No NFL team, outside of the Atlanta Falcons, suffered as devastating a loss as the Oakland Raiders last season.
With a full head of steam and at least one home playoff game within their grasp, it all went horribly awry one sunny late December afternoon.
In a what already looked to be a win against the Indianapolis Colts, Raiders quarterback Derek Carr who was putting the final touches on an MVP-caliber season was lost to a broken leg.
Stick a fork in the Raiders, they were done.
The funeral procession went through Denver where the Raiders stumbled through a butt-ugly New Year’s Day loss to the disappointing Broncos and ended in Houston’s NRG Stadium with a wild card playoff defeat to the Texans.
The Raiders are now manning up for a shot at the crown and they may soon be going into Beast Mode for their journey to the promised land.
After allowing inconsistent runner Latavius Murray to leave as a free agent, the Raiders are looking to lure former Seattle Seahawks backfield monster Marshawn Lynch out of retirement.
Nicknamed “Beast Mode”, the moody Lynch retired young after an injury-plagued 2015 season in which he was dogged by controversy, hanging up his cleats at the age of 30.
During his six years in Seattle, the bludgeoning back rolled over opposing defenses like a small tank. He was the perfect offensive complement to a bone-crushing defense that won a Super Bowl and would have made it two were it not for the inexplicable coaching decision to not hand it to the big guy from the one-yard line.
Some fans who are inclined to such things have speculated as to whether Seattle head coach Pete Carroll’s disastrous call to throw the ball in the waning seconds of Super Bowl 49 were a deliberate attempt to deprive Lynch of the MVP and the subsequent trip to Disneyland. It was always evident that quarterback Russell Wilson was the golden boy and the future face of the organization. The ball was intercepted and the chance at back-to-back titles was doomed.
According to reports, the mercurial runner is enticed at the possibility of unretiring in order to return to his hometown Raiders providing that they can engineer his release from his contract with the Seahawks.
The cantankerous Lynch would seem to be a perfect addition in Oakland and a throwback to the eccentric personalities that marked the franchise’s glory years in the 1970s when Snake Stabler was slinging the rock and John Matuszak was menacing opposing offenses.
A nasty piece of work like Lynch would have fit right in with those old timers.
The Raiders could make a lot of noise this year if Carr fully recovers and if he can get some help on offense. The division is weak and with the Broncos and Chiefs and both on the decline and with the Chargers being their usual dumpster fire, it is ripe for the taking.
There is still the matter of the Raiders’ possible move away from the Black Hole to a new stadium in Las Vegas, something that could cause Beast Mode to rethink his unretirement.