It takes colossal gall, not just showmanship, for a football team to do a dance, a rap and a little brag-a-loo on videotape before a season even starts.
If you have won the Super Bowl the year before, OK, you deserve to literally sing your own praises. You have earned the right to release a cassette that tells the world what big, bad dudes you are.
The Chicago Bears got away with it last season. They produced a rock video about themselves long before they locked up their conference championship. For a franchise that had never so much as been to a Super Bowl, that took guts.
What laughing stocks the Bears could have been had they stumbled just once in the NFL's playoffs. Soldier Field fans would have taken their "Super Bowl Shuffle" cassettes and flung them into the lake.
They might have told the players to go jump into it, too, for that matter. Which, considering the size of a certain No. 72 on the Bear line, would have resulted in the Great Chicago Flood.
Clever marketing people quickly realized how successful such cassettes could be, particularly in this, the MTV generation. You could set a belch to music and some kids would buy it. Young people today who serve with the military overseas probably refuse to watch anything but Video Free Europe.
Unlucky us. Because of the Bears, we are now in for a spate of video raps. Already the New York Mets have released theirs, which is reason No. 32 on our list of 50 Reasons Why America Wants the Houston Astros to Win the National League playoffs.
Someone undoubtedly convinced the Raiders that the time was right for their own video rap, that before the 1986 season even got under way, they should gather in a studio and put a little street poetry to music.
So, they did it. They rapped all day and all night. They were absolutely full of rap.
Now they are 0-2, and the "Silver and Black Attack" is not exactly zooming up the Billboard Top 40 with a bullet.
In fact, it ought to be updated.
We are the Silver and Black Attack,
If you bought our tape, you want your money back.
We're just not playin' the way we oughta,
We ain't got a point in the whole fourth quarter.
The Bears must be getting a good belly laugh out of teams such as the Raiders and Mets. Just as they must have been thinking when opponents spent the winter emulating their 46 defense, the Bears probably heard about these copycat videos and said to themselves: "Real original."
The least the Raiders could have done was keep their video session a secret until they played a few football games.
If these guys don't start winning pretty soon, we are going to look at that video and ask: "What's wrong with this picture?" Because some of the guys singing won't be with the team any more.
This could turn out to be the "Howard the Duck" of sports videos.
Should the Raiders lose to the New York Giants in their next outing, which is not inconceivable, their record will have sunk to 0-3 for the first time since 1962--when they lost their first 13 games.
They lost their first two games of that season to the New York Titans and Dallas Texans, and by the fifth week, the Raiders attracted a whopping home crowd of 7,000.
This year's Raiders will not lose their first 13 games. I think. At least I'm positive that they will not go 0-16. After all, on the 16th week of the schedule, they get to play Indianapolis.
Between now and then, they will try to discover what--if anything--is seriously wrong with them. To vilify a team that is 0-2 is a numskull and kneejerk thing to do, but it is certainly proper to scan the Raider roster at this point and wonder what's wrong with it.
By now, half the wolves of Los Angeles already are baying about the quarterback, Marc Wilson. It will be difficult to reassure these people that Wilson did play well in the season opener at Denver, and that Wilson is hardly the first quarterback to have trouble playing well at Washington. These are as tough as road games get.
There probably is nothing wrong with the Raiders that cannot be corrected in time. Second-string quarterbacks can be the answer sometimes, as the Redskins found out after Joe Theismann's career-ending injury, but Chicago's second-string quarterback did not exactly look like Jim McMahon on Sunday. And the San Francisco 49ers definitely missed Joe Montana.
We must give the Raiders a little more time, and a couple of home games, before we make up our minds how good they are or are not.
In the meantime, take that video and punt it.