Raider fans have typically taken over QualComm Stadium in recent years when the two teams meet – for a couple reasons. There are still several Raider fans in Los Angeles, where the team played from 1982-1994 before moving back to Oakland. In addition, the last time both teams made the playoffs was in 1982.
Both teams enter Sunday's game 8-4 tied atop the AFC West and even with Indianapolis for the AFC's best record. Raider fans took over Sun Devil Stadium when Oakland beat Arizona 41-20. By the end of the game, the stadium was virtually Silver & Black. Then again, the Cardinals (4-8) are an abomination. You would think the fan base would even out this time, right? Well, maybe yes and maybe no.
"I would expect that because of San Diego's record there would not be as many Raider fans," Oakland wide receiver Tim Brown said. "It would be a shame not to support an 8-4 team. We expect a hostile crowd. Keep in mind, most of the time we've been there San Diego has dropped off."
Recent trends, however, might be enough to scare off Charger fans.
The most recent Raider games in San Diego have featured violence along with heavy alcohol consumption. Two years ago, a Raiders fan stabbed a San Diego fan after the game and eventually sentenced to five years in prison. Three years ago, brawling in the stands got so bad the players noticed. Last year, security was tripled, fans were patted down at the turnstiles and beer sales were cut off at halftime.
The Chargers, however, have tried to rig it so Raider fans would not take over QualComm. The Chargers begged season ticket holders to keep their tickets to this game. In addition, people buying fewer than 25 tickets to the game had to buy an equal number of tickets to two other games.
"Charger fans have a higher aggregate income than Raider fans," San Diego defensive end Marcellus Wiley said in a not-so-subtle jab at Raider fans.
Vince D'Adamo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org