pontificate with an appropriate disclaimer and dossier.  I am not a pro football or Oakland Raiders guru.  I claim to possess no expert inside information from the NFL, the Raiders, or anyone else.  I never played professional or even college football.  In fact, I was only an average athlete in high school myself.  What I am however, is an avid sports fan with a particular insatiable love for the game of football.  I loved it from the moment I was introduced to it in my buddy’s backyard when I promptly got knocked on my behind by his big brother and hit the ground so hard it made my teeth rattle….but, without knowing exactly how or why, I had, “made the block”, and was praised for springing my buddy for a touchdown.  I was smitten by my new true love and have spent the rest of my life with it listed as my favorite pastime.

Over the years I have played the game in backyards, front yards, side yards, empty lots, open fields, school yards, beaches, and regular football fields.  I played two hand touch, flag, tackle, and even a version of the game that looked closer to a cross between rugby, wrestling, and football that we called brawler.  I played in high school of course, and even played in a full pad tackle game for a charity event as an adult.  After running out of sufficient size and athletic ability to compete at the next level, I truly missed that physical connection with the sport.  So after my boys got big enough, I began volunteering and coaching as they then began to enjoy the sport.  I spent the next 20 years coaching Pop Warner and High School football to satisfy my need to participate.

Of course, I also began studying the game at a young age.  When I was a kid, we had a black and white TV that got three channels, and I was not the one who got to choose the channel.  Unfortunately my parents were not football fans.  I took advantage of my uncles who liked to watch the college bowl games and would watch with them during the holidays.  I remember the hype and excitement of the “Bowl” games, especially the Cotton Bowl and the Sugar Bowl.  I became an Arkansas Razorback fan the year they went undefeated, 1964, and watched the Game of the Century in 1969, when they lost 15-14 to the dreaded Longhorns.  Occasionally my dad would watch pro football on a Sunday, if nothing else was on and mom was out shopping.  During those times I was glued to my dad’s side.

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Topics: Ben Davidson, Darren McFadden, Dennis Allen, Denver Broncos, Oakland Raiders, Reggie McKenzie, Terrelle Pryor

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  • Raider Grant

    Mark: I’ve read this piece multiple times & just want too keep reading it over & over again! I couldn’t agree with you more & find nothing I would disagree with! Kudos Mark Kudos! I definitely find the part how no one in “The New Regime” has any part of what is taking place,but credit our boys(especially Pryor) for the swag they have brought back to Raider Nation. Its like you hoped inside my head & spoke from my heart! Some people truly think alike, and your words have or will open the blinds eyes. I believe your blog/article should be narrated on Just Blog Baby’s next podcast!!!!! Lets go SHOCK THE WORLD with a win on Monday Night Football! Go Raiders!

  • Mark from Section 122

    That’s awful nice, thanks, but it is from the heart, true sincere optimism for my Raiders chances is something I haven’t been able to muster up for a long time. I almost forgot what it felt like. Go RAIDERS!! Best case scenario; we win by a point in overtime on a 64 yard field goal kicked by Janikowski.

  • Bob

    Great article. I started rooting for the Raiders at age eight in 1963 at Frank Youll Filed.

    I like the 64 yard winning field goal scenario too!

  • Freeholder1776

    Excellent article, but I think you’re delusional about the “upset the Broncos at home” thing. Wouldn’t surprise me at all if the Raiders kept it closer than the Vegas 15 point spread, however.

  • Mark from Section 122

    Thank you, and delusional is a word I would have chosen for such a bold prediction by myself or anyone else during the tenure of the Raiders teams of the last few years. However, the point of my article isn’t canted towards any unrealistic claim of the prowess of the Raiders or alleging their superiority in the NFL. Rather, it is about the rekindled spark of hope ignited in a devoted and yet disappointed fan. Not only that, but an extremely loyal fan who waited so long and weathered so many storms in order to personally experience the magic of the Raiders mystique by purchasing season tickets, just to be exposed to such an extended period of substandard performance that he had become accustomed to mediocrity. So much so, that, despite still being a fan, he had become overtly pessimistic and the ability to enjoy the genuine sensation of true excitement and hopeful expectation had been nearly extinguished.

    So, instead of delusional, I would employ the term “hopefully optimistic”, or if you choose, and still (rightfully) possess much more pessimism than I, “overly optimistic.” For me it is just nice to be able to genuinely believe victory in the face of the odds aligned against the Raiders is a real possibility for a change. That is the feeling that every true Raider fan wants to hold onto, the hope for a win and the real chance that it could happen even if it is ugly or a fluke (remember Just Win Baby?). Even if the team falls short, that brief period of time when I was able to entertain the notion that we had a chance to win will have been great. It feels so much better than the dread I felt in the recent past after watching my team fail so miserably and even snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in games where they had performed well, that I wouldn’t even entertain the notion in the same circumstances. I would love to be in a position where I could just blame the officials making up an imaginary rule to explain a loss again. Just as in my favorite poem, The Man Who Thinks He Can, by Walter Wintle, you have to believe in yourself to win. Our players are starting to believe in themselves, and if they are starting to believe, I intend to start believing right along with them.

    I’ll share the poem, which I recited to my players before every game I ever coached:
    The Man Who Thinks He Can
    by Walter Wintle

    If you think you are beaten, you are.

    If you think you dare not, you don’t.

    If you’d like to win but you think you can’t,

    It’s almost a cinch you won’t.

    If you think you’ll lose, you’re lost,

    For out of the world we find

    Success begins with a fellow’s will -

    It’s all in the state of mind.

    If you think you’re outclassed, you are;

    You’ve got to think high to rise;

    You’ve got to be sure of yourself before

    You can ever win a prize.

    Life’s battle doesn’t always go

    To stronger or faster men;

    But sooner or later the man who wins,

    Is the man who thinks he can.

  • Freeholder1776

    Great poem and absolutely true. If you think you can’t…you can’t. Just as negative attitudes are a self-fulfilling prophecy, so are positive attitudes.

    Good luck Monday night. I think you’ll need a lot of it. And yes, I am a Broncomaniac.

  • AnthonyMills

    Tp and the Raiders upset Peyton I wish it was the playoffs (manning choking moments). ;-)