As season of testing in the AFC West. A brutal schedule filled with lots of difficult, physical, challenging games against teams who had become accustomed to beating us.
But Hue Jackson’s Raiders have performed under pressure, and has broken a list of streaks that were holding us back. Revenge on the Jets, Texans, Chargers, and a split with the Broncos.
Now comes the final stretch of the season, with more injuries and more tough games on the horizon. We knew the season would be one of frustration and hardship, not the easy road for a rookie Head Coach and his newly assembled team.
The NFC North are some of the toughest teams in football. Raiders took on the challenge with the knowledge that to become the best you must fight against the best. And here comes the World Champions.
Raiders got to 7-5 against all odds, overcoming more deaths, penalties, injuries, and general misfortune than any other team. And it has made us stronger.
Raiders have been first in the division or tied there for nearly the entire season.
This is happening for a reason! These are the growing pains of a team being tested, beaten, battered and pushed with their back to the wall. Every great Raider team of the past was forged this way! Through pain and suffering, pushing the limit of their skill and stamina.
Unlike some demoralized teams of years in the past, 2011 Raiders are going straight at the best teams, ready to face the consequences of injury and losses, frustration and self-doubt.
From testing comes growth. From frustration comes fortitude, mental toughness and self-confidence.
This team has been pushed to the breaking point.
The final 4 games of the season will determine once and for all if the Oakland Raiders collapse under the strain, or stagger in to the finish line broken but not beaten.
I do not claim to know who will conquer the AFC West. But the team that does will have the greatest heart, strength, courage and spiritual will to win…