Every Sunday for years, Oakland Raiders fans showed up to the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum dressed in Silver and Black gear with their faces painted to form one of the best fan bases in the league known as the Black Hole.
They will do it for the final time this Sunday when the Raiders welcome the Jacksonville Jaguars to town for their last home game of the 2019 season. The Raiders, of course, are moving to Las Vegas in 2020, making it the last of many memorable games that they have played in Oakland.
No one is a bigger fan of the Black Hole than Raiders head coach Jon Gruden. He celebrates with the fans after every home victory, and according to Scott Bair of NBC Sports, he never thinks twice about it:
“No, I never think that,” Gruden said. “Every win, I’m going down there. I get face paint all over me. I get to see some costumes I have not seen before at any football games. It’s awesome.”
Gruden added that he enjoys celebrating with them so much because he feels they’re similar to himself:
“There’s something about these people,” Gruden said. “They’re nuts. They’re the closest thing to me that I’ve ever seen. We have that in common.”
It is easy to see that Gruden understands how important this final game in Oakland is. Earlier in the week, he said the hope is that both Josh Jacobs and Trent Brown will be able to return from injury for the game so that they can be as close to full strength as possible.
Gruden is hoping that he will be able to celebrate with his people one final time:
“That’s what I coach for,” Gruden said. “I love people. I love football and they love it more than anybody. People can make fun of me and say whatever they want, but when we win, I’m going down there. And when we lose, usually I stick around the parking lot, hang out with the guys and try to get them ready for the next home game. I like to share my joy with some joyous Raiders fans as much as possible.”
It will be interesting to see how much different the dynamic is at Raiders home games in Las Vegas compared to Oakland. Knowing Raider fans though, they will likely bring the same intensity no matter where the team is playing.
As far as this weekend’s game goes though, the Raiders need a win if they want any chance at making the postseason this year. At 6-7, their chances are very slim regardless, but a loss to Jacksonville could very well eliminate Oakland from postseason contention altogether.