Pressure in the sense that it will apply to the Oakland Raiders this year is defined as an urgent claim, demand, or series of such that is burdensome and hard to bear. In 2010, the Raiders were under almost no pressure because nobody really expected them to do anything or make any noise. I have to wonder if this year is going to be harder for them because of the expectations that have arisen for this franchise. There are several different types of pressure and in this article I will examine how different types apply to the Raiders in 2011.
When you think of the atmosphere, what do you think of? Perhaps you think of the air, gases, ozone layer, everything that surrounds you when you go outside. But what I’m talking about is the atmosphere of the stadium, in this case, the O.co in Oakland. There are a few ways this can go, but normally for the Raiders at home the atmosphere is generally not electric. Therefore, the Raiders will be under pressure to put on a good show and get the fans to come out and fill the air with excitement. Like it or not, when there is excitement in the air it makes it easier on the home team and harder on the visitor. Having the atmospheric pressure of the stadium in their favor for eight games this year would be huge.
This is all about the coaches: Coach Hue Jackson, Coach Al Davis, the O-Line coaches, the defensive back coaches. I mention these specific positions because they are the most likely to have their blood pressure skyrocket throughout the course of the long season. Of course, for Coach Davis, his blood pressure has been elevated for years due to the ineptitude produced by his franchise over approximately the last decade. The Raiders need to go out and prove to be competitive this year to help the maverick get his blood pressure back down to a reasonable level.
For the first time in years, the Raiders are in a position to be dynamic on the offensive and the defensive side of the ball. Of course, there is always an obligation to try to be dynamic, but here is a situation where the preparation could actually meet the opportunity and create greatness. The Raiders were a top ten offense last season and Coach Jackson has placed upon his team the obligation to produce a top ten defense as well as getting better on offense in 2011. If the Raiders are able to accomplish this overachievement then they will most certainly be one of the most dynamic teams in the NFL. Dynamic teams win football games at this level with regularity.
Last season the playoffs were within reach towards the end of the season, but at the start of the season they were nothing more than a pipe dream. This year, the playoffs are expected because of the fact that they were within reach last year. After sweeping the AFC West, the Raiders are expected to perform better against other teams and if they can accomplish this vision then they will be in the playoffs. But having this type of expectation placed on the team creates a lot of pressure in 2011. It’s enough that they are putting that pressure on themselves without any outside help. Will they be able to live up to that hype under the pressure?
This is one that should be anticipated every season, not just this one in particular. You always want guys to go out and push each other to be better regardless of what’s expected from the overall team any given season. When you get these types of professional athletes pushing each other to be better day in and day out it is always going to make any team better. However, I’d like to note that with what I consider to be “exceptional” talent on this roster, this team not only has a chance to get better, but they have the ability to be something truly special.
It’s not a secret that the Raiders are looking to build a new stadium in the parking lot of the old stadium. But in order to do this, they need to be able to pay for some of that expense themselves without completely relying on investors, season ticket holders, and taxpayers. It’s been a long time since the Raiders have produced a quality product and during that time, they have not been making money. They don’t want this project to be a combined venue with the San Francisco 49ers and they also don’t want to move back to L.A., so they have to find a way to come up with some capital. They are under pressure to sell out more than just their opening game and make a legit playoff run to increase revenue from ticket sales and merchandise.
If the Raiders come out and underachieve early in the year, they will let the air pressure out of the city and the entire Raider Nation. Right now, the fans are pumped up and looking forward to what is supposed to be a worthwhile squad of players. The word that has most often been associated with the current roster is “Bully.” If it is proven to be fact that they are not that bully early in the season, you will be able to hear the air puff out of the entire organization in one massive collective sigh of disheartenment. This air puff will create negative pressure, like a vacuum cleaner, and suck the life out of the fan base, the locker room, and perhaps the entire organization.
In 2011, the Raiders may be on the cusp of greatness, but the road to hell is paved with good intentions. The pressure of trying to be the new darling of the NFL may inevitably be too much to handle for such a young group of gentlemen. If the team fails to produce under such lofty expectations, the pressure could lead the Raiders to being on the brink of extinction. That pressure, it is a tricky and pesky critter.