I'm an Oakland Raiders fan, and have been for many, many years.
Which means I've had to endure what passes for wit among my coworkers (who were gleeful Buccaneers fans until they started going south) since Oakland lost the Super Bowl back in 2002. True for telling, Oakland made it easy for a lot of jokes with their floundering for the past seven years.
A bunch of coaching changes guaranteed that the players would never have any consistent schemes to work from, and Big Al Davis made some poor picks in the draft. The worst pick, however, was in selecting JaMarcus Russell from LSU.
Well, there were signs of a turnaround after last year's debacle, which saw Oakland finish up 5-11 (a better record than Tampa's 3-13, mind you, but you'll never hear it). For starters, we got rid of Russell, whose play was so bad that he's still unemployed almost halfway through the 2010 season. Second, the Raiders made all the right picks in the draft and traded for Jason Campbell from the Redskins. But the biggest sign, in my opinion, was the retention of Tom Cable as head coach.
Cable's made a few dumb moves, but he's defense-minded, and a strong defensive squad is the foundation on which you build Super Bowl teams.
Oakland has shown flashes of growth into something productive (when they beat San Diego in Oakland) but this usually gets counterbalanced by something stupid (like losing to the 0-5 San Francisco 49ers).
Now, Oakland's in the AFC West. As a Raiders fan, I am required to actively despise all the other AFC West teams, dislike all other AFC franchises, and ignore the NFC altogether. I reserve real hatred for the Miami Fucking Dolphins, though.
We beat the Chargers, then lost to the 49ers. That brought us to this week, where the Raiders went to Invesco Field to play the Denver Broncos.
The Broncos were crushed and humiliated by the score of 59 to 14. The Raiders started strong and by the fourth quarter had backup QB Kyle Boller in. Oakland has never scored more than 52 points in their entire history, so this was a milestone.
Now we see if they can build off that, and start a winning streak by beating Seattle at home next week. Kansas City looms the week after that, but for the first time in a while I genuinely feel good about the Raiders' future.