A once-in-a-lifetime experience


Having a hard time wrapping my brain around the fact that the Raiders will play at the Coliseum Sunday in the post-Al Davis era.

Curious to see how it will manifest itself in terms of fan reaction. My guess is the crowd will be properly respectful during the moment of silence, and the level of anger and malevolence will be taken down a notch or three in terms of the opponent.

I’d also expect to see a building crescendo of enthusiasm and some long, poignant cheers, with fans building off the energy of each other as well as what is taking place on the field.

This is uncharted territory. The loudest I’ve ever heard to heard the Coliseum is when Tory James intercepted a Jay Fielder pass and was in the process of returning it for a 90-yard touchdown against the Dolphins in the first playoff game in the Coliseum since their departure to Los Angeles.

But that was “just” a playoff game. They happen every year, in every city, and eventually recede from memory. In my previous life as a fan, the most unforgettable moment, coincidentally, was also against the Dolphins. It was the “Sea of Hands” game. My dad’s season tickets were in the second deck of the south end zone, but before the final drive, we walked along the concourse following Oakland on its final drive until Ken Stabler hit Clarence Davis in the end zone.

It was bedlam, completely off the hook in terms of euphoria and enthusiasm.

But like the Tory James play, it was incredible for those that were there, but nothing to mark it as truly unique.

In truth, there has been only one truly unique experience regarding Raiders football that I’ve witnessed.

It happened on Aug. 26, 1989, when the Raiders were (surprise) having issues with their experience with the Los Angeles Coliseum and scheduled a preseason game in Oakland. Tickets sold out almost instantaneously. It was a preseason game that meant nothing, yet it meant everything.

The Houston Oilers beat the Raiders 23-21, but no one seemed to care. The Raiders were back, and it was insanity. Players going through warmups were cheered wildly. I remember Todd Christensen bowing to the crowd after catching a pass in the end zone while going through the pregame paces.

Colleagues Bill Soliday, Carl Steward and I took a long stroll around the jammed parking lot. People had constructed paper mache Raiders. Banners were everywhere. Either Bill or Carl, I can’t remember which, said, “I didn’t know all these people were still around.” The team had been gone for seven years.

One other thing I remember making my way into the stadium was Al Davis, getting out of his black Lincoln limo, and a throng in the parking lot screaming as if he were a rock star. He gave them a fist in salute before making his way in. The memory plays tricks, but I think he was wearing white that day.

Davis had taken the team away because he couldn’t get upgrades that included luxury boxes, battled the NFL in court. Yet the fans, at least the ones in attendance, didn’t seem to care. All was forgiven. I’ll always think the fan reaction that day had a lot to do with him bringing the Raiders back six years later. He realized the passion was still there.

The Raiders have worked hard in the past week to ensure the stands will be full. Season ticket holders had a 24-hour window to get two free tickets, and rest assured, blocks of tickets have been distributed to various groups, including schools, so it will resemble the Coliseum experience of the Raiders glory days as well as the preseason game in 1989.

Raiders CEO Amy Trask is urging fans to get into the stadium early for the moment of silence and National Anthem. From what I understand, there’s a remarkable piece of film to be shown right around that time that is not to be missed.

I’ll be there early and have no idea what to expect, but suspect I’ll remember it forever.


Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer

  • RaiderRockstar

    Raiding Texas,

    My point was that Aaron Curry will succeed in Oakland BECAUSE of his faith, not in SPITE of it …

    Agreed with JFB about Mike Vick. hope he chokes today along with Peyton Hillis and the rest of Dell’s FF team 🙂

    Pryor will be the Raiders version of Allen Iverson. Which if you dude’s know me is a GOOD THING !!!

    Colt McCoy might look like Bernie Kosar today, but as long as Peyton Hillis looks like Reuben Droughns we’ll be ok

  • SnB offense defense specialteams

    Stop the run win the game

  • RaiderRockstar

    new post ladies!

  • qodrn

    Dedicated to the legacy of Al Davis
    Protected by the rally squirrel and Coliseum rodents

    First: Ghostraider (exact score)
    Second: Sullivan44
    Third: Pretty Rick
    Fourth: Sullivan44
    Fifth: Fingers

    [BREAKING NEWS]Oakland 42 Browns 10
    8RaiderReign8 Oakland 20 Browns 16 in a another nail bitter
    21st Century Raider Raiders 38 Browns 7
    30 year raider raiders 38 browns 17
    860Todd Christensen Raiders 31 Cleveland 13
    909RaiderLifer RAIDERS–45 SKIDMARKS—16
    alex7 Raiders 27 Browns 20 Defensive/ST touchdown for Oakland
    antispy3 Raiders 38 Brownies 16
    Artillery Shell Shut out 27-0
    The Big Banana Raiders 31 Browns 27
    BigTed707 Oakland 34 Fake Browns 24
    Blackmamba_20 42 – 17 Raiderzzzzzzzz
    CanuckRaider Raiders 34 – Brownies 13
    Carl Weathers Raiders 33 – 13 Le Bruns
    CAROLINARAIDER Raiders 42 – Browns 24
    CHAOS Raiders 35 Brown Eyes’ 10
    Chris in NY Raiders 35, Browns 3
    DaTruth91 raiders 30 browns 21
    DonManoukiansNeighbor Raiders 28-17
    downsouthraider Raiders 35 Browns 17…Run DMC 150 yards. Soup will pass for over 200 yards
    ElkGRaider Oaktown 31 – BooBoo 13
    EMRaiders CLE 20 OAK 24 4-2 on our way to 6-2! GO RAIDERS!!!
    exlaraiderseasonticketholder 38-17 Raiders over the Brownies
    fingers Raiders..30 Browns 20
    Florio’s pick: Raiders 28, Browns 18
    GaterRaider RAIDERZ 31 – brownires 19
    GG Raiders 63 Browns 0
    ghostraiders Raiders 31. Cleveland 13.
    Hagar the Horrible Raiders 41 – Browns 13
    HairyBush Raiders 27 Brownies 21
    hendu RAIDERS!!21 and the Jim less Browns,17
    HueJackinBullies Oak34-Cle24
    HueKnows The A.D. Raiders37, Brown holes 17
    JB Raiders 45 Browns 9
    jerrymac: Lord knows I’m awful at predictions. But I see this as a game the Raiders could win handily.
    JLofty Raiders 55 – Skidmarks 18 (garbage-time points)
    John Tweedy Raiders 38 BrownStains 10
    J-Raider Raiders-31/browns-27
    Just Fire Baby Raiders 30 Browns 13
    Just Win Baby Run D steps up today and Raiders pound the Browns 38-10.
    La Milicia Negra Raiders 26 Browns 30
    LA to TheBay PAIN
    Lowdown_in_Beijing Raiders 30 Browns 0
    Macho Man Randy Savage Raiders 31, brownies 24… o yeah!
    mcfadden20. raiders 48-13
    mikedlopes Al Davis’ Raiders: 57 Hershey Stains: 17
    morilla Raiders – 31 ~ Browns – 17
    neilb 34 – 10 Raiders.
    No Mas Diamante RAIDERS 27 BROWNS 16
    oldschoolraider Raiders 41 Browns 6
    Otis60 Raiders 34 Browns 20
    PlunkforHOF Raiders 38 Beige 9
    Pretty Rick Raiders-37 Browns-20
    qodrn Raiders 28 Browns 10
    r8dercain Raiders 42 browns 10
    r8eray 38-17 Raiders
    Raider2DaHeart Raiders 29 Dawgs 24
    RaiderChaos Oakland 34 Cleveland 6
    Raiderjambo RAIDERS 45 brownies 10.
    raiderkoolaid Raiders 30 Cleveland 17
    raidermarty RAIDERS 41 browns 14 CODE BLACK!!
    raiderzmaverick Hey – you left me off the scores. 27 to 17 will be the score. Raiders 30, Browns 17.
    Raider Ray Raiders 28, Browns 7
    RaiderRetribution Raiders 38 Cleveland 3
    RaiderRockstar Oakland 34 Cleveland 6
    Raiders_83 Raiders 45 Browns 9
    raidazroger Raiders 31, Browns 20
    The Realist Dirty Raccoon Al Davis’ Raiders 31
    Expansion Browns 13
    realtruraider Raiders 34 Browns 13
    RedneckRaider 40-17 Rayduhs
    rob_raider raiders 38 browns 6
    Rosenthal’s pick: Raiders 24, Browns 17.
    Ryan Says: Raiders 38 Browns
    Silverandblack666 Raiders 35 Browns
    SilverAndBlackBleeder Raiders 37 Browns 6
    SilverNBlackPA Raiders 33 – Browns 16
    SR Raider Raiders 34, Cleveland 10
    StayinBlack Raiders 37 Browns 13
    Sullivan44 Raiders 31, Brownies 21
    Tjbwall Raiders 34 Browns 17
    TheToozFan55 Raiders – 27 Browns – 13
    Vinous 37-20 Raiders
    Zymurge Raiders 23, Browns 17