Ask Raider Nation: Mark Cunningham


December 15, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; General view of the line of scrimmage between the Oakland Raiders and the Kansas City Chiefs during the first quarter at Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Every week on Wednesday, I will post this segment, “Ask Raider Nation.”  It is a segment dedicated to Raiders Fan’s who want to give their opinion on what’s happening in the world of the Raiders.  All interested fan’s should email me and let me know they would like to have their views heard.  Just Blog Baby and Fansided have a huge fan-base, so it’s a chance to communicate to the world. 

Direct from Cairo, MO, it’s Mark Cunningham.  Mark has been an Oakland Raiders fan since he started watching NFL Football as a young teenager.

Mark recalls when he picked the Raiders as his team; “It was during a KC Chiefs game on TV with the Raiders.  I came into the house from outside and sat next to my dad, who was a Chiefs fan.  Len Dawson went back to pass and Ben Davidson grabbed him.  Dawson wouldn’t go down.  The refs blew the whistle, but Davidson finished the sack by throwing Dawson to the ground.  Both benches cleared as the fight went on.  I asked dad what happened?  He told me that those damned Raiders should be put in jail, they only want to fight.  I asked where they were playing, and he told me in Kansas City.”  Dad continued, “They don’t care where they’re at, they always have to be the meanest team.”  “Right then I said I liked them, because they were afraid of no one.”

“They say your wedding is a great event, well, for some of us.  Others say it’s the birth of your children.  For me?  It had to be my 17th birthday.  On January 9, 1977 the Oakland Raiders finally reached the promised land and defeated the Minnesota Vikings to win the Super Bowl.  I still have every magazine article and newspaper I could find with the story of that great day.”

“As for this year’s version of the Raiders, I really believe two teams are hoping to make a move towards the front of the draft.  The New York Jets own two third round picks and some fourth round picks and would give up one or two more picks in the 2015 draft to grab Clowney if possible.  I’m not sure he’ll be there at 5, but the possibility is intriguing.  The biggest stunner moving forward will be the 49ers, who once again have too many picks and little room on the roster.  They will gladly send their first, one of their seconds, and thirds, and a fourth, and two seventh’s, and next year’s second for an opportunity to get into the top of the draft and grab Clowney or perhaps Mack.”

“Being in SEC country now, I do believe JC is a once in a decade player and worth a shot with the right team.  We need players, and this draft does have a lot of talent to offer.  Trading back is not such a bad idea if we can gain some quality draft picks in the top part of each round, especially without us having a fifth or sixth round pick.”

Well Mark, I definitely applaud you for staying faithful to the Oakland Raiders while being smack dab in the middle of Kansas City Chiefs and St. Louis Rams territory.  Thank you for sharing that wonderful moment and memory of becoming a Raiders fan.  One thing I hope, or more like wish, the Raiders could do is get back some of that “bad-boy” image from the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s.  Teams feared the Raiders.  Sometimes, the football game was won just by the Raiders stepping off the plane or bus.

I don’t know that the Raiders will ever regain that Ben Davidson, Jack Tatum, Ted Hendricks, or Howie Long mentality of ripping the quarterbacks helmets off as they are slammed into the ground, or close-lining a receiver as he goes across the middle of the field.  I wish the Raiders could, but the game has evolved to protect the quarterbacks and receivers.  Still, there needs to be some meanness instilled in the Raiders defense that can strike that fear into opposing teams.

I totally agree with Mark, the Raiders would do best to trade down in order to acquire more draft picks.  Clowney at #5 is a very enticing prospect, and teams would be throwing picks around in order to slide up to get him.  Stranger things have happened in the NFL Draft, and I’m sure Reggie McKenzie has a plan of attack.

Once again, thank you to Mark for allowing Raider Nation to have a peak into his life, and a chance to share in a memory or two from his childhood.  That first Super Bowl win was awesome, and it’s a great day to share with the Oakland Raiders.

Again, if anybody out there in Raider Nation would like a chance to have their thoughts heard, simply email me with your request at, or follow me on Twitter @EC4Life1012.  Thanks for all the support, and Go Raiders!

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