Need good news about Raiders and 49ers? The Warriors start on Tuesday

Need good news about Raiders and 49ers? The Warriors start on Tuesday

Well, that football season came and went pretty quickly.

As we enter Week 7 (and look in the rear view mirror at Weeks 1-6 with disdain and nausea), we have an 0-6 team in San Francisco shedding veterans and imitating the Los Angeles Chargers for their ability to vomit up close game, and a 2-4 team in Oakland which just lost a close game to the Chargers.

Hurray. The Warriors start Tuesday.

The 49ers lost again, this time in Washington, 26-24, and are now historically eliminated from the postseason, as only one 0-4 team – the 1992 Chargers – have ever reached the postseason. That is not a surprise, nor any enduring disappointment. The 49ers work hard and do not quit, but they are not yet qualified to figure out how to win – close or any other kind of games. They are in the process of de-building, which is stripping the house down to its studs and rebuilding, and losses like Sunday’s are well within acceptable norms.

But the Raiders also lost Sunday, at home to the ridiculous Chargers, 17-16, and their chances of making the playoffs are now a paltry 9.5 percent (it has happened 22 of 231 times since the season was extended to 16 games in 1978).

In other words, if you are a loyal front-runner, you have the Warriors and Stanford football. You have St. Mary’s basketball and Stanford women’s basketball. And then you’ve got a lot of hope-for-the-best, abandon-all-hope, and despair drinking.

This is not how it was plotted, of course. The Raiders were supposed to contend, and Marshawn Lynch was supposed to channel the powers of Oaktown in that pursuit. But no, they are currently tied for 29th in the overall standings, and Oakland’s power to effect change are in serious jeopardy.

Now they host Kansas City Thursday, whose attention to detail was re-inspired by losing at home to Pittsburgh. If the Raiders have the get-up-and-go Jack Del Rio keeps saying they do, the time for getting up and going has, well, damned near already passed.

But it helps get through the week at the water cooler, C.J. Beathard had a better quarterback rating than Derek Carr. Go have a fistfight in the lunch room over that.

And remember, the Warriors start Tuesday.

Former Raiders interim head coach, 49ers assistant Tony Sparano dies


Former Raiders interim head coach, 49ers assistant Tony Sparano dies

Former Raiders interim head coach Tony Sparano died unexpectedly on Sunday morning. He was 56.

The Minnesota Vikings announced his passing, though an exact cause of death is unknown.

He was the Vikings offensive line coach, a position he held since 2016. Sparano had been an NFL coach for nearly two decades, with stints in Oakland and San Francisco. He was also Miami's head coach from 2008-11.

He was hired to run the Raiders offensive line in 2013, and was promoted to interim head coach after Dennis Allen was fired four games into the 2014 campaign.

Sparano showed well in that role, kept the team playing hard during a difficult 3-13 season and nearly had the interim tag removed. He was a finalist for 2015 head coaching job, though Jack Del Rio ultimately got the job.

He left the organization then, and spent the 2015 season as 49ers tight ends coach. He ended up in Minnesota after that.

Sparano helped the Raiders finished 2014 with a three wins over their final six games, which started an upward trend that carried through 2016. He also remained patient with then-rookie starter Derek Carr.

Left tackle Donald Penn joined the Raiders in 2014, and experienced a career renaissance that season under Sparano.

The Silver and Black mourned Sparano's loss.

"The Raiders family was deeply saddened to learn of Tony Sparano's passing this morning," the team said in a statement. "Tony had a deep passion for football and was embraced by the Raider Nation during his time with the Silver and Black. Tony will be sadly missed by the entire NFL community. Our hearts are with (his wife) Jeanette and the Sparano family during this extremely difficult time."

The 49ers also paid respects to the longtime NFL coach.

“The 49ers organization is deeply saddened by the passing of Tony Sparano,” the 49ers said in a statement. “We share our heartfelt condolences with the Sparano family and the Minnesota Vikings.”

Sparano is survived by his wife Jeanette, their three children and four grandchildren.

Jon Gruden gets Raiders fans ready for training camp with party


Jon Gruden gets Raiders fans ready for training camp with party

To celebrate his return to the sideline, Oakland Raiders head coach Jon Gruden threw a party for fans on Friday at Ricky's Sports Theatre and Grill in San Leandro.  

Raider Nation showed up in droves. 

In all, over 500 fans showed up, according to a Ricky's spokesperson.

"We are honored to be a part of the love story between Jon Gruden and this fan base," the spokesperson said. "It's incredibly special. And the significance of this event, at this time, is not lost on us."

The Raiders, Gruden, and Ricky's all collaborated on the event, which came together because of Gruden's relationship with Ricky's owners, Ricky and Tina Ricardo. Gruden paid for the catering and entertainment himself, according to the spokesperson. 

Plenty of Raiders alumni attended, including Cliff Branch and Lester Hayes, according to ESPN's Paul Gutierrez. Branch even took the mic and made a guarantee. 

Gruden broke in as an NFL head coach with the Raiders in 1998, and coached Oakland for four seasons. It was in Oakland where Gruden was first given the nickname "Chucky," after the murderous puppet in the Child's Play film franchise. Gruden paid tribute to those roots at Ricky's with a... creative autograph signing. 

Raiders training camp begins on July 27. Whether or not the team will be joined by its best defensive player remains to be seen. 

Star defensive end Khalil Mack skipped the team's mandatory minicamp in June in pursuit of a new contract. Gruden told fans on Friday that the team will "find a way" to bring Mack back.