The Raiders and 49ers appear at the moment to be two teams headed in opposite directions. This is in contrast to the buzz in the offseason that had both teams on the rise. While the 49ers are 0-5 and alone at the bottom of what was supposed to be a weak NFC West, the Raiders are coming off a great win over the Chargers that jumped them to 2nd in the AFC West.
The offseason had the fans for both teams excited to see what the season would hold. The 49ers looked to build upon an 09 season in which they started great and fizzled out late in the season. The Raiders acquired several key players such as Kamerion Wimbley, Quentin Groves, and Jason Campbell-- further strengthening the optimism of what looked to be a great draft.
Still, through week 4, the Raiders were at 1-3 and back at the bottom of the AFC West. Looking up at the rest of the division is an all too familiar view for the Raiders in the past 8 seasons. The Janikowski missed field goal against the Cardinals in week 3 had all the makings of a dagger to the hopes of the Raiders for this season. It was a game the team should have won and didn't.
The aftershock from that missed field goal showed in empty seats at Oakland Coliseum for the next two games-- against the Texans and Chargers. Even with the hated Chargers in town, fans stayed away by the thousands. One fan I asked summed up the feeling of many not in attendance when he said "It's not worth the pain."
That Charger game now serves as a reminder of why you stick around. The payoff for the long-suffering fan will come eventually, and on Sunday some reparation arrived. After 13 straight losses that spanned over 7 seasons, the Raiders finally beat the Chargers. But unfortunately, they beat them in front of record low attendance.
Now, suddenly there is not only a feeling of excitement in the Raider Nation, but there is a feeling that they don't want to be absent next time the Raiders face off against a rival and exorcise some demons. That next time comes this Sunday when the Raiders travel across the bay to face the 49ers. And unlike the supposed 'battle of the bay' that occurs in preseason every year, this one counts.
That sentiment of "It's not worth the pain" is now being felt by the 49er fans. Simultaneously, Raider fans are as excited as they have been in 8 seasons. The Raiders have a chance to not only get back to .500 later in the season than they have in those 8 long years, but they can do it by getting two monkeys off their back in consecutive weeks. They already ended the 13 game losing streak at the hands of the Chargers and now they can take ownership of the Bay Area football landscape by beating the 49ers... on their home field.
This is where you come in. The 49ers game is sold out technically. But many Niner fans have no interest in watching their team in it's current sad state. And they sure as Hell don't want to see them lose to the Raiders and have to put up with all the harrassment that comes along with it.
Those fans' seats are available and Raider fans need to fill them. If this happens, and it very well could, the 49ers will lose their homefield advantage this Sunday. Raider fans won't outnumber Niner fans but if even 25% of the crowd is in Silver and Black, not only will it speak volumes of the resilience and loyalty of the Raider faithful, but it will all but eliminate the 12th man from the equation. No home crowd can truly effect the outcome of a game when they are running at 3/4 strength.
At last glance, there were still several tickets available on Dark Side Tickets for under $100. That is odd because in nearly every case, for a team that sells out their games, there will not be tickets that cheap. In this case it is because a sell-out is only as good as the butts in the seats. And if the 49er fans would rather put their butts on their couch at home, they better be prepared for a Raider fan to take their place.
If you are one such fan looking to attend this game and pepper Candlestick with Silver and Black, CLICK HERE to see what kind of prices and tickets are available for the game. And remember, most of those tickets are available with Instant E-ticket so you can print them at home. I hope to see and hear you at the game-- stealing that homefield advantage.