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“The One Thing That Will Keep the Raider Nation Together During This Emotional Season”

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in memory of all the Raider fans we’ve lost this year including Yvonne Esquibel Avalos.  Be good to each other; God’s Peace. 

“The One Thing That Will Keep the Raider Nation Together During This Emotional Season”

One thing is needed to keep the Raider Nation together during this upcoming crazy year.  We’ll get to that later though.  It was nice taking a break but it’s time to gradually get back into the race.  I hope everyone’s summer is going well. Things are copacetic with me and I’m having a good time in life.

I would like to give a quick thank you to all of you for your support in reading my items on different websites, social media and on wordpress. When I came back last February, I couldn’t imagine that the support would be this great. I have a total of 42,000 twitter followers (30k in sports; 12k for politics) and some of my items and articles (and your comments) are read by people from 26 different countries.   From celebrities to famous athletes to politicians to regular people like you and I; I have some of the best people on the internet following me and I’m very proud of them. I’m really overwhelmed. Thank you again for making your voice be heard and for being such an inspiration to me. No voice is too small.

The reason I said that this would be such a crazy year for Raider fans is pretty obvious. People are Hopeful that this nightmare stretch of bad football is over; the possible move; stadium sagas and rumors, and so much more. Social media; for good or bad; has changed the world forever. It’s like the world magnifying glass that makes everything bigger. Social media can be a great place to express yourself but it has also become, stressful, dramatic, and a haven to show us how crazy things have become in our world and country.

Many Raider fans tell me about some of their interactions with some very interesting people online. Some are nice, some are angry and some you can’t make up.

For 2 1/2 years I’ve been writing a book on my communications with people online. I will finish it this winter.   Some I’ve gone out with, some I’ve done business with, and a few I’ve called the cops on. I never knew the internet could be this way with so many troubled people.

I was listening to a radio psychologist who was explaining the three types of social media posters. There are the pretty much normal people who may go off on a tangent occasionally but for the most part are pretty level headed. There is the bully that can’t say two words without an F bomb and who usually start responses with an insult or an attack. And there is the victim that can find you disrespecting them in anything you say including complements. He said unfortunately the latter two groups are growing.

I stopped writing a couple of years ago and was just kind of done with social media because of this nonsense. I’m a very private person but people told me to be much more open and available to people. They told me to be an open book with my photos, life and work. My girlfriend at the time and I would share our lives.

I began writing for about.com, ehow, medical sites and various sports sites. Things were flowing. I also was a regular on 2 radio shows. I was a regular emailer to Gary Radnich’s show on KNBR and he called me the best and smartest emailer their show had. I would call twice a year to say hi and like Gary said, he made me. I also started a dating blog talking about the insane people and world of dating as well as politics. Bad idea. Gary once told me, “act like you don’t know something sometimes and people will like you more”. LOL He was right! Wow. I never thought it would get so bad.

Try going home at 11:30 pm and seeing a stranger there at your door step who wants to “talk to you” about what you wrote, or a nice girl you just met online is in your office making a scene because you don’t want to see her and she loses her temper & shows extreme emotional issues. Or come out to your car and have it keyed with **** you, niners baby! The best was a tea party person who said I was lower than dirt commie scum and he needed to eliminate me. I called the cops, deleted all my accounts, and disappeared.

We talk about it often in the medical field. How people have become so out of control emotionally and how disturbed and scary they are. Everyday people are finally getting what we’ve been saying by their interactions online with people.  Many online and in our lives can’t argue properly or they can’t handle conflict without losing it.   Some people we interact with we won’t even be alone with. I’ve actually had a couple people; from information on my old social media accounts; come to my house to “talk”.

I say all this because my hopes are that we all learn that one thing that we need to be is civil. No one should ever feel uncomfortable.  We’re supposed to be looked up to by our kids and families and we are supposed to be adults. It’s ok to argue or disagree and part as friends, but it’s not ok to be abusive, psycho, or overly sensitive acting like the world is against us.  Save the drama for reality shows, not online interactions.  Class is becoming very rare in our society.  If skinny Justin Timberlake can bring sexy back, we can bring having class back.

Lets be real; even bad people think they are good and rarely wrong and even bad people can be nice sometimes. Some can easily forgive themselves for hurting you, but they will hunt you down and kill you for any slight they think you have done to them. We talk about it often. It doesn’t matter how rich, famous, handsome or cute they are. It’s what’s inside that really matters.  Our society can be very shallow; but lets not us be shallow too.

That One Thing to Bring Unity:

I spoke at a business meeting recently and during a Q & A I was asked If I could give the business world one thing, what would it be. Many thought I’d say 3-D printers, or something else.  I told the gentleman I’d give the world and business one thing; a Conscious.

To have a conscious is to read the room. You are sensitive and aware of the people around you. The minute you don’t have a conscious, you then lose the ability to communicate or argue in a healthy manner. Without a conscious you think you are better than someone else, and if you think you are better; smarter; better looking; stronger; or whatever; then you lose all ability to reason. If you think you are better than someone else you also lose all compassion for them and the ability to really hear them. Wars have been caused many times for a lack of conscious.

Anyone can communicate well when you agree or when you are complimenting each other, but real communication comes when you disagree. That’s when maturity, spirit, humbleness and knowledge takes over. And if someone lacks those things, the outcome won’t be a good one.

My hope for all Raider fans is to have a conscious this year. We don’t know where the Raiders will be playing, but be a part of the team. Be sensitive to how people feel, and if you haven’t grown up in Oakland for God’s sake stop telling them how to feel. It’s like telling a woman, “pfft; that child birth thing doesn’t look so hard”, or a non pet person telling a pet owner, “It’s just a dog, my God stop treating it like it’s a part of the family”. I don’t care if you are 16 or 46, if you didn’t experience something than it’s the ultimate sign of immaturity and ignorance to tell other people how to feel.

And Oakland fans I feel your pain but remember most Raider fans are cool.   I know that there has never been a city in any sport, in any part of the world that has lost their team twice, but don’t take it out on non Oakland fans. Oh sure there are jerks that will say nasty things, but don’t let them get to you. Life is too short to let petty squabbling ruin you.

Remember; have a conscious whenever you post online. Here’s to a successful year on the field, and to a civil one off of it.   One team; one family.

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“The Greatest Defensive Backfield of all time! The Oakland Raiders Soul Patrol”

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There will never be a defensive backfield like the Oakland Raiders Soul Patrol of the 1970’s ever again.  They were the most intimidating and greatest group of all time.

The 70’s will always be remembered as the greatest era for the NFL.  It’s the era when there were many great teams and great quarterbacks.  Without a salary cap some backups on the great teams could start elsewhere.  Defenses could do as they please with little to no protection for QB’s and WR’s.  Television helped make the Superbowl become a must see event.  Teams like the Raiders, Steelers, Dolphins, Chiefs, Cowboys and Vikings made this a decade of excellence.  The Steel Curtain, the No Name Defense, Doomsday, and the Purple People Eaters are all revered names in NFL lore.  When the Steelers met the Raiders in the mid 70’s, there were no less than 22 hall of fame coaches, owners, and players on the field at one time.  That will never happen again.

“There was nothing like them”, said HOF QB Fran Tarkenton about the Soul Patrol in a KNBR radio interview.  “In 1979 the NFL created the 5 yard chuck rule because of Atkinson, Tatum, Brown, Thomas and the Raiders.  Wide Receivers could not get off the line of scrimmage against them.  Atkinson and Tatum and the rest of the gang were so physical and strong that I’d have to wait and hope my guys could get open before I got killed”.

The wide receivers of the 70’s never get their due because their numbers weren’t the pinball numbers of today.  In today’s NFL, if you exhale near a receiver it is a penalty.  In the 1970’s it was literally survival of the fittest.  They had to worry about the great physical play of the era and you could not be a wide receiver unless you could go over the middle. I’ve seen pass interference penalties in today’s game where a defensive back literally brushed by a player.  The rules are so comical now that records are being broken almost weekly.  The 70’s on the other hand was an extremely brutal and tough era, and the most talented and toughest defensive backfield of them all was the Soul Patrol in Oakland.

Oakland the King of Professional Sports:

The center of the sporting world in the 70’s was Oakland California.  In 1975 a team lead by superstar Rick Barry silenced all the east coast and their writers by sweeping the Washington Bullets for the NBA title after writers practically laughed at their chances.  The Oakland A’s dynasty had an amazing 3 straight World Series Championships beating national league royalty in the Dodgers, Reds, and NY Mets.  And then oh by the way, for a 25 year stretch the Raiders were the winningest team in all of US sports with several division titles, and 3 superbowl wins.  No city ever had so many titles in such a short time.

The Soul Patrol embodied what the Oakland Raiders were all about.  They were tough, borderline dirty, intimidating and extremely confident.  Each member played their role in a defense that still today is revered.

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George Atkinson Jr.:  (“Butch” 6’ 0”; 180 lbs.)

There may have never been a tougher Raider than George Atkinson.  Listed as 6 feet 1 inch tall, many say it was more like 5’ 11” but no one had the guts to tell him that.

Atkinson was an intimidator that roamed the field like a lion ready to pounce.  He was the trash talker of the group often seen taunting and intimidating players that were much bigger than he was.  He once broke Russ Francis nose with a vicious forearm hit, and his hits against Lynn Swann of the Steelers are a part of NFL history.  He had blazing speed and in fact still holds the single game record for punt return yardage for the Raiders at 205 yards.

Atkinson took it very personally when someone tried to block him low.  He learned from Tatum to go after a Wide Receiver if they tried to hit their knees or ankles.  In some films you can actually see Raiders defensive backs going towards blockers to actually hit them after they tried to hit them low.  All time great Paul Warfield once said when you went over the middle against Oakland and didn’t account for Tatum and Atkinson, you would not be in the game long without being carried off the field.  Against the run, he could go through blockers and make amazingly hard tackles.  If you ran wide against the Raiders, their DB’s would make you pay.  Atkinson loved to make players pay.

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Willie Brown:  (6’ 1”; 195 lbs.)

Amazingly Hall of Famer Willie Brown was never drafted when he graduated from Grambling St.  He was signed by the Buffalo Bills who cut him and then he was picked up by the Denver Broncos.  He soon became an all star but was traded to the Raiders in 1967 where he played for the rest of his career.  Unlike the other 3 members of the soul patrol, Brown was fast, graceful and laid back.  He wasn’t a talker but a great defender who was a shut down corner. He had good size and played the run very well, but he was a master of the bump and run man to man game that the Raiders loved so much.  His famous interception in the Superbowl with the great announcer Bill King’s call of old man Willie is as famous as any highlight NFL films has.

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Skip Thomas CB (Dr. Death; 6’ 1”; 205 lb.):

In a day when cornerbacks were just as important in attacking the run as they did the pass, Skip “Dr. Death” Thomas role was to make everyone that came near him remember that he hit them.  What is funny is he was nicknamed Dr. Death by Raiders great Bob Brown who said Skip Thomas looked like the cartoon character Dr. Death.

Skip Thomas was a vicious tackler who was the king of the clothesline tackle.  Many times his padded arm was seen knocking the ball out of wide receivers hands.  When he hit people, sometimes he would actually launch his whole body and his arm swung like a Russian sickle.  It was intimidating, violent and sent the message to not come his way.  He had a two year stretch of 6 interceptions per year.  Due to the great talent of Willie Brown, teams would try to pick on Skip Thomas and usually the results were not good.

People forget that in the Super Bowl, Minnesota moved their fine wide receiver Sammy White around so that Thomas mostly guarded him in the first half.  White didn’t  catch a pass in the first half and Thomas was on him like glue.  As the great Raiders announcer Bill King once said, “the Raiders have 3 safeties when Dr. Death was playing cornerback”.

Sadly and ironically he passed away too soon in 2011 also at the age of 61, but he will always be remembered for his talent, toughness and personality as one of the great members of the Soul Patrol.

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Jack Tatum Safety (Assassin; 5’ 10”, 205 lb.):

If Atkinson was the voice of the Soul Patrol, Tatum was the heart.  Ronnie Lott called him his inspiration and the standard bearer for all NFL safeties.  John Clayton said there was never a harder hitting safety in the NFL.  Once during the Super Bowl break, the NFL Show with Cris Collinsworth and Chris Berman were discussing players that should be in the Hall of Fame, and to a man they all said the same name; Jack Tatum.

He may have been the most intimidating force in NFL history this side of Dick Butkus. John Madden said many times he was mentally saddled with the hit on Darryl Stingley which paralyzed Stingley for the rest of his life.  Many close to Tatum said he really never got over it up to his death in 2010 at the age of 61 due to complications from diabetes.

Earl Campbell said no one ever hit him harder than his touchdown run where he and Tatum hit head on.  Vikings quarterback Fran Tarkenton said he thought Tatum knocked Sammy White’s head off in the Superbowl hit that Tatum laid on him when the Raiders dominated the Minnesota Vikings.  Even his counterpart George Atkinson said once, “he hit a tough Denver TE Riley Odoms so hard it sounded like a gun shot.  Odoms was in agony and his eyes rolled back.  I thought he had killed him”.

I remember a story that Ahmad Rashad told.  He said that days before the Vikings were to play the Raiders in the Superbowl, Tatum had walked into a room where the Vikings were relaxing and playing cards.  Tatum walked into the room and into the closet and just stood there for a couple of minutes.  He then walked out of the closet and left.  Rashad said that not one Viking laughed or said a word until they saw Tatum walking out of the building.  Rashad said that it was a mind game of intimidation and he said it worked.  He said, “we laughed; we just made sure Tatum couldn’t hear us”.

Tatum was a linebacker playing safety.  He also was dominating against the run and would take on guards and tackles at any given notice.  Many game films show Tatum chasing blockers trying to hit them before the blockers would try to block him.  Tatum was vicious, fearless and ready to hit anyone.  He epitomized the great physical play of the day, and what the Raiders defense always tried to do; stop the run and make the quarterback go down, and go down hard. With a good pass rush, the Raiders defense was hard to beat as was seen in their dominance.  I would like to do an in depth article just on Jack alone in the future.

Jim’s Jamz:

With today’s rules there will never be hits and aggressive play like the Soul Patrol did.  Quarterbacks and Wide Receivers pretty much do as they please and the Soul Patrol would not be allowed to do what they did best; intimidate, make plays, and be legends.  In the most physical era, the Soul Patrol was like a pack of wolves ready to take down any sized prey.  They remain the greatest defensive backfield of all time.