Raiders Rock Oakland
Memories of a Great Day in Oakland Raiders History
The day the Raiders rocked the Coliseum – 1/19/2003
Raiders vs Titans AFC 2002 Championship Game
In these tedious days of baseball, a 6 month long hockey playoff, and the NBA elite going one on five, we offer you a look back at one of the greatest days in Oakland Raiders recent history… the day the electricity in the always epic Raiders tailgates took on a super-heated Tesla coil like buzz, a tailgate amped up by a surprise Metallica showing up in a semi truck, the spanking of tough Eddie George and the Titans, a Raaaaiiiiderrrrsss chant so powerful and passionate that the Coliseum actually rocked, a trip to the Superbowl, and finally a celebration in the parking lot so joyous that even a concerted effort by Oakland PD with multiple helicopters, cruisers, motorcycles, and a bazillion officers on foot patrol couldn’t budge us. Their concerted sirens only served as a backdrop to the chorus of chanting and hugging that went well into the night, far past the usual “curfew” hours allowed for postgame tailgaters, a defeated yet understanding OPD knew what this night was all about…
Pregame: The Raiders Return to NFL Greatness
The day started off well… while imbibing tequila shots for breakfast, Raiders fans were greeted by a flatbed semi truck that parked, and dropped trou flatbed style, sure enough out pops fucking Metallica to add aviation quality octane to an already crazy tailgate….
Raiders Metallica Video – The Tailgate Gets Crazy
Courtesy of MTV.com: Metallica Rocks Oakland Raiders Coliseum… Metallica supplied “Fuel” for the Oakland Raiders’ playoff victory over the Tennessee Titans on Sunday, playing a surprise show in the parking lot of Oakland’s Network Associates Coliseum. The band pulled up on flatbed truck around noon and performed an ear-blasting six-song set in front of a sign bearing a handwritten Metallica logo, a drawing of a skull and crossbones, and an American flag. Frontman James Hetfield, wearing running back John Ritchie’s #40 Raiders jersey, greeted the crowd and shouted, “We’re gonna get inside and let the Titans know who’s boss! Are you ready?”
Metallica, who were invited by the Raiders, began their set with “Fuel,” from 1997′s Reload, before digging deeper into their catalog. Guitarist Kirk Hammett, wearing wide receiver Jerry Rice’s #80 jersey, punctuated Hetfield’s stoic riffs with complimentary phrases and fleet-fingered solos. In what could have been the day’s theme song, the band barreled through “Seek & Destroy,” from 1983′s Kill ‘Em All. Two songs were culled from 1986′s Master of Puppets — the title track and “Battery” — and “For Whom the Bell Tolls” filled the obligation to 1984′s Ride the Lightning. The only cut from Metallica’s most popular album, 1991′s Metallica, was “Sad But True.”
“Thank you friends, we had a f—in’ blast out there,” Hetfield said as the final cymbal rolls of “Battery” echoed through the parking lot. “Enjoy the game, man. Kick ass, Raiders.”
And they did.
2002 AFC Championship Game: Oakland Raiders vs Tennessee Titans
Kickoff for the AFC Championship Game came at 3:47 pm before a complete sellout at then-Network Associates Coliseum in Oakland. Both championship contenders were veteran teams. Of the 44 starters, only four were rookies—defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth and safety Tank Williams for the Titans; tight end Doug Jolley and middle linebacker Napoleon Harris for the Raiders.
The Raiders had the first possession and quarterback Rich Gannon, the NFL’s Most Valuable Player for 2002, came out firing. On the game’s first offensive play, Gannon passed to Jerry Rice for 29 yards. Gannon threw completions totaling 32 yards on the next three plays—two to wide receiver Tim Brown and one to running back Charlie Garner. Three plays later Gannon hit wide receiver Jerry Porter on a three-yard touchdown toss. With the extra point by Sebastian Janikowski, the Raiders led 7-0 just 4:01 into the game.
The visiting Titans quickly quieted the roaring crowd by driving 74 yards on nine plays to tie the score 7-7 at the 9:01 mark in the first quarter. Tennessee’s touchdown came on a 33-yard pass from QB Steve McNair to wide receiver Drew Bennett.
The Coliseum scoreboard clock showed 1:28 remaining in the half when penetration by defensive tackle Rod Coleman and a hit by linebacker Eric Barton forced a Titans fumble, which was recovered by Dorsett at the Tennessee 16-yard line. A Gannon to Rice pass to the post on first down took the ball to the one. From there Gannon faked inside and lofted a pass to tight end Doug Jolley who was open on the right side of the end zone. With the successful extra point, Oakland regained the lead, 21-17, with just one minute remaining in the half. The crowd erupted.
Sebastian Janikowski’s bouncing kickoff was fielded on the Tennessee seven. A solid hit by linebacker Tim Johnson stripped the ball free. The Raiders bounced on the football. The Raiders had the ball on the Titans 39 with just 49 seconds left.
Gannon dropped back to pass, saw space inside of right tackle Lincoln Kennedy, burst up field, then broke right and ended up out of bounds at the Tennessee 25. Three downs later, with just four seconds to go, the half ended as Janikowski made a 43-yard field goal to put the Raiders up by seven, 24-17. The two turnovers had netted 10 points in 60 seconds for the alert Silver and Black.
2002 AFC Championship Game: Halftime
The usual halftime frisbee dogs (love ‘em!!!) were replaced in this monster game, pitting two tough veteran squads, with starpower of the likes of LL Cool J and Amerie. I was so pumped on the game, I can’t honestly recall Cool J singing or anything else during those incredible 60-minutes of Raider domination. So here then is a grainy video from halftime of the game to refresh the atmosphere in the Coliseum…
Besides the star rap power of LL Cool J, there were also the associated celebrity Raiders fans parading about the Coliseum. Why do I know this, because the irritating chick that my chick brought to the game, kept pointing them out…
2002 AFC Championship Game: Oakland Raiders vs Tennessee Titans
The Titans came out strong to start the second half. They worked their way down to the Raiders 22. But on third-and-eight Steve McNair was sacked by defensive tackle John Parrella, forcing a punt. On their next fourth down punt situation, a big rush inside by Eric Johnson forced Tennessee punter Craig Hentrich to pull the ball down and try to run. Tim Johnson and Clarence Love made the tackle for a six-yard loss and the Raiders took over on the Titans 19-yard line. Four plays later, Janikowski booted a 32-yard field goal and the scoreboard now read: RAIDERS 27—TITANS 17.
There was no quit in this Tennessee team. McNair, who had passed for 398 yards in the September meeting, completed four passes on their next series and finished the drive running for 13 yards and a touchdown. The Titans now trailed by only three, 27-24, with 31 seconds left in the third quarter. Oakland began their next possession on their own 34. Charlie Garner sprang free on a delayed run from a double-wing formation, bursting between Barry Sims and Mo Collins. Downfield blocks by Brown and Rice helped Garner gain 18 yards. Two downs later, Gannon to Rice gained 17 more yards. Finally, on third-and-goal from the two, Gannon set to throw, bounced outside a block by tight end Doug Jolley and made it to the right corner of the end zone for the touchdown. The PAT was good. The Raiders led 34-24 with 11:27 left in the AFC Championship game.
A quarterback sack curtailed the next Tennessee opportunity. After the Titans punt, it was the Raiders ball on their own 31. The Raiders were well aware of the clock. They were also well aware of Tennessee’s offensive capabilities. After all, McNair had finished third in the NFL Most Valuable Player voting, behind only Rich Gannon of the Raiders and Brett Favre of the Green Bay Packers. The soon-to-be Super Bowl-bound Raiders then utilized a 10-play drive and 6:29 of the time remaining to travel 61 yards for the game’s final points. Seven short passes and three runs later found the Raiders in the end zone again. The touchdown came on Crockett’s seven-yard burst over right guard with clearing blocks by Lincoln Kennedy and Mo Collins.
The battle ended with a Rich Gannon kneel-down after a late Tennessee drive was stopped deep in Raider territory. Next stop for these valiant Raiders would be Super Bowl XXXVII in San Diego.
On Sunday, January 19, 2003, The Oakland Raiders became the 2002 American Football Conference Champions.
2002 AFC Championship Game: Postgame
Pandemonium ensued as the Raiders and their rabid fans partied like it was 1999. As stated previously, the atmosphere in the parking lot was simply magical. There were grandmothers in eye black and Jerry Rice jerseys crying and hugging “tough kids” in Romanowski Jerseys, a sea of black joy that I will never ever forget. For a little more of the “flavor” of this incredible day, here is the 2002 AFC Championship game postgame show …
Listen to Tim Brown, Romo, Sir Callahan, Jerry Porter, et al describe their emotions of being San Diego Superbowl bound. Superbowl chants, Raiders chants, and even Prime Time Deion Sanders (as a broadcaster towards end of video) who almost became a Raider that season. Diehard Raiders fans, don’t be surprised if you get goosebumps.
Raiders Fans Go Superbowl Crazy – San Diego Road Trip
As most reasonable people would do, I sold my beloved Seadoo jetski (not the super cool Raiders one here, but it did have a cool sticker!) to buy my Superbowl ticket to San Diego. This was shortly after finding out the assclowns at OFMA “awarded” the 19 Superbowl tickets not already given to corporate whores in Cadillac golf shirts (I digress… but it would sure be nice, Mr. Goodell, if ACTUAL FANS of the two teams were allotted more than a token number of tickets, a crime against NFL humanity and a slap in the face to true loyalty Rog!) only to those (it seemed) that had faxed in a change of address form (go f-ing figure???).
Seeing as a combo of margaritas in Tijuana, and “Chucky” Gruden (the architect of our offense the prior year) spoiled what would have been the Raiders 4th Lombardi, I guess I should be glad to have paid $1,100 for an NFL branded clock radio and Superblow branded NFL seat cushion, given to the 53 other real fans allowed into the game. Hey Roger, did I mention that tailgating and throwing footballs were also banned that day at Jack Murphy stadium…. are you fucking kidding me!!!!
So before I lose my Raiders buzz, I’ll choose to remember instead this chick who was selling her Nissan for her chance to see the Raiders play in the Superbowl, and requires potential suitors to pass her test “who is the Ghost?” before dating. Classic.
Well, Casper, the ghost with the most on January 19th, 2003, was the Oakland Raiders. It was a day that will live on forever in those fortunate Raiders fans to have been there, from the 7:15am Bloody Mary’s, right down to the mass civil disobedience practiced during a rapturous postgame tailgating celebration. Proof yet again that once you go Silver & Black, you will never go back.