One Sunday afternoon put the entire Raiders mystique to bed -- January 26, 2003. The Raiders had seemingly put the whole 'Tuck Rule' to rest, Al Davis was proven correct for firing ... err... trading Jon Gruden to the Buccaneers. And the 'Greatness of the Raiders' was going to be restored to all of its glory.
Except for one thing.
They needed to play (and win the game).
Center Barrett Robbins apparently knew what was coming, he skipped town and went -- as legend goes -- to Tijuana. Or Pacific Beach. Or a donkey show in Santee. Not that it mattered, the rest of the Raiders offense was missing for most of the day.
He might be dead now. And I do not care enough to look it up.
While the Buccaneers defenders were not in the Raiders' huddle, cameras caught the John Lynch bragging about how the Raiders never bothered to change the language on their calls. Yeah, hard to imagine the Raiders not being prepared.
The Raiders probably would have fared better with Gruden on its sideline.
The Buccaneers put a 48-21 beating on the Raiders, and while that was clearly satisfying. Nothing topped watching the endless drones of Raiders fans filing out of Qualcomm Stadium crestfallen, and not able to even mutter the most mundane of expletives that typically touched their herpes-infest lips.
The myth of the Raiders died that day. The Raiders have not had a winning season, nor reached the playoffs since that time. Even the thugs that formerly brandished their gear found something more manly -- like Sacramento Monarchs gear.
Oh, and they stopped selling beer at halftime.
Partly because they did not want to have a riot. But mostly because Raiders fans kept trying to use food stamps and their return Grayhound tickets to purchase hooch.