I’ve lived in Oakland for about 10 years now, and I’ve had a great experience here. Sure, there are lots of stupid people who cause problems, and crappy drivers, but in general it’s a good place to live. However, I don’t think you could call it a “football town”. Seems like excitement for pro football is kind of low key. Most of the people I know aren’t too into it, except for a few hardcore fans that I talk to.
During the season I always keep an eye out for Raiders gear and although you see a big silver SUV with tons of decals once in a while, for the most part it’s pretty hard to find. I’ll see 10-12 Raiders symbols on the way to work. Seems like there is more support in the poorer neighborhoods, and there are often a few old guys wandering around with an old Raiders jacket who remember the powerhouse teams of the 70’s and 80’s. But the younger generation don’t think much about football around here, and they only know Oakland as having some long losing streaks in the 90’s and00’s. I showed some highlights to my younger cousin and he had no idea that John Madden was originally the Raider’s coach!!! Things like that are crazy, the media always downplays the Raiders and kids these days have no clue that this team used to be fearless and feared by the whole league.
When we visit Ohio I see a lot more Browns flags, stickers and hats being worn proudly. Midwest people all follow football, my aunts know more about sports than most dudes I know out west. Guys will hold their business meetings at a Browns game, it’s seen as a normal activity, whereas around here there is more of a stigma that pro football is low class. That’s northern cal PC mentality that I admit I used to have myself! But once you go to the game you see so many families, men, women, children, old people, black, white, asian, latino, it’s crazy. I’ve never felt more pride in my city than at a winning Raider’s game.
Sure would be nice to see more respect for the Raiders and have a healthier relationship between the town and the team. Perhaps Al Davis can sell it to a group of local community investors on the Green Bay model, and the people can feel more investment in the team?