With the Raiders expecting another pair of raucous seasons at O.co, questions arose about how the team would respond to their final days in Oakland. With that said, this article will not attempt to re-litigate or argue about relocation. Instead, the question presented to FPC Raiders writers Chris Simmons, Ray Aspuria, Pete Camarillo, and Anthony Zaragoza deals with what reasonable expectations.
When the head honcho gives the head coach a reported $100-million deal, expectations are extremely high. Even though its year one, the expectations among optimist is a winning record with a return to the playoffs. The skeptics see the Raiders continue the cellar-dwelling ways expertly applied by former head coach Jack Del Rio. The reasonable expectation is a so-so season this coming year with a breakout the following. The 2019 Raiders will truly be the Jon Gruden Raiders as this coming year is the litmus test for the Gruden-Reggie McKenzie connection.
Few teams’ mascot, name, and branding reflect their location like the Raiders. The Raiders, renegades of the East Bay and they are a symbol of the tough, working class and conscious history of the city of Oakland. Hence, Oakland will always be Mecca for the Raiders. Still, all the pressure is on the Raiders to win before they leave Oakland. There is no doubt that the city and fans deserve a championship after they did all they could to support the team. Not to mention, the taxpayers are still paying off the addition that lured the Raiders back. You do not bring Gruden in and pay him $100 million for nostalgic purposes. Gruden and the franchise need to win. They need to bring the city a championship before they abandon the city and leave gentrification in their trail.
There is a lot of pressure from more than just the move. Between Carr’s breakout season in 2016, Gruden’s return, and paying all the younger players, there is immense pressure to get it done. “It” probably looks like some deep playoff runs, about where the Raiders were expected to be last season. It is hard to say, “This team should win a ring”, but it would be fair to demand at least some divisional round battles and a division title before Vegas.
Oakland has one of the most passionate and loyal fan bases in all of sports. When Mark Davis decided to move the team to Las Vegas in 2020, the fanbase felt crushed. Therefore, the pressure on Gruden to deliver a season to remember to the East Bay is huge. Unfortunately, with the amount of turnover from last year’s team, expectations for this team are still unknown. We will know quickly into the season if this team will make Oakland proud or if it will be another disappointing year for the team.