The Perfect Raider
We need football back! Well, maybe you don’t. But I sure do, my Sunday’s now SUCK! Now I have a stupid life on Sunday’s and do things instead of trapping myself in my living room. So I guess maybe to keep myself sane I should just talk about it once in a while, and with still over a month to go until the NFL draft I wrote this “little diddy” about something I would love to see go down at the draft.
A lot of people reading this probably don’t know of the Raiders glorious past. The Raiders had a 3 year blip on the radar in the last 23 years or so where they made it to Super Bowl XXXVII (37). No, those weren’t the glory years. The glory years were from about 1967-1985 when the Raiders were winningest team in the NFL. They won 3 Super Bowls, went to 4, were in the most famous games in NFL history (Immaculate Reception, Sea of Hands, Ghost to the Post, the Holy Roller). And what made them so polarizing wasn’t just that they won, it was that they formed the identity of being a bad ass team.
From Al Davis refusing to do what he was told by commissioner Pete Rozell, to starting QB Ken “snake” Stabler, safeties Jack Tatum and George Atkinson constantly throwing hits that would have them banned from today’s game, Art Shell and Gene Upshaw wearing casts for fake injuries to essentially use as weapons, Lester Hayes and Fred Biletnikoff using as much stickum as they could pack on their hands and uniforms, John Matuszak and Lyle Alzado being borderline psychopaths, they just had such a renegade team wore the black hat PERFECTLY (would you believe I wasn’t born until 1983?) Well who would fit that mold better than one Jonathan Paul Manziel?
A.K.A. Johnny Manziel, A.K.A. Johnny football. It isn’t just kind of a good fit, it is a perfect fit. Now who knows at this point if Reggie McKenzie and the rest of the Raiders management sees it that way, but I sure do. This is a kid who has all the personality in the world, doesn’t give a damn what anyone thinks, and plays his own style that is not only effective but extremely fun to watch. Off the field…well the kid is a rockstar! Google some pics of him to see what I mean. Will that style work in the NFL is the big question obviously, and I really have my doubts. But I’ll be pulling hard for the kid to not only survive but thrive in the league.
But there are many football reasons for the Raiders to make this move as well. Even though they recently brought in Matt Schaub who is a very solid starting QB in this league, he’s not a franchise guy and they haven’t had a franchise guy under the age of 30 since Stabler was partying until 5 AM and winning 12 games a year in 14 game seasons. It is time to go get your QB of the future. They’ve only used a 1st round pick twice on a QB in the last 30 years, 3 times in the Super Bowl era. JaMarcus Russell failed to the shock of nobody, and Todd Marinovich failed to the shock of his father.
The difference between Manziel and Russell at least is that in 2007 you had to make a massive financial commitment to a high draft pick. If Manziel busts, it won’t be anything to cut him. Also as I said earlier, the Raiders have Matt Schaub who would be a great mentor and give Manziel a year or maybe even 2 to sit on the bench and learn the offense.
The Raiders have had a pretty good off season. They didn’t have much of a choice really in having the most cap space with over 50 million available. I like that they didn’t go out looking for the home run signing, and instead brought in a lot of well respected vets who still have a bit left in the tank. It wasn’t just being a bad ass, veteran leadership was also a staple of those great Raider teams. Justin Tuck, Tarell Brown, Antonio Smith, Maurice Jones-Drew, and James Jones are all guys who have had a lot of success in this league and will command a lot of respect.
I’m not even a Raider fan, but I constantly talk about it in all sports how it is just better when big markets/traditional powers are good. Teams like the Leafs, Habs, Rangers, Knicks, Celtics, Lakers, Bulls, Yankees, Red Sox, Dodgers, Cubs, Cowboys, Packers, Bears, Steelers, 49ers and of course the Raiders. I’ll probably hate them if they get back to being the dominant team they were in the 70’s and early 80’s, but you need those types of teams that wear the black hat perfectly.
Manziel would be simply perfect for them. He’s the type of kid who could be a culture changer if he pans out. His teammates love him, he’s interviewing very well, and you are hearing more and more positive talk about his work ethic as we get closer to the draft (and yes I know what Viks head coach Mike Zimmer said about him the other day…it’s called a smoke screen). Come that 5th pick, he better be on the board, and he better be there guy!
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