Tuesday, August 23, 2011
NFL ACLB PREVIEWS - #23: OAKLAND RAIDERS
PERTINENT DATA: 8-8 last year; 65 to 1 odds to win Super Bowl XLVI.
BEST CASE SCENARIO (Neil): Look, I want the Raiders to do well. This is for a couple of different reasons. First, and most importantly, they are my boy Harpo’s team and I want good things to happen to him in all areas of his life. This includes his sports teams. (Notable exceptions include the A’s playing the Tigers in the ALCS or his Notre Dame Fighting Assholes – rumor has it that the new mascot is going to be Lou Holtz spreading his ass cheeks at midfield while he spits and lisps out of it, which is horrible, horrible and I apologize for that mental image as well as the uncreative “Fighting Assholes” moniker but sometimes creativity has to take a back seat to simple malice – playing my Michigan Wolverines, in which case, fuck them and I hope he cries, but I digress) But I also want the Raiders to do well because they are the team that spawned Ken Stabler and I think you all know how I feel about that dude by now. Also, if I hadn’t been born into Lions fandom and was forced to pick a team to root for, I’m pretty sure that I would have chosen the Raiders simply because of their reputation, which might sound juvenile, but I don’t care. When you’re a kid, a helmet filled with crushed up beer cans and dudes nicknamed Hitman seem pretty fucking cool. And while the glory days of the Raiders may have come a bit before my time, I am old enough to at least remember their fading glory years of the late-80s/early-90s. They had Bo Jackson, man and they worse Silver and Black and they would stab you and then fuck your girlfriend while you sobbed and bled in the corner. That sort of thing appeals to my naturally rebellious, fuck the man side, which I’ll be the first to admit is kind of stupid and dopey and immature, but sports fandom itself is stupid and dopey and immature and so those two parts of me naturally tend to intersect. But I have explained all this before and I realize I still haven’t even laid out the best case scenario so I’ll just move on. Forgive me. Anyway, even though I have a soft spot in my warrior heart for the Raiders, Al Davis is a weird old man, and he is just embarrassing himself and Raiders fans like Harpo. As long as he’s around, gumming his applesauce, eating babies, taking afternoon naps, scaring the shit out of, well, everyone (I was going to say little kids, but shit, have you seen Al Davis? Motherfucker looks like the Crypt Keeper if the Crypt Keeper got strung out on meth and taken a billion dicks to the face.) and generally using his senile old dried up wits to make shitty decision after shitty decision, the Raiders aren’t going to be doing too well. So there’s a natural upper limit for the Raiders in these dark days when the Vampire Davis roams the streets of Oakland at night and drunk dials Pete Rozelle in the mornings even though Pete Rozelle’s been dead for almost 15 years now. There’s only so much they can do with his withered old ass in the way. Still, this team somehow managed to go 8-8 last season. Then again, that was before they stupidly let Nnamdi Asomugha walk. But Darren McFadden finally broke out, there are some decent players on defense like Rolando McClain, so maybe they can pull 8-8 out of their asses again. Then again, probably not. Such is life.
WORST CASE SCENARIO (Raven): Al Davis might have been a football genius in 1975, but at this point he is a crazy old man who refuses to die and looks like he might have leprosy, but still wears gaudy football diamond watches and shit like that. More importantly than refusing to die, he refuses to let other people make decisions about the Raiders, which means you have a half-senile old crazy man deciding what players and coaches to build an NFL team with. And to his credit, the Raiders are not completely bad. Really, it says something terrible for the Redskins and Bengals that even a crazy senile old man can be as competent as them. Still though, the Raiders lack direction, other than going deep, which they don't have the tools to do. Speaking of tools, Jason Campbell is there at QB still, without Bruce Gradkowski to be mediocrely better. That does not bode well for the Raiders as a successful team, nor in their ability to go deep, like Mr. Davis has been known to call down to the sidelines for and want. The fact they dropped a 3rd round pick on Terrelle Pryor only makes this reality even more real. Really, their best chance at success was keeping Tom Cable on board to beat people into as much success as possible.
PLAYER TO PULL FOR (Neil): Sebastian Janikowski is an asshole degenerate, probably an alcoholic and he’s more likely to be found dead in a freak power boat accident within the next five years than he is to be part of a winning team, but fuck it, that makes him the perfect Oakland Raider, you know? I can see Seabass riding with Kenny Stabler. I can see him getting thrown headfirst through a plate glass window in a giant bar brawl while Lyle Alzado beats the shit out a whole fraternity and Stabler tries to fuck all their girlfriends. Sure Janikowski is kind of the fuck up of the whole Raider family, more likely to end up getting laughed at by Kenny and the boys after he has to go to the hospital for a 12 hour hard-on after overdosing on boner pills than to actually do anything cool, but he’s still family, you know? And as we always say here at Armchair Linebacker, family comes first. (Unless your family sucks, in which case to hell with them.)
PLAYER TO HATE MOST (Raven): A normal football interweb asshole would be like, "Lololol Sebastian Janikowski!" but there's no reason not to love that overweight drunken Polock, as Neil has pointed out. He is more Raider than almost anybody in recent memory. I am going to say Chimdi Chekwa, a back-up CB, because I think he might be the guy who accidentally made Al Davis think it was okay to just outright let Nnamdi Asomugha go as a free agent in his prime, retardedly. I bet Davis thought they were basically the same dude, with the same abilities, and figured he could save a few dollars. Or maybe Chekwa is really fast in the 40, which always makes old Al take to a guy.
BEST NAME ON TEAM: Rock Cartwright.
IN A PERFECT WORLD (Neil): Shit, in a perfect world, Al Davis would be cornered by villagers (Man, you DO NOT want to fuck with Oakland villagers), all armed with pitchforks tipped with garlic and holy water and then the Raiders could finally move on. In this perfect world, Uncle Al would leave the team in his will to Kenny Stabler because he loves him more than anyone of his blood (and also because all Al’s actual children died of old age back in the 15th century while he was terrorizing the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains) and Kenny brings back the glory days of the Raiders. Now I know this is at least the third scenario already in which I’ve had Ken Stabler taking control of a team, but this section is titled “In a Perfect World” for a reason. Roll your eyes at me all you want, but just know that you are dead inside. I wonder if Kenny needs a ghostwriter for the sequel to his autobiography...
PROGNOSIS (Raven): The Raiders year will be one of ugliness. There is just enough good young talent in the forms of Darren McFadden and Rolondo McClain to keep the criminally insane fanbase at bay yet again, but 4-12 and last in the AFC West is gonna be the final tally. Which means the drunken Raider fanbase will only win the parking lot fights and shootouts in San Diego this year. God bless Raiders fans everywhere, especially are believed Miguelito Garza, who is a Mexican, does drive a truck, and almost made Eddie George cry one time while being heckled by Mike at the edges of the Black Hole.