Chargers vs. Raiders

The last Hell Week.

Jim Rome
November 07, 2019 - 10:21 am
Raider Fan

USA Today

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Thursday Night Football is generally. Pretty forgettable. Generally. But not tonight. But tonight is different. Tonight is Chargers-Raiders. The team that isn’t moving against the team that is moving. And tonight is the last time it’s taking place in Oakland. In primetime.

In other words, it’s Hell Week. And not just Hell Week, but a shortened Hell Week. And the last Hell Week that ends in Oakland.

Because at this time next year, one team will be in Las Vegas and the other will not bleeping be in London

If you know this show, you know what this rivalry has meant to the show. You know how far back it goes. Chargers rule! Raiders suck! Good night now!

Raiders rule! Chargers suck! Good night now!

There was absolutely nothing like Chargers-Raiders and absolutely nothing like Hell Week. It’s impossible to describe it now in terms that would make sense and sound real. But it was real. Very, very real. All too real.

I’ll tell you how real. As many of you know, I got my big break at the Mighty 690 down in San Diego at the end of 1990...  The Mighty 690, carried the Chargers: this was a San Diego based station but with a signal that blew all the way into the bay area, so the Charger Raider rivalry was not only a real thing on the field, but maybe even more off it.  I’ll never forget back in 1995; a Raider fan got into with a Charger fan in a bar, and bit part of his era off: not only bit a chunk of his ear, but in the ultimate show of disrespect, spit it back in his face. I don’t know, maybe that’s where Mike Tyson got idea to bite Evander Holyfield’s ear off. I don’t know. But that’s not urban legend: look it up, Raider went Raider fan on Charger fan and bit part of his ear off in a bar fight. That’s how nasty and gnarly this rivalry gets at times.

So obviously, if dudes are losing ears over it this is more than just an intense division game. Fact is, there really aren’t that many legit rivalries in pro sports, but Chargers-Raiders is one? As Philip Rivers said: “Shoot, it’s an in-state rival. The best way I can describe it is think about the team you played in high school that was kind of that cross-town team that you always looked forward to. I mean, it’s that kind of old-school rivalry. It’ll be awesome. The fact that it’s a night game, too. It’ll be cranked up pretty good.”

It will be cranked up, won’t it Alvin??

That might be the best way Phil kind describe it. But I have a better way to describe it.  It’s the kind of rivalry where rival fans bit each other’s ears off.

And you know the Black Hole will be cranked up: and when that black hole starts cranking, you can cancel Christmas!. Because nobody cranks it up like the Black Hole. And absolutely nothing is off limits. Darth Raider. Metal Cindy. Skull. The Violator.  Sounds nasty as hell. And the reason for that, is it nasty has hell! But one Charger after another says they love it.

Running back Austin Ekeler: “I actually have an Instagram post about my favorite memory. It was a touchdown that got called back. I was turning back looking at the field and there is someone flipping me off in the background. There is also a beer getting poured on me. It was amazing. I want to get it framed.”

Someone is giving him the finger and someone else is dumping a beer on him. And he loved it. He wants a framed photo of that. He wants that up on his wall or his mantle. And I get it. Because when you look over the great moments in your life that involve photos: prom, graduation, weddings, none of those moments would be nearly as getting flipped off and doused in suds by the Black Hole.

And shocker, Ekeler isn’t the only guy to take a Budweiser bath in Oakland. And he isn’t the only guy who enjoyed it. Head coach Anthony Lynn said: "I’ve been hit with beers, batteries, you name it. I'm going to miss it. No doubt."

Again, imagine going to your job, being hit with beers and batteries and loving it. Not only loving it, but missing it when it’s gone. Because it will be gone.

You can’t recreate the Black Hole in Vegas. And they shouldn’t even try. Because it will end up feeling as whack and fake as the pirate battle outside Treasure Island.

But it’s not just about the Black Hole. Because the intensity starts even before you get to the Black Hole.

As L.A. left tackle Russell Okung said the first time he played in Oakland as a member of the Seahawks someone chucked an egg at him as he stepped off the bus. “I was getting off the bus and a fan threw an egg at me. One - how did you get the egg? Two - you really held it that long to be able to throw it at me? It’s insane. It was a testament to who they are as a fan base. They are rabid, crazy and they love their team.”

Yes, it is all of that. And it’s sad that it’s ending after this season. Because as crazy and as dangerous as it is to be chucking eggs and beers at opponents, you have to admire the passion. And the intensity.  Hell, if the opposition doesn’t care that it’s getting egged, beered, and battery’ed, why should I? And they don’t. They just said so. Hell, when was the last someone lost an ear over a rivalry game? I mean, literally lost an ear. 

And it's not like the fans are just bringing eggs to the stadium, holding them, and then chucking them at players. They’re bringing other missiles as well.

Chargers legend Shawne Merriman told Eric D Williams: "I did the 'lights out' dance and was celebrating and whatnot. I got back to the sideline and I was just about to take my helmet off -- but I didn't, thank God -- and somebody threw one of those square, 9-volt batteries at me.”

The only thing shocking about that story is that it was a nine-volt and not one of those fat d Cells. Hell, shocking that it wasn’t a car battery. Hell, shocking that someone did get in the car, and run Merriman over, and than back over him a few dozen times. Hell, I’m surprised Raider fan didn’t, have a nuclear reactor in the stands.

The only thing I can’t believe is that this is the final time the Chargers will play in the Black Hole. Saying something sucks is not a take, but that sucks.  

And speaking of things that suck: Raiders suck! Chargers rule! Good night now!

Chargers suck! Raiders rule! Good night now!  Who you got?  What’s going to happen?  The Raiders are definitely better than I thought they’d be: the run the hell out of it, and they do play hard for CHUNK. But it says here, the Chargers best beats the Raiders best.  But you don’t know if you’re going to get the Chargers best. That’s the problem with the Chargers: a lot of times, you don’t know what you’re going to get from them. Let’s go old school with it: powway! Pb! Ob! Ranchos penasquitots.  Spring Valley.  Otay mesa!  Oceanside.  Del mar.  React to me.  Can the Raidres pressure Philip Rivers, or is Phil going to carve them up like a thanksgiving turkey: raider fan!  How badly do you want this?  Badly enough to bite another man’s nose right off his face. React to me!