EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


December 12, 2008

Raider Nation still believes

First thing's first. Raider Nation preceded the moniker Red Sox Nation by more than a decade.

That is important this week. Because it will explain what awaits the Patriots on Sunday.

The Patriots will show up in Oakland and win. They have to win. They have a playoff berth at stake. Sure, they could possibly struggle because of the injuries, but the Raiders, now 3-10, are the Raiders.

But from the 2,700 miles away, they look at Sunday's game against the Patriots a tad differently.

"I hate the Patriots and I always will," said season-ticket holder Cory Buchanan of Sacramento. "When we beat the Patriots this weekend, and possibly help knock them out of playoff contention, it is going to be great, and we will be there in person to watch them fall."

I confess I went looking for trouble when I found Mr. Buchanan.

I Googled Oakland Raiders Fan Clubs and my laptop lit up like a pinball machine. There were 58 recognized Raiders fan clubs overall. They're everywhere; California, Texas, New Jersey, Virginia and even little old Providence, which hosts a New England chapter.

I sent e-mails to nearly all of them asking questions about owner Al Davis, the current plight of the franchise and, of course, the painful "Tuck Rule."

Nearly all of them responded. And as you probably guessed, the "Tuck Rule" is still a sore subject.

"The Tuck was to me a bunch of (bunk)," said Marc Gutierrez, who heads the Texas Hardcore Oakland Raiders Boosters out of El Paso. "I think we all know that was a fumble and the worst part of it was that it was the beginning of the Patriot Dynasty. Do I hate the Patriots? Hell yeah, I do."

Here's another guy still upset about the Snow Bowl in January 2002 when Tom Brady seemingly fumbled but the refs ruled it was incomplete due to the tuck rule.

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