When you get into Qualcomm Stadium for a Raiders vs Chargers game, it doesn't really feel like you are at an away game. First you see a crowd that appears from the naked eye to be equal parts black jerseys and blue and white jerseys. Then you hear them and realize your eyes are not playing tricks on you.
First it happens when the players enter and leave the field. Typically when the home team exits from warm-ups, they are greeted to a rousing cheer from the fans. But when the Chargers leave for the locker room, the boos seem to override the cheers. It can't make the Charger players feel too good in their own digs.
The Charger fans try to counteract it by booing the Raiders in like fashion but it just doesn't resonate.
Raider fans are often witnessed talking bad about their fan contingency down in Southern California. But it is times like this that they should tip their hat to them. Those Los Angeles and SoCal fans look forward to this meeting in San Diego every year. They show up in droves to cheer on their beloved Raiders.
The feeling among the players about the fan presence here was very positive this week. Hue was very excited. When asked if it felt like a home game, he laughed and said, "Yes it did. I mean the fans were outstanding. They were phenomenal. You walk out there before the game and it's all Raiders you know, and during the game, when our team came out, I thought we had a little bit more applause than the home team. So that was a good thing. I get excited about that because these fans are unbelievable."
Michael Bush also cracked a smile when he was asked about the crowd here in San Diego. "Feels like a home game to be honest with you," said Bush. "You know that's what I've noticed coming here the last two years, or three years or so. It's just like they're back in our stadium. They was rocking, they was behind us, supporting us, and that's great."
Carson Palmer laughed as well when he was asked if this felt like a road game: "No. When we took the field for warm-ups and it was like we were being introduced at the O and they say 'Here comes the quarterbacks... Here comes the running backs...' every time the position group came out and left the tunnel there was more Raider fans than there were Charger fans. That's my first real taste, you know, it's my first away game, my first real taste of the Raider Nation. You hear a lot about it but until you're part of it or you experience it, you don't know what that means, you don't know what that's about.
"It's awesome... When you play against the Steelers it's kind of the same thing. You play a home game against the Steelers in some stadiums and they take over your stadium. It just goes to show you how passionate the fanbase is, how widespread the fanbase is. I'm excited to go to Minnesota and see what kind of Silver and Black shows up there. I know it's a long trek but I'm sure there's Raider fans in Minnesota and the Midwest. It's just great having that kind of excitement. Having that in an away game. Normally you go into an away game and it's quiet and you like that quietness but I like going to an away game and the crowd being excited after a win like that."
The Raiders gave these diehard fans plenty to cheer about today as they pulled out a 24-17 win over the Chargers.
This is the second season in a row the Raiders have won in San Diego after going winless the previous seven seasons. They keep this up and the fans will keep coming to the friendly confines of Qualcomm Stadium.
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