Oakland Raiders Finally Finding Relevance Despite Growing Pains of Young Roster

It’s hard to process a few new NFL realities after the Oakland Raiders’ win Sunday over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. We need to go slowly here and absorb everything.

Taking on too much, too fast while thinking about that game could be hazardous to your health. The root of any mental strain may actually depend on your age.

There’s a young generation of NFL fans that have never known a successful Raiders team, or at best, those visions are a faint memory. Oh sure, they’ve heard the folktales from their football-watching elders around the campfire. But to see it with their own eyes is something else entirely.

To briefly summarize the stench of recent Raiders history: They last made the playoffs in 2002 and in the years since haven’t had a winning record once. During that stretch, they finished with four or fewer wins seven times, and going 8-8 twice (2010 and 2011) felt like an accomplishment.

Now a team infused with youth at core positions is surging. The Raiders are making winning a habit and doing it often with late-game comebacks. Another one came Sunday to send the game they eventually won over the Bucs to overtime. That’s when wide receiver Seth Roberts won the game with his 41-yard touchdown reception in the fifth quarter.

How much, exactly, are the Raiders winning? Let’s just say that to find their last 6-2 start you have to flip back to a time when making Seinfeld references was only a little dated and still showed some grasp of pop culture.

Yes, for the first time in 15 long years, the Raiders are more than just relevant. They’re more than just a little above afterthought territory too. And they’re more than just some feel-good story fighting to get your attention.

They lead their division and are second in the AFC. Oakland is also 5-0 on the road for the first time since 1977. It gets better, too, as the Raiders...

About the Author