The New England Patriots entertain the Oakland Raiders in their home opener on Sunday and a lot of the talk locally has been on the downward spiral of a once proud franchise. For three seasons, from 2000-'02, the Raiders went 33-15 in the regular season. In year 2000, the lost to the Ravens in the AFC Championship game, Baltimore went on to win the Super Bowl. The following year in the divisional round they were victimsof the illustrious "tuck rule", and a dynasty of sorts was started in New England as the Pats went on upset the heavily favored Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI. In 2002 they got to the Super Bowl only to lose rather convincingly to former head coach Jon Gruden and his Tampa Bay Bucs. This is where the ineptitude begins.
Since that loss to the Buccaneers, the silver and black have all but disappeared from NFL relevance. It's won/loss record of 53-125 the past twelve seasons, including 0-2 thus far in 2014, has rendered a franchise that has won three Lombardi Trophy's to not much more than an afterthought. Seven head coaches have walked the sideline while a dysfunctional front office has botched a slew of horrible draft picks. An organization the is represented in Canton by 22 of the greatest to ever play the game, struggles to achieve mediocrity, at the very best.
But if there is a god in football heaven, please, help the Raiders win! If they win, we can hate them again! The "Black Hole" will once more be a place dreaded by visiting teams. Forbidden by visiting fans. Raider Nation and it's members unconditional love will spurn a healthy degree of dislike to all who oppose it.
With all the venom that has been directed to the latest players regarding assault and abuse the past several days, we have directed our negative energy to men allegedly not worthy of representing the shield. Let's get back to rooting for, or against, the laundry. This is where the Raiders come in. Much like the Cowboys, and the Patriots for that matter, a love/hate relationship can do wonders in a league that has to refocus.
Come back, silver and black. Back to the future we you belong.
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