So here’s a series of thoughts worth considering until the effects of Proposition 64 kick in:
1. The Raiders keep winning, which is not an unwarranted thought given that they’re 8-2 now.
2. The Raiders make the playoffs, which is a given after Monday’s 27-20 come-from-behind win over the improbably decent Houston Texans.
3. The Raiders beat New England in an ankle-deep snowstorm in Foxborough officiated by Walt Coleman, which would be a particularly delicious heap of karma right up the alleys of the mythology-soaked Raider fan base (which, by the way, is not a nation, no matter how much it would desire secession right now).
4. The Raiders beat Dallas in the Super Bowl in Houston the year after the 49ers only hosted one, which would be downright hilarious at the local level.
5. The Raiders hold their victory parade the following Tuesday, starting at the Mormon Temple and heading directly down Broadway, which would be considered by some devout Mormons to be borderline sacrilegious and therefore right up the Raiders’ narrative alley.
6. The parade goes right down Broadway past the car dealerships, past Oaksterdam, past DeLauer’s, past the Warriors’ practice facility, and all the way to Fifth Street, where it takes a left, gets on the Nimitz Freeway and heads to Las Vegas with all the parade-goers following them as a long black ribbon of bittersweet, one eye crying years of unrestrained joy and the other tears of irreparable sadness.
It would, I think we can all agree, be the weirdest farewell in the history of show business.
But all things are in play now that the Raiders have not only fixed what ailed them for most of the past quarter-century but become a bonafide shortlist championship contender with the Cowboys and Patriots.
They have in Derek Carr a young and bold quarterback in a league largely bereft of such creatures, who has learned to trust his teammates and curb his tendency to overbelieve in his arm. They have an offense that is greater than the sum of its metric parts, and a defense that, well, hangs on a lot. They have in head coach Jack Del Rio a born poker player who is learning to love the value of the percentages, and in general manager Reggie McKenzie a once-maligned but now richly praised master of roster construction – find a quarterback, throw money at an offensive line that keeps him safe, and get two receivers who can do things when things are required.
In short, this is beginning to look like a team that, while it doesn’t look as good as the 2002 Super Bowl team, does have the look of a team that might linger among the big eaters for as long as people imagine the Warriors doing so.
And let us not forget that they have in owner Mark Davis an elf impersonator who has spent his entire life being underestimated and/or downright ignored who hired and stayed with McKenzie and hired Del Rio while frantically working his fellow owners to leave the town in which he currently does business under the most favorable terms he can manage.
All these are very happy circumstances for a fan base that has been treated with profound rudeness and condescension since 1981 – all until the part where Davis is trying to beat feet out of town.
So all the above scenarios are very believable, even the one where the family of five standing and cheering in front of the Marriott is cheering its heroes as they pass on February 7 debating whether to follow the parade to Nevada and abandon their lives, or curse the cruelty of a collective existence that rewards with one hand and smites with the other.
No wonder Prop 64 was so important. If this is the future, wouldn’t you want to have a little something to take the edge off? Of course you would. And wouldn’t you want to boost the local economy rather than polish off some imported Russian vodka you lifted from the Jack London Square BevMo for the parade?
Pharmaceuticals aside, this has a chance to become the most improbable tale in a year full of them, making a mockery even of the Chicago Cubs and Leicester City. It could be the Hello Goodbye Tour to beat all hellos and goodbyes, because after all, wasn’t it the prophet who said:
“You say yes (I say yes) I say no (But I may mean no),
“You say stop (I can stay) and I say go go go
“(Till it's time to go), oh
No, that was The Beatles, you narcotic-damaged hippie. Nobody has ever prophesied this – not even the Prop 64 people in their most smoke-filled planning sessions. That's what makes it so perfect in this, the new Bizarro World.