As we sit two games into the 60th year of the Raiders’ franchise, one factor has always remained the same. Whether it be a 4-12 season or a 12-4 season, the Black Hole has always supported the team.
Throughout the years, countless teams’ fanbases have created drives to establish something to rival the Black Hole. The Minnesota Vikings designed a stadium to reflect fans’ volume and make things more difficult for opposing teams, while the Seattle Seahawks have established the “12th Man” drive, encouraging their fanbase to be loud enough to act as an extra player on the field.
Both of these groups factor into their teams’ successes, but less is expected from them when their teams are not as successful.
The Black Hole, however, constantly remains consistent, whether it be in sickness or in health. For example, in Week 1, just two days after the fans found out Antonio Brown would not be staying with the team.
For some teams, this news could be devastating and demotivating. But for the Raiders and the Black Hole, this news appeared to light a fire under the fans. The Black Hole showed up louder and more electric than ever. The Black Hole not only affected the play of the Broncos, but also showed the Raiders they would support whoever took the field for the team. The members of the Black Hole erupted in countless chants demonstrating that the team had a message for Brown.
As we watch the Broncos game, as well as the remaining home games of the 2019 season, we must realize this could be the last time the team has support of this level.
The Raiders are set to relocate their dynasty to Las Vegas next season. Fortunately, Raider Nation and the Black Hole travel just as well as any team in the NFL. Unfortunately, things will be much different with the tourism aspect Las Vegas features.
Las Vegas remains the tourism capital of America. People flock from all reaches of the country to spend their weekends there. The problem the Raiders face is fans of other teams planning trips to Vegas in accordance with their teams schedule. The Raiders could be facing significantly less of a home field advantage after their move as Vegas is far more appealing than Oakland for visiting fans.
The significance of the Black Hole is that most of the fans apart of it are from the nearby area. The Raiders are not just a team to them, they are their livelihood. Sure, all teams have diehard fans waiting for Sunday for their team to play, but Raider Nation lives in the fans that come to life for the football season.
Similar to life after a breakup, the Las Vegas version of Raider Nation will be different. The Black Hole may appear different from the outside. Yet, it will still carry the heart and fight of the original.
Often Imitated, Never Duplicated
The Raiders have a massive support already in Las Vegas. However, we should never forget the chants of “OAKLAND” after Charles Woodson’s last game. As fans, we must carry the heart of Woodson and all the greats before him into our new Vegas home.
The fans, memories, and players will live on with the Raiders’ shield.