It was a day of fans, food, fun, and Oakland Raiders. The annual Raider Nation Celebration was on full display as the Oakland Raiders again embraced and treated it’s community of fans with a free and up-close invitation to meet the team. Approximately 7,500 fans participated in free raffles for various Raider swag, a large play area for the small kids, and were treated to presentations by the Raiderettes. There were also a plethora of tents and booths where Raider fans were given big discounts on Raider gear such as game worn jerseys for $50 and 2-for’s on shirts and pants/sweats. Some of the longer lines of the day were for getting one’s picture taken with the teams three Lombardi Trophies and for the Kinder’s BBQ truck which was one of a few mobile food trucks on hand for the event.
City of Oakland Mayor Jean Quan was on hand, mingling with the crowd and taking pictures prior to her stage appearance later in the afternoon to salute the team, it’s fans, and to promote her “Save Oakland Sports” initiative that calls to keep the three major sports teams to stay long term in Oakland. Her sign up page can be found here.
Throughout the day, Raiders fans were treated to an on stage list of former Raider greats such as Jim Otto and Willie Brown. Later on display, was the introductions to the 2012 Oakland Raider players, coaches, and General Manager Reggie McKenzie, who received a very warm welcome. The lovely Jeanette Thompson hosted the day alongside radio personality “JT the Brick”. Some of the most memorable moments was having the rookies show off their new “haircuts” and the comedic performance by the defensive backs introduction. Most notably, the pairing of two Raider players seemingly separated at birth; Tyvon Branch and Michael Huff. Anytime you get these two characters together, comedy gold is often the result. The two, together, are straight up class clowns away from the football field. During a commercial break on their Sirius NFL Radio appearance in Napa a couple of days ago, they improvised a beat box and rap session in front of the show’s hosts Jim Miller and Gil Brandt. During the Raider Nation celebration on Sunday, they led the squad out frat-steppin’ style like they were stomping the yard. And then there was their mock confession of their iPod playlists.
For those that missed the event, I took the liberty of shooting video. It’s a compilation of over 100 video clips and a recount of the day’s activities. (Yes, I know it’s not a professionally shot video so, BE KIND.)