For fans of the Oakland Raiders, the past few seasons have not had a lot of positive memories to reflect on. Between announcing a move to Las Vegas, making an ESPN NFL analyst the highest-paid head coach in the league, and disparaging the city that has hosted the team since 1995, the good times have not been rolling for Raider Nation.
ESPN recently gathered its NFL Nation reporters and put together a hypothetical timeline for when each organization in the NFL could potentially reach the Super Bowl. The Raiders were about as far down on the list as possible, as the group's prediction for championship contention in three years is shared by only the New York Jets. ESPN NFL Nation's Paul Gutierrez said this about Oakland's future Super Bowl aspirations:
"Remain calm, all is well." Kevin Bacon in that chaotic final parade scene of "Animal House?" Sure, but it could also be Jon Gruden, straddling Oakland and Las Vegas in 2019. Three years is a realistic stretch for the Raiders, long enough for their most recent rebuild to take hold and their three first-round draft picks from this spring -- Clelin Ferrell, Josh Jacobs and Johnathan Abram -- to pan out. The Raiders also have two first-rounders next year. If all goes to plan, it will still be Derek Carr, whose five-year extension ends in 2022, at quarterback, too.
The only team with a longer timeline for championship contention: the Arizona Cardinals. ESPN puts their timeline as four to five years away from potentially contending for a Super Bowl.
It's hard to gauge how well a team is going to be playing three years from now, but with the current crop of players and picks under the Raiders' control, there is little question that they have a long way to go in getting back to the championship level fans came to expect during the team's heyday.