The Oakland Raiders ended their 25-year run in Oakland in embarrassing fashion on Sunday.
In their final home game at the Oakland Coliseum, the Raiders fell to the Jacksonville Jaguars, 20-16. Not only was it the Raiders’ fourth straight loss after being in prime position to win the AFC West at a record of 6-4, they blew a 16-3 lead at halftime and somehow allowed a Jaguars team that lost 45-10 to the Los Angeles Chargers last week to beat them.
Needless to say, fans were seen chugging food and drinks onto the field following the Raiders’ loss, a fitting end to a tenure that included 13 consecutive non-playoff seasons from 2002 until 2015 and a franchise that has consistently led the league in penalties on a year-to-year basis.
With that being said, head coach Jon Gruden — as the face of the franchise and the guy who’s making $100 million to be the head coach of this team — was forced to apologize to the Raiders fan base after playing their final game in Oakland. The franchise will relocate to Las Vegas for the 2020 season.
Via Josh Schrock of NBC Sports:
“I’d like to say we could have sent the Raiders fans off with a lot better finish than that,” Gruden said. “I think, most importantly, before we talk about the game, I’d like to thank the fans. I’d like to thank the city of Oakland for supporting the Raiders and being faithful in all kinds of seasons. I’ll miss them. I love them and I’m sorry about the outcome today, but I think that’s something that needs to be said. An exclamation point.
“I really apologize that we weren’t able to deliver a victory.”
Raiders Dominated First 3 Quarters of Game
The Raiders had only allowed two first downs midway through the third quarter and despite allowing 10 unanswered points in the second half, they still led 16-13 midway through the fourth quarter.
Just when it appeared Oakland would close out the game as they forced Jacksonville to use all of their remaining timeouts in the fourth quarter, Raiders kicker Daniel Carlson managed to miss two field goals on the drive — he received a second chance after a roughing the kicker penalty — and Jags quarterback Gardner Minsher proceeded to drive the team down the field 65 yards in seven plays to give Jacksonville the commanding 20-16 lead.
Raiders Will Miss Playoffs — Again
At 6-8, the Raiders won’t finish with a winning record and they won’t be making it to the playoffs for the 16th time in the past 17 seasons.
Gruden realizes how loyal the fan base has been over the years despite the franchise’s struggles — and he made sure to single that out in the postgame press conference.
“It’s not really the result today, it’s the results of the Raiders over the years,” Gruden said to close his press conference. “It’s the Raiders, it’s the appreciation, the loyalty that these fans I think have had for the Raiders. We’re going to miss them. The relationship is hopefully never going to end.
“It was sad walking in here today. It’s going to be sad walking out of here for the last time and it’s a lot to wrap your arms around, but we love our fans, we love the city of Oakland. We thank them and we’ll certainly miss them.”
There’s no sugarcoating it — the Raiders let down their fans on Sunday as they so often have during their franchise’s history in Oakland.