Sunday, December 28, 2008

5-11 Isn't So Bad, Actually :-)

At the beginning of the 2008 NFL season I made a few predictions for the Oakland Raiders (who had managed a 2-14 record in 2007). I predicted 7-9.

I was wrong, and I admit it.

What I also stated, as far back as July, that if it were fated that Oakland finish 2008 at 1-15, I would be happy so long as the one win was against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

A friend of mine has two season tickets to the Bucs, and is a complete fanatic about the team. He invited me to buy one of his tickets to the Oakland game, and I eagerly bought the ticket.

The Bucs had a 9-6 record going in and the Raiders were 4-11, and even I (who have followed Oakland ever since Madden was their head coach) didn't expect the Raiders to win. The latest line had the Bucs by as many as 5 to 13 points.

Oakland won, 31-24. I quite literally couldn't believe it.

JaMarcus Russell showed some poise, and was intercepted once. Most of the rushing yardage was by Michael Bush, who showed a lot of toughness. Tampa's Jeff Garcia, by contrast, seemed almost afraid to heave the ball deep even though he had people open. The Raiders defense stepped up and played tough, while the smaller and speedier Tampa defensive line seemed unable to power their way past Oakland's offensive line.

Oakland finishes the season with a record about 150% better than last season's, and has shown some improvement. They're figuring it out, and with the grace of Al Davis (who'll hopefully keep his senile nose out of it) the Raiders may once again be a force to be reckoned with.

This was our Super Bowl, Raiders fans, and we won!

Enjoy it, savor it, and build on it.


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