As we celebrate Thanksgiving with our family and friends today, there are many things to be thankful for. As a Raiders fan, despite a 2-8 season thus far, Raider Nation should also pause and consider what football blessings it has to be thankful for.
The greatness of the Raiders lies in their future. – Al Davis
Mired in yet another losing season in Oakland, it’s hard for many in Raider Nation to find the positives. The euphoria that accompanied the return of Jon Gruden quickly gave way to anger and disappointment as superstar Khalil Mack was traded before the season began. After one winning season in almost two decades, fans had the idea the Raiders were on the cusp of returning to relevance and playoff football.
It was not to be.
A complete roster overhaul and rebuild are underway in Alameda leaving some fans despondent and with feelings of despair. Yet, as the Davis quote above declares, the future is where the Raiders are headed. It makes it hard in the now, but there are positives Raider Nation should reflect on as the franchise takes major steps toward future stability.
Like it or not, Jon Gruden isn’t going anywhere and his influence and power inside the Raiders organization will only grow. There is no telling if Reggie McKenzie will be around to see this team rebound, but Gruden’s 10-year contract means owner Mark Davis is all in on Chucky. One of the reasons the Raiders have been unable to find continuous success is due to a lack of stability in both the general manager and coaching spots. McKenzie has been in his role since 2012, but a revolving door of head coaches has created chaos and retarded development of key players throughout the years. if Gruden can execute in the area of the draft and player acquisition, and continue to develop players like Derek Carr, Kolton Miller, and Gareon Conley, the waters should calm and progress is being made.
Raiders New Stadium
Yes, it’s not in Oakland and the team is moving to Las Vegas. For those fans in the Bay Area who are losing their team, there are mixed emotions. Despite that, the franchise – for the first time in its illustrious history – will have its own home. With that home comes the most important thing of all: increased revenue. The ability of the Raiders to stabilize financially after exhausting all efforts to do so in Oakland mean the team will be on better footing for the next 30 years and beyond. Nevada stepped up and gave the Raiders an opportunity no other market did. The state-of-the-art stadium, located just off one of the most famous streets in the world, means the Raiders will have everything they need to be successful. Excuses will be a thing of the past as everything an NFL franchise needs (stadium, revenue, new practice facility) will be at their disposal in Las Vegas. Add in the excitement of one of the Top 5 destination cities in the world, the future for Raider Nation in Las Vegas is truly exciting.
That’s right: Raider Nation should be thankful for Raider Nation. There is not another fan base in all of pro sports as passionate and loyal as those fans that don the silver and black. Despite the years of futility and constant turmoil, Raider Nation remains strong and continues to grow. No other fan base has been as steady as Raider Nation. That includes moves from Oakland to Los Angeles, back to Oakland, and now to Las Vegas. Through it all, the fans who love their Raiders continue to be there year in, year out no matter what the team’s record. Yes, there are some fans who will leave the Nation due to the move to Nevada. Still, most will live and die with their team no matter where they call their home. It’s not easy (or even, perhaps, possible) for other NFL fans to understand Raider Nation and something tells me fans like that. A close-knit community, Raider Nation bands together when things are tough including now with the devastating fires in California. If you aren’t already, be thankful you’re a member of Raider Nation.
The old saying goes: it’s always darkest before the dawn. Despite some dark days in 2018, Raider Nation has much to be thankful for. Happy Thanksgiving from the entire staff here at Silver and Black Today.