More Than Just for Real, the Raiders Show They’re a Real Super Bowl Threat

It's no longer correct to say the Oakland Raiders are for real. This is obvious. We know this. The sky is blue and there's some sort of election this week. Duh.

It's time to look at a bigger picture with the Raiders, much bigger, and two parts of that picture in particular. First, the league is better when the Raiders are good. This is a simple fact. It's a characteristic of the Raider genome that a good Oakland team is swashbuckling and sexy, liable to punch you in the mouth or run by you.

The Raiders are fun. The Raiders are important. This makes the NFL eminently more watchable.

Second, and perhaps more important, the Raiders are not just for real, they are a Super Bowl threat. If you can't see that, you're the one with a patch over your eye.

Yes, sure, the Raiders are highly flawed. In their previous game, they committed a record one cabillion penalties. Their defense, at times, has more leaks than the FBI. Their rotund kicker, Sebastian Janikowski, has been missing kicks at an unusual clip.

The team may also move to Las Vegas. Sure, no distractions there.

But the Raiders have something in abundance, and you saw it in the team's 30-20 win over Denver on Sunday night: guts. They may have cracks and faults, but they've got guts and guts is enough in the mess that is the AFC.

They play with a combination of joy and recklessness. They're the AFC's version of the Cowboys. They don't know they're not supposed to win. They don't care that everyone predicted they'd stink. They just play hard and crazy and aggressive.

You saw all of the various great and flawed machinations of the Raiders against Denver. That offense burned a good Denver defense. At the half, while the score was 20-10, it could have easily been 40-10. That offense can dominate any defense, but the miscues and penalties make them fallible.

But man are they fun to watch and boy are they ...

About the Author