Editor's note: Raiders Insider Scott Bair is in Minneapolis all week long covering Super Bowl festivities -- check out Scott's archive as he files stories and podcasts leading up to the big game on Sunday
MINNEAPOLIS – The Raiders have given away a home game to play abroad four of the last five seasons.
That sucks, considering the Silver and Black are leaving their home market for Las Vegas in 2020. Ultimately, that’s an NFL call. It’s also something done with teams in transition, like the Rams and Chargers. The Raiders get a bigger payday for shipping a game elsewhere, but East Bay fans loyal to the team’s ancestral home are getting jobbed losing what is a finite number of games left in the East Bay.
The Raiders played in London in 2014 and had home games in Mexico City the last two years. Former head coach Jack Del Rio was vocal about the fact he didn’t like giving away home games, but the league keeps shipping them elsewhere. The Raiders will play Seattle in London next season. Expect a game abroad in 2019, the last year before the Silver and Black move to Vegas.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell was asked about shipping Raiders games abroad in a Wednesday press conference, and said taking games from Oakland is the downside of putting the Silver and Black on display.
“We want to share our games with fans on a global basis,” Goodell said. “…I think 30 of 32 teams have will have played in the United Kingdom by the end of the year. Yes, that comes with sacrifices and, from time to time, home game. Yes, the Raiders have had more international game recently. That’s a fact. It’s also true that we have teams in transition from temporary stadiums to long-term facilities.
“We do our best to balance that. The Raiders are an attractive team, globally, and we want to deliver that. We know how passionate things are in Oakland, and we want to deliver that when possible, but we want to continue to expand our game.”
1. Tampa Bay (2-0)
Previous rank: 21
“We’ve just got to make sure we stay humble.” -- Ryan Fitzpatrick
2. L.A. Rams (2-0)
Previous rank: 2
L.A. loves a winner. That bandwagon’s gonna fill up pretty fast.
3. Jacksonville (2-0)
Previous rank: 7
Blake Bortles threw for 377 yards and four touchdowns. You might assume that was for the entire 2017 season. Or his career. Nope, just one thrashing of the Patriots. Jags are the new AFC team to beat.
4. Kansas City (2-0)
Previous rank: 5
That Mahomes kid has 10 touchdown passes in two weeks. He’s gonna be a superstar.
5. Minnesota (1-0-1)
Previous rank: 3
Best part of any Monday press conference? Mike Zimmer, on being asked why he cut his kicker: “Did you see the game?”
6. New England (1-1)
Previous rank: 3
Patriots counting lucky stars Jacksonville didn’t play like that in last year’s AFC title game. Jaguars had ‘em shook.
7. Green Bay (1-0-1)
Previous rank: 6
That Clay Matthews penalty was absurd. Pretty hard to play defense these days.
8. Philadelphia (1-1)
Previous rank: 1
Nick Foles wrote a book this offseason. Hope he sold a lot of copies. He’s headed back to the backup spot the second Carson Wentz gets cleared.
9. L.A. Chargers (1-1)
Previous rank: 11
Philip Rivers has the offensive flowing like a category 5 rapid.
10. Cincinnati (2-0)
Previous rank: 18
Bengals believe they’ll be just fine without Joe Mixon. Say that too many times and you’ll get committed.
11. Denver (2-0)
Previous rank: 17
Something lost in the buzz around Marquette King’s ridiculous Jon Gruden troll video: He had to go on Amazon or to a mall and buy a Chucky doll. Probably weeks ago. This troll job was calculated. Pre-meditated. And pretty darn petty.
12. Atlanta (1-1)
Previous rank: 12
Falcons still miss Kyle Shanahan. Maybe a little less than normal after Tevin Coleman went off.
13. New Orleans (1-1)
Previous rank: 8
Saints nearly marched into a loss. To Cleveland, of all teams. New Orleans is lucky the Browns kicker stinks. Or stunk. Dude got cut.
14. Baltimore (1-1)
Previous rank: 9
Ravens lost a tight one to the Bengals. Just a thought: Maybe they should cover A.J. Green.
15. Carolina (1-1)
Previous rank: 12
So, let me get this straight. A defender gets ejected for a vicious hit on Cam Newton, then the rough-and-tumble QB goes right back in? Cam lucky to escape with only a shiner. Panthers, too.
16. Pittsburgh (0-1-1)
Previous rank: 13
Steelers have so much talent, and so much turmoil brewing just beneath the surface. There’s a powder keg in western PA. A few more disappointing results and it will explode.
Previous rank: 22
Once again, the Dolphins are our lowest rated team without a loss. Somebody tell me how they’re winning games? They can easily snag a third against the Raiders in the Florida heat. .
18. Chicago (1-1)
Previous rank: 19
Khalil Mack has played on national television his first two weeks in Chicago. Bet he sold a lot of jerseys as the country begins to realize he’s the best defensive player on Planet Earth.
19. 49ers (1-1)
Previous rank: 20
The 49ers won a game that Richard Sherman says felt like a loss. He’s right. The Santa Clarans deserve to be 0-2. Squeaked one out against the Lions, though Jimmy G looks a little less handsome than he did this summer.
20. Tennessee (1-1)
Previous rank: 24
The Titans won a game with Blaine Gabbert at the helm. Give Mike Vrabel a medal.
21. Indianapolis (1-1)
Previous rank: 29
Andrew Luck always gives his team a chance.
22. Washington (1-1)
Previous rank: 10
The Washington football is schizophrenic. Good one week, unwatchable the next. And yeah, I know I have teams bobbing up and down these power rankings. I’m a mystery that way.
23. N.Y. Jets (1-1)
Previous rank: 16
A rookie quarterback played well one week and terrible the next? Get right out of town. Sam Darnold’s gonna have to experience some growing pains.
24. Houston (0-2)
Previous rank: 14
Losing to Blaine Gabbert gets you dropped like its hot. Come on, Houston. Be better.
25. Dallas (1-1)
Previous rank: 26
Beating the Giants doesn’t make you good. Cowboys have plenty left to prove.
26. Seattle (0-2)
Poor Russell Wilson. Seahawks are going to waste some prime years tearing this team down.
27. Raiders (0-2)
Previous rank: 23
Derek Carr can’t win games all by himself. It seems like he could use an excellent defensive player creating havoc, a bonafide closer off the edge. Gosh. How could the Raiders find someone like that…
28. Detroit (0-2)
Previous rank: 28
49ers tried to hand Detroit a win. The Lions slapped it away with a crummy defensive holding call.
29. N.Y. Giants (0-2)
Previous rank: 27
Big Blue has all these flashy toys, yet can’t give Eli one second to get them the gosh darn ball. Giants can’t protect a statue signal caller. Hard to imagine him staying healthy all year.
30. Cleveland (0-1-1)
Previous rank: 31
The Browns find new and entertaining ways to choke each week. Here’s to hoping they never get good. Every league needs a punching bag.
31. Cardinals (0-2)
Previous rank: 30
So apparently Mike McCoy might lose his job over David Johnson’s usage. Here’s a hint. Snap the ball. Hand it to him. Watch magic happen.
32. Buffalo (0-2)
Previous rank: 32
The Bills are so bad Vontae Davis retired at halftime. Couldn’t take it anymore.
Calling my shot right now: Bills will never, ever, get out of the 32nd slot.
Ex-Raiders edge rusher Khalil Mack did it again in Week 2.
Eight days after showing the Silver and Black what they were missing, Mack followed up his Chicago Bears debut with another dominant performance in primetime. The 2014 No. 5 pick strip-sacked Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson in the second quarter -- one of six times Wilson was sacked on the night -- en route to Chicago's 24-17 win.
Through two games, Mack and the Bears lead the NFL with 10 sacks. The Raiders, meanwhile, have two, and are 31st.
Alone, Mack has as many sacks as the entirety of the Oakland defense.
Before Mack suited up Monday night, Raiders head coach Jon Gruden was insistent that the lack of pass rush made him lament trading the two-time All-Pro for two first-round picks.
“It doesn’t make me regret it. We made the trade,” Gruden told reporters at his press conference Monday afternoon. “There is going to be hindsight and all that stuff. We would loved to have had him here. I’m not going to keep rehashing this. I would have loved to have coached him. I would have loved to have had him here, but he’s not here.
“Somebody has to step up. We have to keep building our football team. That’s what we’re going to do. Hopefully we see more from Arden Key. Hopefully we see more from PJ Hall when he gets healthy. Hopefully we prove that, in the long term, we did the right thing.”
Mack won't play his first game against Gruden's Raiders until next season. Something tells me Gruden will be asked about the trade just about every day until then.