The Al Davis era of Raiders football encompassed two California cities and bounced from the Pride and Poise era to a Commitment to Excellence. However, that consistent level of success abruptly disappeared after their loss in Super Bowl XXXVII. That led to 13 often-miserable seasons in which the postseason became a wistful memory and the team compiled a collective record of 63-145.

The current rebuilding project begun by second-year coach Jack Del Rio appears to be thriving this season with the Raiders currently sporting a 7-2 record and in the midst of a three-game winning streak. Perhaps most important is the fact that the team is undefeated on the road, having collected five victories.

Oakland’s most recent win came in the Oakland Coliseum with a 30-20 victory over the Denver Broncos, who also happen to be the defending Super Bowl champions. Prior to this prime time win, the Raiders had been seen as a pretender since none of their six wins came against a winning team. Meanwhile, the team’s two losses were the result of playing quality teams.

That perception ended when they defeated the 6-2 Broncos, with running back Latavius Murray serving as the focal point of the offense. Murray rushed for 114 yards and scored three touchdowns. The performance marked the first time this year he had broken the 100-yard threshold in a game and the fourth time in his career.

Derek Carr continued his rapid development into an elite quarterback, even though he only threw for 180 yards. He committed no turnovers and continues to show a knack for being able to move the ball in the closing moments of the game. He has two major assets to throw to in second-year man Amari Cooper and veteran Michael Crabtree.

On defense, Khalil Mack continues to make his presence felt, delivering two sacks against the Broncos, while also recovering a fumble and forcing another. When he was drafted in 2014, there was some question whether he could make the jump from mid-level play at the University of Buffalo. Those questions are no longer asked.

Seven games remain for the Raiders, which can be an eternity. While they may get there, they probably won’t last long since teams new to the postseason experience tend to struggle that first year. Still, it would be a good investment for the future.

Unfortunately, that future might find the Raiders in Las Vegas, since Mark Davis is following in his father’s footsteps by squeezing the city of Oakland for a new stadium it can’t afford. The loyal fans that pack the Coliseum for each game went through this gut-wrenching process in the early 1980’s and watched the Los Angeles Raiders win one Super Bowl.

Those fans deserve better, yet the NFL is likely to allow the team to again leave the city. Since few teams that lose teams twice are ever considered a third time, the Raiders should be the sentimental choice to win the Super Bowl.

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