The Oakland Raiders have experienced a complete turnaround in 2010. They were haunted more than the Astrodome with seven straight heartrenching losing seasons following the Super Bowl XXXVII appearance against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but now have a chance to put an end to the streak. 


The Media has placed relentless pressure on Al Davis and the team, making it out to be the worst organization in the NFL in recent years. But to paraphrase Lee Corso, "Not so fast!" There were five teams without a Super Bowl appearance prior to last season. Yet, the media has stuck to clobbering the franchise, especially the ESPN staff of NFL Analysts. But now the team seems to be climbing in the right direction and the media is slowly catching on and changing its attitude as a whole. 


When you hit rock bottom, its easy to start wanting a "quick-fix" after a couple of seasons, but the Raiders will get back to the top in due time. Before claiming the prize of competing as playoff and Championship contenders, the team must recognize what was successful on both sides of the ball and special teams as well. Repairing glaring holes, instilling discipline through each other, and mending team chemistry in the locker room hasn't been addressed in recent years, but looks to be made possible next season.


In the meantime, Raider Nation needs to acknowledge Oakland fought well against contenders like last week against Manning and the Colts and understand that these types of losses, long-term, can only improve a team and not set it back. Indianapolis is in a better situation this season. But the Raiders are young motivated team with an attitude, confidence and desire to win. Oakland is now willing to take the extra step to produce a winning team. The Raiders have far exceeded expectations with their divisional opponents in 2010. Outside of its division however, the team was faced with similar issues that haunted them in years past. Finishing games has been a issue, as it is with most mediocre teams (Houston, Detroit, Buffalo, Dallas, Miami), but the difference this season in some of the defeats the Raiders have understood the mistakes and corrected them in the following game. 


Evidently Oakland was on the bad end of the stick due to several pass interference calls in Sunday's 31-26 loss to Indianapolis. Chip shots were directed towards the Raiders defense which provided Manning & Co. scoring drives and was fluent woards the end of the first half. After the pass interference, Manning guided his team to a short lead heading into halftime by taking advantage of poor coverage from the defense. But contrary to the norm, Manning didn't get the job done with his arm, but rather his feet, taking off a open-field scamper towards the goal-line. That's right Vick and Tebow, ole' great pocket passer vets can run too. 


The Raiders returned behind in the half down 17-13, fought, moved the ball with their heads up and with a positive attitude, and were able to give the Colts a hard-boiled battle in the second half. Oakland solidified itself as a contender, which the team was throughout season. 



We never really knew what team would show up this season from Oakland. The one that was wiped off the planet in the losses at Tennessee (38-13), at Pittsburgh (35-3), and Miami (33-16), or the team that sweeped San Diego with a 5-0 record in its division. This form of inconsistency is almost the defininition of a team still in the developemental contention stage, but improving and showing signs of life with the right attitude to want to learn and grow as a team.



Looking ahead at the final game of the 2010 regular season, Oakland heads out to Arrowhead Stadium to face the AFC West Champions Kansas City Chiefs. This in all aspects is Oakland's playoff game. Expect the Raiders to play with some of the same heart as the Washington Huskies in the Holiday Bowl. Oakland is looking forward to its first season without a losing record in eight years and finish the season on a positive note and be the first team in league history to not make the playoffs and win all of its division duels