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It's Time to Start Cheering for Wilson

December 12, 1987

Remember the story about the poor guy who sold his farm to search the world for riches and fortune, only to die penniless? Later, vast diamond deposits were discovered on his property.

Think about that the next time you demand a new quarterback for the Raiders. I realize I'm in the minority; I hear it every year at the Coliseum: "Wouldn't it be great if we could get the rights to Jim Kelly" or "Maybe Ditka is so sick of McMahon that he'll trade him to the Raiders."

It's been a tough road for the few of us who cheer for Marc Wilson. But the last few weeks have opened the eyes of a lot fans and media. Three hundred-yard-plus passing games, 60%-plus completions? No sweat, he used to do that in his sleep at BYU. Al Davis didn't make him a first-round choice on speculation.

My point is this: Wilson's recent success is a direct result of the emergence of the Raiders' offensive line. Those deep bombs that Davis loves require the line to consistently hold blocks longer than any team in the league.

In L.A., it's fashionable to shower Wilson with jeers. No quarterback in the NFL has had to deal with as abusive a collection of "fans," except maybe Terry Bradshaw. If it's performance you demand, he's delivering it to your doorstep--the Coliseum. It's time for us to cheer him on. Then, maybe, Marc Wilson can start bringing his kids to the games.

COURTLAND SPARKUHL

West Covina

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