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’76 Oakland Raiders Named Greatest Team of All Time Proves Strength of Raider Nation: Fan Take
On Friday, March 30, the 1976 Oakland Raiders were named the greatest team of all time in the NFL. While there is no way to scientifically prove which team is truly the most superior over the many decades of football, there is one thing that is certain. The strength of the Raider Nation rises above all others in the league.
With over five million NFL fans voting, it was the Raider fans whose votes spoke the loudest. The debate over which fans are the most passionate in the NFL has been an ongoing topic for years, and in my opinion, the fact that it was the '76 Raiders who were named the greatest speaks volumes. It's just one more tick mark for the argument that fans of the Silver and Black are the most loyal, dedicated fans in all of football.
Yes, the 1976 team was truly awesome. We had one of the best head coaches of all time in John Madden, with Kenny "The Snake" Stabler leading the team at quarterback. The season opened with one of the greatest games of all time known as the " Comeback Classic," played in front of the home crowd in Oakland against the Pittsburgh Steelers. With only five minutes left in the game, the Raiders trailed by 14 but ended up winning 31-28 with only seconds left on the clock .
The season ended with the Raiders winning their first Super Bowl title, with MVP wide receiver Fred Biletnikoff making four key receptions and Willie Brown setting a record with his 75-yard touchdown reception return.
The 1976 Raiders were not only filled with unsurpassed talent, everyone on the team played with heart. And a true Raider fan exemplifies much of what the team had that year, loyalty, passion and dedication.
If you don't believe me, ask the newly signed linebacker Philip Wheeler. Yesterday afternoon he became the newest member of the Silver and Black. Before his visit to Oakland on Thursday, he tweeted that he had a tough career choice to make. By the time he left the East Bay he had already made up his mind.
Wheeler tweeted, "Dang Raider Nation ain't no joke. They deep. Lol," followed by, "Raider Nation showed love. Preciate that. Legendary place," and finally, "I see that documentary they did on the Raiders fans was real.#RaiderNation seems strong."
Matt Rogers, the host of Lifetime's "Coming Home," saw the magic when he was on the field filming the show last November. He told the Raiders' Jeannette Thompson, "I did not know Raider fans were truly that awesome. Raider Nation, we could not have picked a better football team to do this with and I really sincerely mean that." He reiterated the same thing to me when we spoke, and literally gushed about his feelings for the team, remarking, "I didn't r ealize what it was all about until that Sunday afternoon in November last season."
As Raider fans who've felt that magic, we know we have a lot to be proud of, and now we have just one more reason to feel that way.
K.C. Dermody grew up in the Bay Area of California, and has been an Oakland Raiders fan for her entire life. She has continued her loyalty to the team through its many ups and downs over the decades, and has been privileged to meet several of her favorite players, including famed quarterback, Jim Plunkett. Follow her on Twitter @kcdermody or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/kcdermodywriter.
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