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(Last Updated On: December 29, 2018)

The Raiders vs. Denver Broncos Monday Night Football Game may be the last game in , at the Coliseum. This after Raiders Owner Mark Davis elected to seek a new home when the City of filed a 12-count lawsuit against the team for actions related to the Las Vegas Relocation.

The Raiders may play their last game in on Christmas Eve – perhaps marking the end of an historic, thrilling, complicated but never dull relationship that’s unique in professional sports history.

Thousands will trek to the “House of Thrills” to pay what maybe a final tribute to the Silver and Black in .

But let’s also raise a glass of holiday cheer to toast and thank the other half of this legendary team – the /East Bay fans – for creating scores of enduring memories and images for millions of people over several generations.

For and the entire East Bay, the Raiders have been a source of civic pride. ’s Raiders have boasted some of the ’s greatest teams with players and coaches who broke the mold.

But the team has in turn been enriched by East Bay fans. Raiders fans are among the most loyal and passionate in all of professional sports.

fans also have played a role in the fame and fortune of their beloved team that is leaving them – for the second time. supporters have created a unique atmosphere that helped build one of the most successful brands for the .

And fans deserve another trophy – for loyalty. fans still sold out games despite years of speculation and reports that their team would again move and a decade-plus run without a playoff appearance.

Al Davis, Oakland Raiders
Al Davis, Raiders

Given that it sanctioned the team’s move to another city (planned for 2020) despite unquestioned strong fan and community support, the seemingly does not fully appreciate what it’s had in . As Coach Jon Gruden noted, “some of the best games in the history of football have been played” in .

The should find a way to thank fans in a concrete manner for the memories and millions they created since the team’s birth in 1960 in the old, wild American Football League (AFL). After all, as the says, “Football is Family.”

I don’t know if that will happen so I’ll say thanks now on behalf of all the fans for the shared, unforgettable memories:

*The “roar” of the Coliseum where the Raiders played from 1966 through 1981 and made their historic return to in 1995. At times the Coliseum indeed seemed to shake as Coach John Madden described the noise during the Raiders’ immortal “Sea of Hands” playoff victory over the Miami Dolphins in 1974.

* The epic, larger than life rivalries against the Chiefs, Steelers and the known universe.

*The return of the seagulls whirling above the stadium’s grey concrete rims in the fourth quarter – which often seemed to herald the start of a stirring come-from-behind win.

* Diversity: On any given Sunday, Raiders fans come from every race and walk of life – lawyers, construction workers, CPAs, bikers and truckers. And of course, who can forget the Black Hole. This fan base reflects ’s diversity and grit.

And it will never be replicated.

*The thundering strains of the “Autumn Wind” before kickoff – a great song in any genre narrated by the “Voice of God” John Facenda.

*The look and smell of a real grass field, the shadows and light that changed along with the season, the bray of air horns throughout the cavernous Coliseum after a victory and camaraderie between the players and fans chanting “Raaiidderrs …. Raaiidderrs!.”

So, thanks again fans for the memories.

Along with your team, you and the Coliseum should never be forgotten.

PS.

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By JimZelinski

Jim Zelinski is a long-time supporter of sports in Oakland.

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