Why the Oakland Raiders’ fans are not the worst


Apr 30, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; St. Louis Rams fan Tyler Funneman (left) and Oakland Raiders fans Anna Cornwell (middle) and Jesse Cornwell cheer at DraftTown in Grant Park before the 2015 NFL Draft at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

So a recent study indicated the Raiders have the worst fan base? I believe this is the same study that said the Cowboys have the best fan base…? What kind of messed up world was that survey taken in?

It does not take market research or a scientific survey to understand how outrageous that is. Simply interview one of the thousands of passionate people in Raider Nation, from Los Angeles, to Oakland or even in London.

I never truly understood the power of Raider Nation until I took a pilgrimage to the Bay for my first Raider game, last December. Being a So-Cal native, you hear so many bad paradigms about Raider fans. Maybe I was too impaired with happiness, but I didn’t see any drunken idiots, brawls or gang banging (Cough: Dodger Stadium or Laker Games).

Instead, I saw people of all social categories, race, economic status united under the Silver and Black. I saw children chanting, “R-A-I-D-E-R-S.” I saw people sharing barbeque, sandwiches, cocktails and brews. I saw white, black and brown all equally represented. Even the opposing Bills fans next to my camp seemed to be comfortable enjoying themselves.

Forget the face paint and crazy costumes the Black Hole is known for. I saw jerseys from all across Raider Nation. We do spend our dollars on jersey’s as Derek Carr and Khalil Mack both cracked the 25. Amari Cooper’s jersey has been there before, and we all know how popular a Charles Woodson jersey is.

Maybe we don’t pack the stadium like we used to. Maybe it has something to do with our team’s 13 season playoff drought or a down economy. Or maybe it is the tarp that covers up the upper-deck that hurts our attendance. Either way, fans as far as Los Angeles get upset when their Raiders aren’t on local CBS.

Raider Nation does show their fanhood on twitter. How many times has Raider Nation cracked a national trending topic? There was Kenny Stabler last week, #StarttheCarr and our infamous #DjaxtoOakland.

How about our recruitment of Charles Woodson, when Raider Nation flooded the practice facility for a welcoming? How about the fans that rally in Los Angeles every few months? How about those who spend time creating graphics and art on social media to show their team? How about those fans that still fill the top floor despite constantly flooding toilets?

Any journalist or blogger can tell you Raider fans are the first people to call you out. They will also chim-in discussion with your story or tell you good job when you do it right.

From the 70s’ teams to the 80s’ teams and 90s’ teams and even the losers of 00s’, Raider fans take pride in their team.  That why Players love Raider fans, because they respect them even when they move on. We defend our players against the media, but we also support our Raiders beat reporters who supply us with information.

Our team has not even been good in more than a decade, and we are still some of the most engaged fans around. That’s why people give us a bad rep and love to hate us.

The Raiders don’t have the team or the facilities that the Cowboys or Patriots fans. However, we still continue to be one of the most passionate and engaged fans in all of professional sports.

So what if we aren’t the band wagoners who show fan hood with dollars. Raider Nation shows fan hoods with their heart not just on Sunday, but every day.

Maybe we don’t have as many people jumping on our bandwagon, anymore. Who cares? We don’t want the casual fan. We want fans who bleed silver and black like we have for the past, losing decade. As long as I have been an adult, the Raiders have been terrible but I still support them with my eyes and heart.

It doesn’t take a doctor or marketer to know that. Just ask a fan or anyone who has actually talked to a Raider fan. They’ll tell you the Raiders don’t even belong in the bottom five of the worst fans.