ALAMEDA -- Sunday won't be an ordinary Week 15 game between two teams that have dropped out of playoff contention.
The Oakland Coliseum will be rocking, as those who bleed silver and black say their final farewell to the Raiders when they take on the 4-9 Jacksonville Jaguars. Most of the young Jaguars haven't played in the Coliseum, but head coach Doug Marrone is well aware of what his scuffling team will face Sunday afternoon.
"Absolutely. I think that, we kind of polled today, we don’t have a lot of players that have played at Oakland and we tried to give them a sense of ... and when I say crazy atmosphere, I mean that in a very positive sense," Marrone said on a conference call with Bay Area media Wednesday. "We talked about the locker room and we’ve talked about it. I think it will be an emotional day for a lot of people there and I had a good relationship with Mr. [Al] Davis. When I was the head coach at Syracuse, we’d meet every year and there will be a lot of emotion knowing that finally, I know last year they went through it a little bit, but the finality of it being the last game for sure."
Marrone was drafted by the Los Angeles Raiders out of Davis' alma mater Syracuse in 1986. He didn't make the 53-man roster and never donned the silver and black inside the Coliseum. Despite never being a Raider, Marrone had a good relationship with late owner Al Davis and came to the Coliseum as an offensive line coach for the New York Jets in the early 2000s.
Even for Marrone, it will be weird for the Raiders to no longer call the Coliseum home.
"When I was with the Jets and we would go out there, we’d always warm-up and I had the offensive line with me and I had a bunch of veteran guys who we’d warm up in the one corner of the end zone and for some reason, there was one guy, he was all over me," Marrone said recalling his time as a visitor in the Coliseum. "Like he was killing me, not the players, me. And the players would come up to me and go, ‘Coach, you going to take that (expletive) from that guy? Like, if he did that (expletive) to me, I would go up in the stands. You need to go up in the stands, you need to confront that.’ And I’d be like, ‘Shut the hell up, would you? We’re just going to go ahead and play.’
"But I just remember those times and the playoff game up there when I was in New York and just how crazy it can be and it’s a special place. I remember going up there back in the day and you look over at pregame warmup and Mr. Davis would be down on the sideline. A lot of the old Raiders would be there and so I think for me there will be a point I think, ‘Wow! I can’t believe the Oakland Raiders are moving.’”
After three consecutive losses, the Raiders no longer find themselves in the playoff hunt. There will be no playoff goodbye for the hallowed grounds that hold so many Raider memories.
Jon Gruden, Derek Carr and these Raiders have but one more chance to give those who love the Raiders so dearly a final memory of a building and franchise that means so much to them.
That's bad news for Marrone and the Jags.