Much has been made of the Oakland Raiders age throughout the season. Experience, however, might be the better term since the team reached its first Super Bowl since 1983.
The Raiders, who take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for Super Bowl XXXVII Sunday in San Diego, have six players on the 35-years of age and older list. Wide receiver Jerry Rice, safety Rod Woodson, and linebacker Bill Romanowski are looking to add to their collections. Defensive end Trace Armstrong, quarterback Rich Gannon and wide receiver Tim Brown, meanwhile, are looking for their first.
Defensive tackles John Parrella and Sam Adams are two free agent acquisitions. Adams, like Woodson, was a member of the Baltimore Ravens Super Bowl winning team in 2000. Parrella is looking for his first.
"Winning a Super Bowl is something that solidifies your season," Woodson said. "It says that you were the best at your job that year."
Parrella played in Super Bowl XXVIV on a San Diego Charger team that lost to San Francisco 49-26. That season aside, most of the Charger teams Parrella played on were terrible. Parrella, however, could not resist coming to Oakland when the Raiders came calling in the free agency period.
"I guess your arms look bigger in black," Parrella quipped. "This is a team that wins and that's what drew me here."
Rice played on three Super Bowl winning teams across the Bay as a San Francisco 49er. Rice, however, was released by the 49ers after 16 glorious seasons.
"The reason I joined the Raiders was because it was an opportunity to start over," Rice said. "I really felt like it was a chance to prove myself all over again. Plus, I felt like I would look good in silver and black."
Romanowski is trying to become only the second player in NFL history to play on five Super Bowl champions. He played on two in both San Francisco (1988-1989) and Denver (1997-1998).
"I'm ready to play this game today if I had to play," Romanowski said on Tuesday. "Playing the game is my fun. Sunday is my fun. The rest of it is a business trip. When I take the practice field, that's when it starts getting fun. When I play the game Sunday in front of the world that's when the fun happens."
Armstrong, who collected his 100th career sack, will not play because he is on injured reserve. Brown and Gannon are also looking for a Super Bowl to complete their portfolio.