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My How The Raiders Have Fallen...

**Today's guest post is brought to you by Phillip Barnett (I'm So Hideous) of the Bakersfield Californian. He's a great friend of ours here at ETSF and gets the platform today. Read up and enjoy!**

I woke up early Thursday morning and felt better than I had felt in a long time: no, it wasn’t because I was finally getting my financial aid check (finally) it was because it was the first game since December 23, 2007 where JaMarcus Russell would not be the starting quarterback of the Oakland Raiders – and at that moment on Thursday morning, I could have honestly named only three things that gave me a better feeling than what I had right then and there (I’ll let you use your imagination… or don’t). I was honestly excited about the beginning of the Bruce Gradkowski era…

…Then reality set in. I remember a while ago, my boss (also a Raiders fan, jackpot) told me a story about Marcus Allen (still my favorite football player to this day) being interviewed after his retirement, still bitter as ever about what Al Davis did to him. Allen said something along the lines of “I have a picture of Al Davis in my freezer, and the Raiders will never win a Super Bowl as long as that picture is there.” Considering some think Davis is Hades, it’s an ironic place to put his picture, no?

Thinking about that story, I realized that I really don’t even know who the hell Bruce Gradkowski is and that there is still no hope. I shouldn’t have to look up where my starting quarterback went to college ( Toledo , who knew?) and, at the very least, I should be able to spell his name (I copied and pasted it). Not knowing anything about your starting quarterback is a harsh reality for a football fan – this kind of miseducation means only one thing: you’re rooting for the bottom of the barrel…

…That harsh reality shows how far the Raiders have fallen. It was just in 2002 when the Raiders were an offensive juggernaut leading the league in total yards per game, Rich Gannon, who won the MVP that season, threw for just under 4,700 yards with a 26-10 TD/INT ratio to help lead them to an 11-5 season. Just one year later, the running game couldn’t get going early, and the Raiders started off to a 2-5 start before Rich Gannon got hurt and ruin my football life for seven years running…

…In less than a decade, the Raiders have gone from the top of the AFC to the bottom of the NFL. Raiders fans have had to endure massive amounts of ridicule in recent years, especially living out here in California, where people are rarely true fans of their hometown teams. My best friends are fans of the 49ers, Rams, Cowboys, Bengals and Eagles. I’m constantly getting text messages on Sundays telling me how awful the Raiders are playing. For a while, my roommate, Dhevin, a die hard 49ers fan, wound text me “incomplete” every time JaMarcus missed on a pass. He later started texting me “incompl” to be more accurate than JaMarcus…

…As if getting it from my friends wasn’t enough, it seems like every week I read something worse about the Raiders. There were JaMarcus comparisons to Ryan Leaf, stories about Hunter Smith having a higher passer rating for passes over 20 yards than JaMarcus (DUDE IS A PUNTER), they put the finishing touches of the worst 100-game stretch in NFL history in a Week 4 loss to the Texans, which made them 25-75 since their loss to Tampa Bay in the 2002 Super Bowl. Even worse, Bleacher Report decided that the Raiders were the second worst run franchise in the NFL. Not only have they been terrible, but because of Al Davis’ unwillingness to let anyone else have any say in how the Raiders are run, they’re going to continue to be terrible until he dies – and I’m not sure if that is even a possibility…

…I wish I could have written this as a one of those patented ETSF fix-a-team segments, but their situation is worse than the Browns – and Ed wanted to get rid of ALMOST EVERYONE! It runs deeper than that. To fix this team, you’d almost have to wish for the end of someone’s life. And as much as I love the Raiders, I just couldn’t do that. I just hope all of my fellow Raiders fans can stick it out as I have. No one stays terrible forever (EVEN THE BENGALS ARE HAVING A GOOD SEASON!). Don’t pray for the death of Davis, lets just hope that Marcus Allen decides to take that picture out of his freezer someday…


-P. Barnett aka "I'm So Hideous"


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