CHUCKY’S WEMBLEY HORRORS
THEY are the notoriously dirtiest team in football, coached by a man nicknamed after a horror movie character.
Their fans are known as the Raider Nation, count Darth Raider among their number and abuse opposition quarterbacks from a section of the stadium known as the Black Hole.
It is little wonder the Oakland Raiders play under a logo of a pirate with an eye patch. They don’t like people, and they don’t like to be liked.
Jon Gruden returned to coaching this season after a nine-year stint in television but the man known as ‘Chucky’, for his likeness to the villain in the Child’s Play movie series, is more concerned about surviving a trip to London to play the Seattle Seahawks tonight at Wembley than he is about reputation.
Gruden, who beat Oakland in the Super Bowl 16 years ago while in charge of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, said: “I hope I can make it.
“I’m not great travelling. I get claustrophobic. My son was a weightlifter and he won a powerlifting competition in Belarus.
“I had to fly 14 hours. I had to fly home 14 hours. I had vertigo for a month. I couldn’t even lay down. The house was spinning. I’m hoping I don’t get vertigo. I’m not a great traveller.
“I’ll be honest with you, I hate it. I’m more worried about that than our goalline offence right now.”
A trip overseas is the last thing the Raiders need. They have made it to the play-offs just once in the last 15 years and have already lost four of the opening five games this season.
Nobody in Oakland is happy about surrendering one of their eight home games this season to play it in London, but Gruden recognises there is a higher purpose to what the team are doing in the UK.
He added: “You hate to give up a home game, but for the betterment of the game, I think it’s exciting.
“I’m excited to go over there and make friends. My brother got to go as a Redskin and loved it.
“My son also got to go as a member of the Redskins and he loved it – so I will too.”
UNEASY RAIDER: Coach Jon Gruden