Oakland Raider DVD reviews: One Plunkett, one Marinovich.
Oakland Raider football fans suffer in August. The new season is so tantalizingly close, the last so terribly distant. At work we use our offices’ high speed connections to visit Raidernews.com five to ten times a day, hoping for yet another glimpse of some un-drafted free agent running a drill. (Is that CWood’s elbow on the bottom left corner of that pic?!? Could it be?!? Should I email all my friends and ask?) At home we watch our Raider game DVD-Rs, which we converted from our old tapes, which we bought from some dude on the net 5 years ago because we wore out our even older tapes seven years ago, to revisit old games. Last week I watched all three Super Bowl victories, reveling in Tatum’s behelmeting, King’s 80 yard touchdown catch, and Squirek’s interception.
Imagine my joy, then, at discovering Netflix had, (wait for it) 2 Raider highlight reels I’d never seen!!! YES!!!
NFL Team Highlights: The Story of the 2002 Oakland Raiders is Todd Marinovich. It is Jay Schroeder. It is Marc Wilson. I was more than disappointed, I was infuriated. I can only imagine Al Michaels was asked to write the narration and choose the highlights- only someone as incompetent and Raider-hating could have produced this foul mediocrity. I’ve already wasted more electrons writing this meager paragraph than the damn thing deserves. (I know you’ll still order and watch it and I don’t blame you, by the way. I would.)
NFL: History of the Oakland Raiders (2 Disc Series), on the other hand, is Stabler, Plunkett, and Gannon, all rolled into one. I cannot recommend it enough. A complete breakdown of both discs follows.
Disc 1 has 10 Chapters.
1. EAST BAY ORPHANS – THE EARLY YEARS
If you’re a 2nd or 3rd generation Raider fan like me you might have heard Grandpa talk about watching the Raiders play HOME games at
2. FOUNDATIONS – VISION AND DESIGN
Talks about the early core of players, from Otto to
3. BOMBS AWAY
The next season’s Heidi game is discussed. I’d heard of that of course, but what I didn’t know was that, in the AFC championship game that same year, the Raiders were down by 4, and on the New York 12 yard line with just 2 minutes left, when Lamonica lost his grip during a pass attempt, resulting in a backwards pass; a fumble that was picked up by the Jets and led to them winning. Namath would guarantee victory in the Super Bowl, and win, becoming a legend. But hell, we should have been there.
Next year 33 year-old John Madden took over, and Raider fans enjoyed the season of George Blanda. His 5 straight clutch-performance games made him a legend.
(On a personal note, this is the year my mom cajoled box seats from the secretary at Raider HQ. The family legend goes like so… Blanda kept making these incredible plays and the Raiders kept securing come from behind wins, and my Mom, 5’3”, never saw any of it. Everybody in the bleachers section would stand up and, though she stood on her seat, she STILL missed all the good stuff. In a fit of pique she went to Raider HQ and demanded better seats on a Monday. Better seats weren’t available. She rather vocally refused to take no for an answer. A voice from the inner office (could it have been Al Davis himself?) asked the secretary what the ruckus was about. When the secretary told him the voice said “Give her what she wants and get her the hell out of here.”
“Okay,” said the secretary, taking out a stadium seating map “where do you want to sit?”
“I want to sit there,” my mom said, pointing to a box next to the broadcasting box, “and I need four seats.”
“You can’t have- wait a moment please.” The receptionist went into the office and returned. “He says you can have four seats. The total is XXX.”
“I can’t afford that!”
“Ma’am, that’s the price.”
“That’s crazy! I want to watch the game but I can’t sell my house!”
“GET THAT BITCH OUT OF HERE!”
And that’s how my parents got box seats at regular seat prices, seats they would have until the Raiders left after 1980. The last game of that season my parents and the other fans in that box unfurled a huge banner from the box which read, for all the stadium to enjoy:
AL DAVIS- SUCK SMOG
and barricaded the door so that stadium security could not remove it. The banner remained until the
2 years later came the Immaculate Reception… Can I just say, for all of us- BULLSHIT! (I’d always thought the Steelers won the Super Bowl that year, but they did not. They would lose to
Next year came the
4. ONE GAME AWAY
Talks about the great 1970’s Raider teams, and the multiple AFC championship games the Raiders ALMOST won, starting in 1974 with the game after the
5. CHAMPIONS AT LAST
Then came the frozen field in
I didn’t know the ’76 Super Bowl ring had 24-7 on the side of it. It does. That’s how powerful the rivalry between the Raiders and the Steelers was.
6. A WILD RIDE
The Raiders again made it to the AFC Championship game in 1977, this time by beating the Colts in the famous Ghost to the Post game. But only to get screwed by the refs, who refused to acknowledge that the Broncos fumbled on the Raider goal line. The fumble would have been returned 99 yards for a Raider touchdown. It is fun watching Al Davis talk about this game- he’s STILL pissed- he grits his teeth, he wants to smack somebody- and as he says regarding the non-fumble- “We’d a won that game- we’d a gone to the Super Bowl.” (Again, I had no idea this ever happened. I was six at the time, and my family never mentioned it. Odd. Maybe they blacked it out.)
Next comes the Holy Roller game against
Then Plunkett’s resurgence and the Cinderella 1980 season are shown. (This is where my football memories begin, with Lester Hayes sacking Stabler in his Oiler uniform, and with Mike Davis’ interception in the end zone in
All culminating in a 2nd Super Bowl victory.
Then comes the season culminating in a Super Bowl victory against the Redskins. Jim Plunkett says that that 1984 was the strongest Raider team he’d been a part of, btw. Interesting.
This chapter begins with Tiger Woods talking about how he is a big Raider fan. Er- whatever. There is some talk about Raider greats of the that era, including Howie Long, Marcus Allen, Mike Haynes, and Bo Jackson.
8. HEROES AND TRAILBLAZERS
Talks about Art Shell becoming the head coach, and the brief resurgence of the Raiders while he was coach. He won coach of the year, and led us to win the AFC West with a 12-4 season in 1990, and to victory against the Bengals in the first playoff game. (let’s not talk about
9. RAIDER RENAISSANCE
This chapter skips over the post-Shell mid-90’s era to talk about the Gruden era- 3 AFC West championships- the Tuck game. Talks about Tim Brown and Jerry Rice. Another Super Bowl attained.
10. SILVER AND BLACK LEGACY
Claims the Super Bowl loss is a minor blemish on a beautiful legacy, and, after watching the first nine chapters, I have to agree. Talks about today’s Raider Nation and the Black Hole denizens. Discusses Raiders in the Hall of Fame.
Now you might think that’s all. (Geeze this review is long, I almost wish it WERE all.) But that’s NOT all.
The special features section features 5-10 minute documentaries on:
George Blanda’s miracle season
The Immaculate Reception
The Heidi Game
Okay, that’s it for now. I’ll post about disc 2 of this series tomorrow. It is also the goods.
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(This is generally a political blog, with occasional short stories and such. If you're conservative this is for you. If you're a lefty, or a right for that matter, you might want to take a look at the UPC, which is a group blog made up of equal parts right and left-biased pundits which I'm proud to be part of.)