|An ugly place.|
Nearly a year after Oakland Al Davis's death, not much has changed in that other city by the Bay. Although the Raiders are off to a calamitous 0-2 start that must have Mr. Pride 'n Poise rolling in his grave, Oakland's Alameda County Coliseum will always be an unfriendly environment for visiting teams. As we noted last year, on the day Al Davis died:
"The late, great Hunter S. Thompson wrote often and at length about Oakland Al, and it is all worth reading. As HST noted, Al Davis was the persona and identity of the Raiders and everything that went with the team's mystique:
"Every game was a terrifying adventure, win or lose, and the Raiders of the '70s usually won -- except in Pittsburgh, where cruel things happened and many dreams died horribly. You could see the early beginnings of what would evolve into the massive Raider Nation, which is beyond doubt the sleaziest and rudest and most sinister mob of thugs and whackos ever assembled in such numbers under a single "roof," so to speak, anywhere in the English-speaking world. No doubt there are other profoundly disagreeable cults that meet from time to time in most of the 50 states."
|Oakland Raiders fans in the so-called "Black Hole."|
Somehow, Oakland won, 20-13, despite having been "led" at QB by somebody named Andrew Walter, who was sacked six times, threw an interception, completed just five passes for all of 14 yards and had a QB passer rating of 17.3! Seventeen. Point. Three.
On the other hand, when the Steelers had the ball, the Raiders sacked Ben Roethlisberger five times, and he lost a fumble. And, oh, yeah, incidentally, Big Bad Ben threw four interceptions, including two (two!) pick-six returns for TDs. One, a 24-yard TD return by Nnamdi Asomugha in the first quarter, only foreshadowed the game-sealing 100-yard TD return by Chris Carr in the fourth quarter. That's right. A 100-yard interception return. In the fourth quarter. It was not one of Ben's better games.
And, just three years ago, on Dec, 6, 2009, the underdog Raiders, led by Pittsburgh native and former Seton-LaSalle Catholic High School star Bruce Gradkowski, beat the heavily favored Steelers by a score of 27-24.
Our point? The Raiders are underdogs once again, but Steelers fans shouldn't be surrpised by anything, and can't take anything for granted. Not when the Raiders are involved.