This offseason, the media’s treatment of the Oakland Raiders showed many fans why Marshawn Lynch was “only here so (he) doesn’t get fined” and why many professional athletes come to dislike the media. Before any moves happened or stats released, the media hounded Jon Gruden and the Raiders. Gruden’s credibility fell under question throughout the season, mostly for the trading of Khalil Mack but also for the way the season was going after the trade.
Life Moves Fast
The upcoming move to Las Vegas (along with the lawsuit the team was involved in) also steered the media’s focus away from the positives of the team. For a while, it seemed as though the Raiders were pouring gas on the media’s fire of criticism.
Change of Mindset
However, on March 9th, the tides began to turn. Although hiring Mike Mayock as general manager was quite a large move, Mayock had not done much to entertain the public until signing Antonio Brown. On March 10, the media exploded. NFL experts and casual fans alike took to Twitter to discuss, and maybe question, how something so good had happened to the Raiders. After the trade details became public, NFL Twitter blew up again after it was revealed that the Raiders were only giving up a 3rd and 5th round pick for a high first round talent.
Derek Carr also helped turn the team’s criticisms away by giving the media something else to talk about. Very soon after the trade occurred, a video surfaced of Brown and Carr working out and forming a great friendship.
Finally, the media began to circulate news from other teams, like Cleveland, who were also creating massive moves. That is, until the Raiders signed CB Nevin Lawson, T Trent Brown, WR Tyrell Williams, and LB Vontaze Burfict in the span of about a week. Maybe Gruden was telling the truth when he said that players are “dying to come and play here” as getting an update from a sports app about the Raiders newest move almost became a daily tradition during that week.
Even though Antonio Brown had very little, if any, influence for the Raiders signing Vontaze Burfict, he still gathered media buzz. While on their previous teams, Burfict appeared to knock Brown unconscious as Brown attempted to reel in a pass on a crossing route across the field. The media loved brining up the now-teammates’ past, but all buzz was put to rest as both Brown and Burfict publicly stated that neither player had issues with the other. Perhaps the players are not being as transparent as possible, but they both answered the question so well that the media had no way of spinning their answers as hidden messages about each player’s “true” feelings about the other, so the subject was dropped.
Most recently, the Raiders received an award from the Sloan Sports Conference that shocked many. The Raiders received an award for “Best Transaction” from an analytics point of view for the trading of Khalil Mack to the Chicago Bears. Gruden was constantly attacked for this trade all season, but hopefully this news helps fans and the media buy in to Gruden and the team.