By Joe Torosian
“Master, go on, and I will follow thee to the last gasp with truth and loyalty.”—Shakespeare
As a Los Angeles Rams fan—a fan that attempted to shake them during their purgatory in St. Louis with the Redskins & Chiefs—I wish we had something like “The Autumn Wind” and its accompanying music.
It helps me understand why Oakland Raider fans are so loyal.
“The Autumn Wind is a pirate
Blustering in from sea…”
When she was eight and heard me playing NFL Films music, my daughter would always ask me to replay it. “Play that one Dad, the one with the drums and the pirate. I like it.”
To this day not my wife of 28 years, nor any of my three daughters, have sat to watch an NFL game with me. But “The Autumn Wind” draws their attention when I play it.
“With a rollicking song, he sweeps along,
An unwashed football fan asked me once when they heard John Facenda’s voice reading it. “Autumn Wind? Is that Yates? Whitman?”
“No,” I said, “it’s Steve Sabol.”
“His face is weather beaten.
He wears a hooded sash…”
I get it, completely understand, that if the Raiders play in Los Angeles, Oakland, or Las Vegas, their fanbase will never leave them. Even when they suck, I never come across an ex-Raiders fan. I mock them, they give attitude back, but Raider fans are never defeated.
“With a silver hat about his head,
And a bristling black mustache…”
Rams fans, on the other hand, are–generally–scoundrels. Eighty-thousand can fill the Coliseum from week to week, but I’d argue that less than 10,000 of them are really fans. They are there for the glitz. They are there because it is the cool flavor of the month. Most of them will jump off the second they crash and burn. Plenty of ex-Rams fans out there.
“He growls as he storms the country,
A villain big and bold.”
Raider fans are loyal, Ram fans are scoundrels, Dallas Cowboys fans—generally—are front running frauds. They love the star. They love the idea of being “America’s Team.” And they loved all the talk about there being a hole in the roof of their old stadium so God could watch them play. They are the good guys. They are on TV every single week.
And they seem to get every single call go their way in the playoffs from Drew Pearson push-offs to Michael Irvin push-offs, to timely flags.
“And the trees all shake and quiver and quake,
As he robs them of their gold…”
I do believe there is such a thing as “Cowboys Privilege” in the NFL. I despise them. They are the Omegas, and the rest of us are the Deltas. They are the Socs, we are the Greasers. And you never meet an ex-Cowboys fan. When the team is going bad–when Steve Pelluer, Chad Hutchinson, or Quincy Carter is playing quarterback–Cowboy fans lie dormant. They don’t curse their team publicly—like a Rams fan. They don’t fight for their team openly—like a Raiders fan. They stay quiet, they watch football, root for other teams with zeal, and come out of the woodwork only after Zeke Elliott breaks off a 40-yard touchdown run and a playoff spot is secured.
Then the dread cry is heard: “Oh, I have always been a Cowboys fan!”
“The Autumn Wind is a Raider,
Pillaging just for fun…”
I’m not a Raiders fan—never will be—but I admire Raiders fans. They stick, and they won’t be affected by a move to Las Vegas. “The Autumn Wind” moves me it makes me think of Jack Tatum nearly decapitating Minnesota Vikings receiver Sammy White in Super Bowl 11. …And then just standing over him.
I would have loved to have seen Dave Elmendorf do that to somebody back in the day. I would have loved to have seen Jack Youngblood standing over the broken body of Fran Tarkenton on a cold Minnesota field.
He’ll knock you ’round and upside down,
And laugh when he’s conquered and won.
Who doesn’t love a team of Bad Dudes, misfits, and alums from the University of Mars?
Well, I don’t love them. I understand them, and I won’t mock them anymore.
The Cowboys, on the other hand…I will root against them, and their fans, until they rot and lie stinking in the earth.
The Dude abides…
Author of “Tangent Dreams: A High School Football Novel” … “Temple City & The Company of The Ages” … “The Dead Bug Tales” … “The Dark Norm” & “FaithViews for Storm Riders”…all five available through Amazon.com.
Follow Joe on Twitter @joet13b