My Team Always Loses When I’m At the Bar — Is the Universe Trying to Tell Me Something?

If the advertising during football games has taught me anything – aside from the fact that females were put on the earth solely to prevent men from having fun with Bud Light – it’s that football and beer go together like penis pills and long-masted sailboats.

So imagine my dismay as I’ve noticed an alarming trend this season. If you haven’t discerned from my previous two posts on this site, I’m a Raiders fan. My super dope homeboys from the Oak-town* are off to their best start since 2002 when the gloriously underrated Rich Gannon led a potent passing attack featuring future Hall of Famers Tim Brown and Jerry Rice all the way to the Super Bowl. By my recollection the Raiders have won a combined 4 games in the near decade since, so you’ll have to pardon my elation at being 3-games above .500. But here’s something even the most advanced pigskin statistician won’t decipher in their splits: the Raiders are winless (0-4) in games which I, personally, have watched in a bar, and a perfect 7-0 in games which I have not.

I have never been this conflicted as a sports fan. Ever.

Not when the Raiders stood in between my quarterback and the fantasy football playoffs. Not when Marcus Allen played for the Chiefs. Nothing has come close to the test this has posed to my will and resolve as a sports fan.

Normally as a sports fan I revel in superstition. During UConn’s run to the 2004 National Title I had a lucky t-shirt and sweatshirt I wore for every tournament game and I made a point of listening to at least one play on the radio after prior obligations led to my post-tipoff arrival for a few of the games (this was in the dark ages before DVR). But in this instance I’m constantly reminding myself to be rational. There is no possible way I – someone an entire continent away from the East Bay – have any impact what-so-ever on the Raiders. Right?

It started innocently enough. With a 1-0 record after their win in Denver in the extremely late Monday Night Opener, I went with my father and uncles to watch the Raiders v. Bills game at Bobby Valentine’s sports bar in Stamford, CT after my cousin’s wedding. I watched in horror (and to Esteban’s delight) as a 24-3 halftime lead turned into a loss. I watched the Raiders even their record against the Jets in my apartment, before deciding to take the Raiders v. Patriots game in at the Gin Mill on the Upper West Side. Brady and the Law Firm exploited Raider tackling woes. 2-2. I was out of town for wins over Houston and Cleveland, but couldn’t wait to rush to the bar to watch a team – my team – play playoff relevant football in late October.

I was sure my fortunes would turn against the Chiefs. Then Kyle Boller and Carson Palmer combined for an epic 6-INT stink-bomb and the Raiders were shut out 28-0. With a bye week’s worth of practice under Palmer’s belt and Tim Tebow coming to town off a historically bad performance against Detroit I figured I’d end the streak then and there. I walked all the way around the New York City Marathon in a traverse to reverse the curse. Tebow’s fourth quarter comeback and repeated celebratory end zone prayer sessions restored my faith.

3 straight weeks of Sunday sobriety later and the Raiders are 7-4, in sole possession of first place and poised to make a run at the playoffs for the first time since I was in high school.

The country is ready for the Raiders to play on Wild Card weekend, but can I do my part and stay out of the bars to let it happen? What’s enjoying the Silver and Black if I can’t enjoy a Silver Bullet at the same time?

Can I resist the temptation of the demon-rum long enough to allow the Raiders dark empire to descend upon the world of playoff football, or will I succumb to the allure of the devil’s elixir opening the door for Tebow and his white-horse bretheren to make the post season.

I hope at least one of you is picking up on my Hawthorne-esque reverse-allegory here because I’m laying it on pretty thick. Though I will add that Tebow in the playoffs will set off a media plague of Biblical proportions.

So you can imagine my dismay when my most frequent tavern compadre informed me that he is planning a “Gin Mill extravaganza” for this Sunday to celebrate the completion of his CFA exam. Tortured. Conflicted. Complete and utter moral dissonance.

Five soul-sucking minutes later I responded, “See you there.”

Might as well try and reverse the curse at the bar this week, rather than at home against the Packers next week, right?


*Ohh loogit! A footnote! Like Grantland! Fancy. Just wanted to point out: This is the whitest thing that has ever been written on this site. Which, considering the past two “hot female musicians of the week” have been Faith Hill and the Dixie Chicks, is pretty impressive.


  1. Steven Nelson says:

    Ouch. The curse is most definitely NOT reversed.

  2. Carl Jackson says:

    Sorry Raider Nation…I'll stay home next Sunday, I promise…

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