Original TFDS Logo.
Four years ago, I started writing Thoughts from the Dark Side on the old Most Valuable Network. At the time, it was just something to do in my spare time to vent about the woes of the Norv Turner-led Oakland Raiders. Since that beginning, it has been a real roller coaster ride to get where we are today.
I am quite proud of the growth of the site from its original days as raiders.mostvaluablenetwork.com through today. I am grateful for the friends and readers I gained along the way, and the opportunities that my work on TFDS has afforded me.My first post was unbridled homeristic optimism after the acquisition of LaMont Jordan, Derrick Burgess, and Randy Moss. It started as a place to rant and vent, and I didn't take it very seriously. (You think my typos are bad now?) However, the more I worked on it, I began to take it seriously.
In 2007, Most Valuable Network purchased the domain MVN.com, and rebranded itself as such. During the transition between domains and servers, my work from 2005-7 was lost to the vastness of the Internets. Fortunately, archive.org seems to have archived most of it in their wayback machine. With the new domain and the lost content, 2007 was a fresh start. Along with the dawn of the Lane Kiffin era, it was the beginning of TFDS as a serious media site.
Throughout 07 TFDS was a one man show. That was before I had media access, so I was scanning the Internet every way to Sunday to find the best information I could on the Oakland Raiders, as well as keeping a close eye on NFL Network. At the time, I was working hard but few seemed to notice. In December of 07, the traffic began to take off exponentially. As 2007 gave way to 2008, the future was bright for 08. I had a friend who went by the moniker Raider X who would occasionally contribute an article. Traffic was on the upswing, I was being noticed.
In early 2008, a snarky regular commenter offered to write an article for the site. I sent him an email calling his bluff. LDizzle thus began contributing regularly to the site. There were other readers who would end up contributing a few articles along the way as well, but LDizzle, who we now know and loathe (kidding, you know you're my brother from another mother) as Levi Damien kept chugging out the work. Not long after Levi began contributing, the brass at MVN informed me that they had found another Raider writer to join the team. Thus entered Rob Calonge.
With Rob and I behind the scenes and Levi contributing articles left and right, TFDS entered another period of sustained growth. However, there was trouble brewing, as MVN had decided to undergo a transition. At that time, TFDS underwent a new domain change to the current TFDSsports.com, and Levi was elevated to partner. I was also offered a position at examiner.com covering the Raiders at this time, which I accepted.
With the change in platforms, the new site always had an unfinished look and feel to it, and everything suffered, including staff morale. 2009 started on a low point, as the new site wasn't getting the traffic, and the posting quantity was down. However, a new hope was born when I was able to attain press access to the Oakland Raiders organization. After covering the draft and minicamps from inside, we got an offer to move to the Bloguin network. By the end of summer, we settled in our new home, which you now see, and we hope to be here for a while. At the end of 09, Rob left the team to pursue other opportunities. We now have Bret Armstong contributing, and Levi and I will continue to produce the best Raider content possible.
It has been a long strange trip, and it was only worth it because you guys read our work. We appreciate it quite a bit. This ain't the Oscars, so I am not going to list off a bunch of thank yous or anything like that. Although, we do have appreciation for everyone who has contributed in one way or another over the years, from the readers to the commenters, to those who have contributed articles, to our partner sites.
Our promises to you, as we churn towards the half-decade mark:
- Provide high quality Raider content on a regular basis.
- To be honest in our assessments, even painfully so when needed.
- To be accurate in our reporting.
- To be comprehensive in our coverage.
We look forward to serving the media needs of the Raider Nation for many years. If you have any suggestions for us, don't be shy either leave it in the comment box or email us at staff at tfdssports.com.