Long ago, the Oakland Raiders were a legit NFL franchise. Today, the Raiders are in tatters after years of dwelling near – or flat-out at – the bottom of the league.

When I was growing up in south Denver, everyone despised the Raiders. My teachers at schools. My friends in the neighborhood. My brother. My mom and dad. My preacher and the elders at church. Despising the Raiders is one of the things that defined me as a resident of Colorado.

But what is the point of despising – or ‘hating,’ as the bumper stickers still proclaim – the Raiders? I feel pity for the franchise.

I’m sure I will hear from Raiders fans who will talk about the tremendous history of the franchise and Raider pride and about how everyone just wishes they could follow a team as wonderful as the Raiders.

The same Raiders who just finished 4-12. The same Raiders who got trampled by the Broncos. If John Fox had been in a greedy mood, Denver might have dropped 75 points on The Men in Black.

The Raiders, and their fans, are all about yesterday. Ah, the good ol’ days. Who wants to hear about the good ol’ days?

Colorado might consider an humanitarian air drop to Oakland. Maybe the residents of the state could collect a few dozen talented football players and four or five brilliant coaches and have them parachute into the Raiders headquarters. After World War II, this is what America did for Germany, its fallen, struggling former enemy.

The Raiders have fallen down and can’t get up. An air drop might be the only way to get this once-proud, once-powerful, once-worthy-of-seething-disregard franchise back on its feet.

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