The Oakland Raiders fans are the best in the world and deserve to be atop the Fandom 250 list, the ranking of the best fans in the world, and here is why.
Back in March, just after the Oakland Raiders’ rocked their fanbase once again with another pending move, I called Wayne Mabry.
Mabry is otherwise known as the Violator. For what seems like a lifetime, the Southern California resident has spent his fall weekends donned in full Raider Nation regalia. The Violator is one of the signature fans in a deep Raider Nation. If you’ve watched a quarter of one Raiders’ game in the past quarter-century-plus, you’ve seen the Violator. The game-day cameras love the Violator. He is the Raider Nation.
So, he was a perfect choice to get the pulse of the Raider Nation when the NFL owners approved the Raiders’ request to move to Las Vegas.
The move, which many Oakland fans were understandably in denial about and who never truly thought would happen, marked another difficult chapter in the team’s history. In 1982, the Raiders left their Oakland home (Oakland was a small college town atmosphere back then and fans and players were often friends) to move to Los Angeles. After 13 years in the SoCal, Legendary Oakland owner Al Davis, who died in 2011, moved his team back to Oakland.
Now, the Raiders will be leaving Oakland once again. The team’s new Las Vegas digs will open right off the Strip in less than three years. The Oakland Raiders are living on borrowed time.
Many fans were distraught. So, I went to the Violator to get his thoughts.
His thoughts were very clear. He will not desert the team because they are deserted their home again. The Violator said he feels bad the Raiders are leaving Oakland, but when the Las Vegas doors open in 2020, God willing, the Violator said will be in the Southern Nevada desert, rooting his beloved Raiders on.
For the most part, Violator speaks for all Raiders’ fans. Yes, some Raiders fans were so upset about this pending move they said they will leave the team behind. But there has been no evidence of it. The Raiders Nation is not only deep, but it is loyal. Raiders’ fans, both home and away, are packed with rabid fans donning the Silver and Black, representing their favorite team. As usual.
Think about it: What other fanbase would tolerate a team making three different moves? I can only think of one and it’s this one.
Loyalty beats trumps all in the Raider Nation. That’s why, for my money, they are an easy call for the best fanbase in sports and deserve the top spot in the Fandom 250. There are several great fanbases in sports. The Green Bay Packers. Ohio State football. North Carolina basketball. Chicago Cubs. But none are like the Raider Nation.
If you don’t believe it; just go to a Raiders’ game some time. And it doesn’t have to be a Raiders’ home game. This fanbase travels like a Big Ten team travels to the Rose Bowl. But this isn’t going from Wisconsin to Pasadena in the winter. Raiders’ games in Kansas City bring out the Raider Nation. Raiders fans will freeze for their team – and pay hundreds of dollars in flight and accommodations to do it.
I covered the Raiders on the road for several years. Regardless of the destination, the airplane, hotels. bars and stadium parking lot were swarmed by Silver and Black.
And this was when the team was losing. The Raiders just ended a 14-year playoff drought last year. The win-loss column doesn’t matter to the Raider Nation. The Raiders play, they show up and root.
So, yes, it doesn’t matter if the Raiders continue to move their home base and it doesn’t matter if they win or lose. The Raider Nation is always screaming its collective head off for their Raiders.
How can any other fanbase top that?