Wednesday, February 13, 2013
The REAL America's Team: The Black and Silver
The Dallas Cowboys was considered to be America's team when I was growing up in the 1970s and 80s. I didn't agree with that then. I hated the Cowboys. I vicariously lived through the Pittsburgh Steelers who beat the Cowboys in Superbowls X and XIII. The Steelers remain my favorite team until this day. But that's beside the point. My beloved Steelers were a distant second to the Cowboys when it came to sports paraphernalia. From a business standpoint and fan base standpoint. Cowboys are America's team. They represent America. Or do they? Not quite sure about that. At face value, you had a team that consistently went to the playoffs. Quarterback Roger Staubach was a Naval Academy graduate and veteran. Coach Tom Landry was a confessed Christian and that God was number one in his life.
But does this team represent America? America is a country of misfits. Misfits who left Europe for religious and economic freedom and opportunity. America is country for the underdog. America is a country of diverse, rag tag people who were brought here under less than ideal conditions (poverty, slavery, famine) and came together to form the world's best TEAM.
I believe the Oakland Raiders more closely resemble America than the Cowboys ever did. You had a crazy owner (Al Davis), retreads from other teams, crazy and violent defenders and some of the most insane fans you'll every see. And the most animated and excitable coach to walk the sidelines. That's America! The team won in Oakland. Moved to Los Angeles and became part of hiphop and gangster culture and still won playoff games and a couple of Superbowls. And when things didn't go the way the owner wanted, he moved back to Oakland. We're a country of creative people who against the grain against insurmountable odds and win despite the critics and popular opinion. That's America.
The Raiders had an us against the world mentality. From the owner down to the players. And although they're not the team or organization they once were, some of that mentality still lingers.