My Own Fireside Chat
Jon York – Sep 21, 2012
I prefer not to write articles that aren't written as articles... You know, the kind where the writer comes off like they are talking to their buddies at the bar and at times passion and hope replace facts and realistic expectations. I know I know, I'm a blogger but I like to have a professional feel to what I put out there.
That being said, I think every once in awhile it's okay to go against type. So pull up a chair. I have to get a couple of things off my chest.
Raider backers are the most knowledgeable, loyal, and passionate fans there are. Everywhere you go, you'll find Raider fans. After a decade of poor performance, you find Raider fans. Win, lose, or tie Raider fans are there for their team...
...Yet Raider Nation sometimes end up after each other's throats.
I follow several different social media outlets on gameday. As outlined in my "Love/Hate: One Nation" piece there are several different types of Raider fans, similarly there are several different kinds of reactions (or overreactions) to the Raiders performance.
I expect to see some people criticize poor performances. Sometimes the criticism get pretty dramatic bordering on obnoxious... This past week I noticed people sending messages to the players reflecting that fan's frustration. Some fans were calling for players to be benched and/or coaches fired. Some people rattled off excuses for what transpired.
To me, those are all expected. I get frustrated - the running joke in my game watching circle is how many players I "fire" during the game. I freely admit that my reaction in the first 24 hours is not a true reflection of what I think of the team - it's passion bleeding through.
Many share that passion. Others call it "hating". Others question the fanhood of those doing the "hating".
It baffles me when people confuse criticism with hate. I can't understand how passion is misconstrued as "not being a true fan". Caring enough to get fired up is not a lack of fanhood - it's just how that particular person vents their frustration. I know I am speaking for myself and assume I am speaking for many when I say to take it easy on our fans after the game. Let them have their therapy the first 24 hours and then after that if you think they are being ridiculous the by all means, call them out on it...
Which brings me to my next point. It has only been two games people. Two games. The first one was a winnable game that saw the Raiders fall victim to one of the most unexpected injuries you can have. Folks jumped all over Dennis Allen for not having a backup long snapper... I'd bet dollars to doughnuts that ANY team would have suffered a similar fate under the same circumstances. Teams are too specialized and rosters too small to keep a player whose only job is to be the backup long snapper. So that first game wasn't perfect but it wasn't a reason to sour on this team. The second game had highs and lows and in the end was a blowout. Even then, a short week, a poor recent history inMiami, and the weather conspired to make it a difficult game.
Two games with extenuating circumstances... Yet some are already mailing in the season. I've seen people discussing who the Raiders would select with the number one overall pick. Really!? It's been two games people. Sure the team has severely underperformed and the road ahead isn't going to get any easier with the schedule, running game woes, and injury issues - but there is still a lot of road left.
I also want to touch on those excuses... The long snapper. The injuries. A new system. Heat. Some laugh and say "Raider fans will find an excuse for every loss." That could be true, but it is important to note that there is a fine line between excuses and reasons. There are legitimate reasons that games are winnable but slip away - it is okay to recognize these...
It's understandable to be frustrated after two weeks. Raider Nation feels very strongly about their team. There is talent on the roster. Even setting bias aside there was no reason to expect the first two games to turn out the way they did. We're all going to want to vent that in our own way.
Please, be aware of how you're venting it. Raider fans fighting each other in bathrooms? Why? One Nation, remember? Accusing other fans of not being "real" Raider fans? Getting so fired up about a loss is just the opposite in my opinion - it's showing how much the team's success means to you.
I just don't see how taking it all out on each other proves anything.
I also don't see how we should give up on the season already. The offense is still full of playmakers - and at least the offense is getting healthy. Reggie McKenzie isn't sitting still, he is identifying problem areas and trying to address them. There is still a lot of season left to turn things around. Let the running game get on track just once to give the team (and fans) confidence and this could be one of the surprise teams we see every year.
Or not... Regardless - let's continue to rally around the team instead of against each other.
Again, I apologize... This isn't the type of article I usually write. I'm not giving any keen insight or analysis. I hope it doesn't deter you from enjoying my future writing. I'm worried about the team as much as anyone, but I didn't expect to be worried about Raider Nation sticking together.
Like Raider Nation Times
How Would You Grade the Raiders Free Agency So Far?