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THE INSIDE TRACK | THE HOT CORNER

December 11, 1996|MIKE PENNER

A consumer's guide to the best and worst of sports media and merchandise. Ground rules: If it can be read, played, heard, observed, worn, viewed, dialed or downloaded, it's in play here.

Raider Nation Web Site

(http://www.raidernation.com)

Al Davis, cyberpunk?

If not quite his actual handiwork, the "Raider Nation" web site certainly bears the inspiration of Chairman Al and his personal manifesto.

"Raider Nation" welcomes a visitor to "the home of the Bad Boys of the NFL and their fans. . . . You have entered the Mecca of GREAT football and championship teams . . . all others should FACE WEST toward the Oakland Coliseum, bow down and chant RAIDERS RULE."

From there, "The Mystique of the Raiders" is defined in the words of Lorenzo Lynch. (In case you forgot, it is "just real, tough, nasty, physical football.") Other areas carry such labels as "History of Raider Greatness," "Gospel According to Big Al," "Ministry of Free Agency/Draft" and "Countdown to Super Bowl XXXI."

Of course, Super Bowl XXXI stands a very good chance of proceeding without intervention by the Raiders, same as the last dozen Super Bowls, which accounts for "Raider Nation" printing the current AFC standings upside-down--Raiders first, Broncos last, just the way Big Al likes to look at them.

Past glory gets big play here. An area titled "AFC West Super Bowl Wins" compares the Raiders' Super Bowl record to their division rivals', reveling in the Raiders' three championships, ignoring Kansas City's 1970 triumph altogether and trashing Denver, San Diego and Seattle for their combined 0 for 5.

Here, Charger fans are taunted with photo images of Jerry Rice and Deion Sanders tiptoeing through San Diego tacklers en route to a 49-26 thrashing in Super Bowl XXIX and a headline: "Can you SEAU?" Denver fans, meanwhile, are greeted with the final scores of the Broncos' four Super Bowl drubbings and the inscription: "History of Failure/Legacy of Shame."

There's also a "Ministry of Linkage" that touts other web sites of interest, granting them "Most Favored Nation Status." One is the "Real Deals WWF Page," proving that, if nothing else, "Raider Nation" knows its audience.

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