The fans of Raider Nation have been clear about which team they’re rooting for in this Sunday’s Super Bowl matchup with the majority cheering on the Seattle Seahawks. Most can’t stomach the idea of the hated Denver Broncos moving in to a tie with the Raiders for most Super Bowl wins in the AFC West. Some of the old school fans may still harbor some animosity for the former division rival Seahawks (in the AFC West from 1977-2002) but that sentiment is rare. The presence of some former Raiders in Super Bowl XLVIII may complicate things for some but just in case you weren’t sure who to root for this list might help swing your vote one way or the other.
Michael Huff (Safety) – The Raiders spent their seventh overall pick on Huff in 2006 ahead of first round standouts like Jay Cutler, Haloti Ngata, Tamba Hali, and Nick Mangold but at least they didn’t draft Matt Leinart. Huff never lived up to his billing as a top ten pick and was often the source of frustration for Raider Nation. He was always a solid player who could play both safety and corner but he was just never good enough to justify his draft position. After being released by the Raiders last offseason, Huff signed a three-year deal with the Ravens but was cut in November. He then signed on with the Broncos as a reserve player. Huff likely won’t see the field much on Sunday but he definitely won’t be getting any love from Raider Nation.
Greg Knapp (QB Coach) – Knapp is the QB coach for the Broncos, which means he is probably always buying John Elway dinner for giving him the easiest job in the NFL in “coaching” Peyton Manning. He probably shares some wisdom with backup Brock Osweiler but that might be all he does. If you ask most Raiders fans, they’ll tell you that Knapp was equally as useless in his tenures as the offensive coordinator in Oakland (2007-08, 2012). His second stint saw the Raiders become the worst rushing offense in the league and his gameplan every week seemed to revolve around Carson Palmer throwing the ball 100 times. Knapp is another not so beloved former Raider patrolling the sidelines on Sunday.
Chris Clemons (LB/DE) – Chris Clemons spent only one season in Oakland but still managed to make a significant impact with his pass rushing skills. Clemons notched eight sacks and two forced fumbles in situational pass rushing duty for the Raiders. His play priced out the Raiders and earned him a five-year, $18 million deal with the Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles traded him to Seahawks in 2010 after two years of subpar production (7 sacks) but Clemons rebounded in Seattle with 11 sacks in his first season. Clemons wasn’t in Oakland long enough for the fans to build any kind of emotional connection so most are indifferent to him winning or losing on Sunday.
Paul McQuistan (OT/OG) – Paul McQuistan was drafted by the Raiders in the third round of the 2006 NFL Draft and he was named a starter for his rookie season. McQuistan was benched six games in to the season but became a starter in 2007 before suffering an injury in 2008 and being released by the Raiders. He then bounced around the league a little bit with Jacksonville and Cleveland before landing in Seattle in 2011. McQuistan is a versatile backup and made a significant impact for Seattle with their rash of injuries to the offensive line. He won’t see much playing time on Sunday and is another player Raider Nation is very much indifferent about.
Zach Miller (TE) – Zach Miller was drafted in the second round of the 2007 NFL Draft and eventually made the Pro Bowl as an alternate for the 2010 season. He was the Raiders only consistent receiving threat for many years during the dark ages of the Jamarcus Russell era and even lead the team in receiving in 2008, 2009, and 2010. Miller had enough of Oakland and signed a big money five-year deal with the Seahawks in 2011. He hasn’t replicated his Raiders receiving numbers in Seattle but he has finally tasted success in the regular and postseason. Miller was a fan favorite and did great things in silver and black but he cant be faulted for seeking greener pastures up north. Many Raiders fans still wear his jersey on gameday at the Coliseum and would be just fine with the big tight end becoming a champion.
Tom Cable (OL coach/Assistant HC) – Tom Cable was promoted to interim head coach when the Raiders fired the ineffective Lane Kiffin. Cable became the team’s head coach for two more seasons and lead them to a combined record of 13-19. However in his second season the Raiders finished a strong 8-8 and went 6-0 in their division for the first time in franchise history. Unfortunately he had his fair share of controversy because of an incident involving an assault on a Raiders scout. That incident combined with Cable’s lack of star power was likely what lead Al Davis to now renew his contract. Cable landed on his feet as the offensive line coach and assistant head coach with Seattle less than two weeks later. Seattle’s offensive lines is now one of the best in the league and Cable deserves his fair share of the credit. There are a number of Raiders fans that remain thankful for his efforts in Oakland and wish the big man never left so its unlikely they would be upset if he wins a championship.
So there you have it. If the choice of who to root for wasn’t already easy for you, the list above should clear things up a bit. It comes down to one simple question, would you rather see underachievers like Huff and Knapp win a Super Bowl, or faithful Raiders servants like Miller and Cable win? That might as well be a rhetorical question.
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