Prepare for your close-up Raider fans, you're kicking off the Monday Night Football season.
It's going to be extra-exciting when Raider fans dig their eye-patches and spikey shoulder pads out of mothballs to open the 2009 NFL season.
Once again, Oakland gets a national audience for the second game of a "Monday Night Football" Week One double-header. Then there's an extra helping of Raider football on Thanksgiving Day, when the Raiders will take on Dallas.
The San Diego Chargers will bolt into Oaktown for the Raiders' season opener on September 14th at 7:15 p.m. That means once again, the Raiders will open on a Monday night against a division rival coached by a guy who they once fired, just as they have two of the last three years (the Chargers' Norv Turner in 2006, and the Broncos' Mike Shanahan in 2006).
They lost both games by a monumentally embarrassing combined score of 68-14, including a 27-0 shutout loss to these very San Diego Chargers.
But this year is going to be different.
No, really, this year will literally be different -- ProFootballTalk.com is reporting that both teams will be wearing their throwback, retro uniforms to honor the AFL's 50th anniversary.
Jeez -- do the Raiders even have throwback uniforms? Other teams seem to wear throwback uniforms a couple times every season. Do the Raiders? Or are these throwback uniforms just not noticeably different from their contemporary uniforms?
The full 2009 schedule still won't be known for a couple weeks, but the Raiders have another sweet national TV distinction -- they'll play the Cowboys on Thanksgiving Day. This game will be at the Cowboys' new billion-dollar stadium and will be the late afternoon game on CBS. So you'll want to delay that post-turkey nap as long as possible.
It's surprising that a team that has played so poorly on national TV -- the Raiders have dropped their last ten consecutive nationally televised games -- would continue getting high-profile national games. But Raider fans are surely not afraid of any supposed curse.
They may be more concerned that someone explain to JaMarcus Russell that "throwback game" refers to the uniforms, not the direction he should toss the football.
Joe Kukura is a freelance writer who's dying for his Raider jokes to earn him a public reprimand from Al Davis using an overhead projector.