Tag Archives: Oakland Raiders

Las Vegas Raiders? Please …

(Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

I once was a huge, fervent, zealous fan of professional football.

Not so much these days. My favorite football team in the old days was an American Football League team that became a National Football League outfit: the Oakland Raiders.

I loved the Raiders back in the day, when Darryl “The Mad Bomber” Lamonica was their quarterback; when Ben Davidson was terrorizing opposing teams’ QBs; when Fred Biletnikoff ran perfect pass routes.

Then the Oakland Raiders moved to Los Angeles. My loyalty to them subsided, but only a little bit. They eventually would find their way back to the East Bay, playing once again in Oakland.

I am watching the Raiders today on TV. Only these days they call Las Vegas home.

The Las Vegas Raiders?

Arrggghhh!

I cannot go there.

Then again, I’m still pi**ed that the Houston Oilers moved to Nashville, that the Cleveland Browns moved to Baltimore, that the Chicago Cardinals moved to St. Louis and then to Phoenix, that the San Diego Chargers moved to LA, and that the Baltimore Colts sneaked out of town in the middle of the night and relocated to Indianapolis. I know what you might be thinking: What about the Dallas Texans moving to Kansas City? I’ll give the Chiefs a pass on that one.

My favorite team of all time remains the Oakland Raiders. The Las Vegas Raiders are imposters.

Las Vegas Raiders? Oh, puh-leeeeze!

Media coverage of major professional sports these days seems to focus on salary caps, contract disputes, major stars’ holding out … and the relocation of franchises.

It’s the last item that troubles me today.

The San Diego Chargers are moving up the highway to Los Angeles; the St. Louis Rams already have returned to LA, from where they departed for St. Louis all those years ago. In fact, now that I think about it, the Chargers joined the old American Football League as the LA Chargers.

Oh, I know. There have been others: The Arizona Cardinals once played in Chicago, then St. Louis, now in suburban Phoenix; the Kansas City Chiefs once were known as the Dallas Texans; the Tennessee Titans moved from Houston, where they were the Oilers.

Now it’s the Oakland Raiders moving — of all places — to Las Vegas.

The Raiders’ move hurts a little more than the others.

As a teenager, I was a huge Raiders fan. My interest in the team goes back to the era of Daryle “The Mad Bomber” Lamonica and moved forward to the time of Kenny “The Snake” Stabler, Warren Wells, Fred Biletnikoff, Jim Otto (yes, I cheered the center, too), Ben Davidson … and a bunch of other guys.

Now the Raiders are moving to Sin City. Might they return — eventually — to the east side of San Francisco Bay? They did it once before; they moved to LA, played there for a time — won a Super Bowl while playing as the LA Raiders — and then returned to Oakland.

Ugh! I hate the idea of them moving yet again. They are stiffing their loyal fans, much in the manner that the old Cleveland Browns did when they moved to Baltimore, or when the Baltimore Colts moved to Indianapolis (in the middle of the night, I should add).

Pro sports doesn’t reward loyalty. It rises and falls on money.

I’m an angry Oakland Raiders fan today. I just cannot wrap my arms around the idea of the┬áLas Vegas Raiders — or whatever they’re going to call the team.

Not every Texas resident roots for Cowboys

Mom had a million of ’em … sayings, quips, one-liners that is.

If she said something that I didn’t quite get or understand, she’d say, “Don’t look at me as if I just grew another head.”

Ba-da-boom!

Today while at work a very nice woman asked me something and my response prompted that look from her that might have made me ask about the appearance of a second head.

“So,” she asked, “did you watch the Cowboys game last night?”

“Um, no. Not all of it. I was in and out of the game,” I said.

“It was a great game,” she said. “Sure it was,” I replied, “if you’re a Cowboys fan.”

“What? You aren’t a Cowboys fan?” she asked.

“No. Not really,” I said.

“How can you live in Texas and not be a Cowboys fan?” she asked, sounding borderline incredulous.

I proceeded to tell her that I am not much of a pro football fan. I mentioned that one of my sons lives in a Dallas suburb and he and his wife are huge Cowboys fans. He watched the game, I told her, and I assured her he likely is deliriously happy today that the Cowboys won.

I told her I’ve lived in Texas for nearly 33 years. I told her I went to a Houston Oilers (remember them?) game years ago in the Astrodome. My favorite pro football team growing up was the Oakland Raiders; I alluded to my upbringing on the Pacific Coast, so I guess it was a regional thing with me. I suppose it’s the same way here.

Then something occurred consciously to me that I’ve more or less felt for many of the past three decades-plus my family and I have lived in Texas: Mere┬áresidency in this state does not necessarily make one a Texan.

I suppose if I were a true-blue Texan, I’d be a serious Cowboys fan. Since my aforementioned Cowboys fan son came of age in Texas, he probably qualifies as a Texan — along with his brother — way more than their mother and I do.

I did mention to the nice lady that I used to cheer for the Cowboys back in the 1960s when they tried to beat the Green Bay Packers for the National Football League championship. Roger Staubach, Mel Renfro — a fellow Oregonian — and “Bullet Bob” Hayes were my go-to guys back then.

Am I wrong to dismiss the Cowboys? I wish them well as the playoffs commence. But if you’ll excuse me for identifying the┬áteam for which I plan to root, I’m going to stick with the Raiders.

They’re having a stellar season, too.

‘Legend’ not in football Hall of Fame?

I’ve been reading the word “legend” over the past several hours.

It’s been used to describe the late Ken Stabler, the great quarterback for the Oakland Raiders who, in 1977, led his team to a crushing Super Bowl victory over the Minnesota Vikings.

I’ve known for years a bit of information about Stabler the Snake. He isn’t in the pro football Hall of Fame.

http://www.msn.com/en-us/sports/nfl/former-alabama-raiders-quarterback-ken-stabler-dies-at-69/ar-AAcMuiZ

And I’ve wondered all that time: What in the world has kept him out of that shrine?

Young pro football fans today perhaps don’t know that the Raiders weren’t always the doormat they’ve become. They once personified a rebellious attitude. The team owner, Al Davis, himself was the embodiment of the term “rebel.” He was constantly feuding with pro football league brass — whether it was the old American Football League or later with the National Football League.

Stabler took that attitude onto the field, along with many other great players.

He wasn’t just all flash and sizzle. He played in four Pro Bowls; he was the NFL”s most valuable player in 1974; and, oh yeah, he played on that winning Super Bowl team. Indeed, he has as many Super Bowl wins as another player who came out of the University of Alabama, Joe Namath — who’s in the Hall of Fame and who didn’t produce the kind of career stats that Stabler did.

I’m no football expert. I just know when someone’s been robbed of a proper tribute.

Stabler should have been inducted long ago into the Hall of Fame.

Rest in peace, Snake.

 

What to call college football's big game?

I might be breaking some new ground here, but a thought occurs to me regarding the Big Game set for Monday night to determine the best college football team in the country.

The game doesn’t have a catchy name. You know, like the Super Bowl?

My Oregon Ducks are going to play the Ohio State Buckeyes in the first-ever college football playoff championship game. It needs something catchy.

Let’s flash back for a moment to the first Super Bowl, played in 1967. It wasn’t even called the Super Bowl. It carried the clunky name of “AFL-NFL Championship Game.” The American Football League champs that year were the Kansas City Chiefs; representing the National Football League were the Green Bay Packers.

The Pack won 35-10 at the Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, which was about two-thirds full for the biggest game in pro football history.

The AFL and the NFL played three more interleague championship games before the leagues merged in 1970. But someone came up with the name “Super Bowl” in time for the 1968 game between the Packers and the Oakland Raiders.

I’m open for suggestions on what to call the college football equivalent of the Super Bowl.

Heck, college basketball has its March Madness and its Final Four; Major League Baseball has its World Series; college baseball has its College World Series; hockey fans know the title series of their sport simply as the Stanley Cup.

The NCAA has come up with a marketing winner with this college football playoff. It figures to smash TV-viewing records Monday night.

So … let’s give┬ácollege football’s big game a name to make it — and us — all proud.

Oh, before I forget: Go Ducks!