Monthly Archives: June 2011

AFC Championship: The Ultimate Prize

Oakland Raiders VS Pittsburgh Steelers

The American Football Conference, composed primarily of teams from the original American Football League, makes up half of the current NFL’s 32 teams.  These 16 AFC teams fight against each other year in year out, in a never ending battle for supremacy.  Each season they face a few teams from the NFC, but every campaign during the regular season is composed primarily of games against one’s own conference.

That’s why as a Raiders fan you hear so much about teams like the Jets, Steelers, Dolphins, and Browns.  And familiarity breeds contempt! Within our conference many rivalries have been bred in the post-season, where the most vicious battles are fought, in single elimination where one misstep means ejection.  Ever since the days of the original American Football League, these gridiron wars against our closest foes have been rough. And the prize is the Lamar Hunt Trophy, which is awarded to the winner of the AFC Championship game.
Over the years the Raiders have become hated by the other AFL/AFC teams because of one reason: Dominance. Raiders hold winning records against nearly all of these teams, except the brand new ones that have come on line in the last few years. That’s why you hear non-stop Raider-hate from the media and other fans. They wouldn’t hate Oakland if we lost! Monday nights were always a terror for our AFC foes, and in the post-season Raiders demolished the hopes of so many over the years. To this day no team takes the Raiders lightly, because owner Al Davis is a sly fox, and he might just be one step away from creating another unstoppable team.

Because of the history of the AFC, and the brutality of the games fought season after season, there is no greater success than defeating the rest of the conference to win the AFC Championship Game. This is the highest of all the victories.  Some say the Super Bowl is bigger, but I disagree. Who cares about smacking up some poor NFC franchise like the Redskins or Vikings?  For Oakland Raider fans, beating the Steelers, Patriots, Titans or Colts in the AFC Championship game is so much sweeter.  In real life we count a victory over our closest neighbors to be greater than a victory won in some far off land.  Because when it’s all in the family, the stakes are that much higher!

The Oakland Raiders are in second place for most AFC Championship appearances with 11 times in that great game.  In the years to come we must regain that top position, because the Lamar Hunt Trophy is the heritage, the inheritance, the Rightful Possession of the Oakland Raiders! By right of being the greatest of all the AFC teams, that trophy WILL be ours again!

Screw the Super Bowl, the AFC Championship Game is the greatest game of all, and I foresee the Raiders there again in the very near future!

The Dolphins MUST Pay

Oakland Raiders VS Miami Dolphins

So far I’ve only been to three games at the Coliseum.  Somehow two of them were against the Dolphins and somehow the Raiders lost both! The first was long ago in 1998 when the great Dan Marino led the ‘Fins to victory.  Raiders QB Hollas couldn’t seem to get anything to happen.  I didn’t realize until recently but the Raiders were coached by the legendary Jon Gruden that year, but hadn’t yet brought on the QB that took them to the top, Rich Gannon.  Gruden had a QB by default as he tried out multiple different guys, trying to find the answers.

This YouTube clip gives a sense of what was going on at the time:  Unfortunately I was there for the game when Donald Hollas completely unraveled, he threw 6 interceptions and we left the game utterly dejected.  Hollas never started another NFL game.

I saw the Dolphins return to Oakland last year, and was excited to see what backup QB Bruce Gradkowski could do for us.  He had done well in 2009 by saving the day against Pittsburgh, and had been solid in relief in 2010. However, his shoulder had been wrecked, and he was unable to throw worth a damn that day.  He underthrew everything, even with a running start, and our receivers didn’t help by dropping everything in sight. Jacoby Ford was amazing, but otherwise, the Raiders were just more horrible than the Dolphins who were far from great.

Now I see that Miami is on the schedule for 2011.  That makes me very happy! It’s time to make the Dolphins PAY!  A long-time AFC rival, the Dolphins have been a playoff and regular season foe on many occasions. Of course Raiders lead the overall series 19-14-1 but we lead the series against just about everyone. Time to up the score a bit and beat those Dolphins to a pulp in Miami this year! With our QB controversy settled, offense in place and hungry defense ready to sack them silly, those poor fish don’t stand a chance.

I’ll be rooting to see justice done, and to see the Raiders back in the Playoffs at the end of 2011…