During the off season, the Raiders established a goal to win what many considered to be the strongest division in the National Football League; the AFC West. The task was lofty; to some it seemed unlikely. Kansas City has been a perennial threat and Denver was fresh off their championship season.
With a win last Sunday, the Raiders punched their first playoff ticket in nearly a decade and a half. At the moment, the Raiders sit atop the AFC West with 2 games to go and the Chiefs hot on their tail.
It’s time to ask: “Why is this possible for the Raiders in 2016”?
Jon Gruden saw it back in August when he said that the Raiders would be in the thick of the division title in December. As Gruden would say: “Look no further than Jack Del Rio”.
He has installed a mindset within the organization to believe in a specific process to achieve success. The players believe in this vision and repeat the core belief in the process during weekly interviews. The Raiders as a team is defined by their coaches, the players, support staff, management and, yes in the case of the Raiders, the fan base as well. This is what separates the Raiders from most any other sport franchise in the world.
Time and time again the belief in the locker room is to only look at the game you just played, learn from it, and move onto the next one. The entire team and yes that means the fans as well have learned to trust the process every game and the results speak Clearly. The process is working…
As of this past Sunday, the Raiders stand atop the AFC West with a legitimate shot of achieving the goal of winning the division. Should the team win, you can imagine the excitement the team would have in taking home the division title to add to the Raiders’ Trophy case.
With a divisional title in hand, the next target would be the AFC Championship. The next step in this process? The Super Bowl.
However, on Sunday, with all of the excitement surrounding the team after having clinched their spot in the post-season, you could see a slight change in this philosophy. Fortunately, Del Rio recognized this immediately as was indicated by his post-game locker room speech. JDR took this opportunity to remind the team to stay the course, trust the process, and realize that they can only control how they prepare and execute from this day forward; there is a lot of football remaining and anything can happen. His message was clear and to the point and reminiscent of the sound of a locker room belonging to a championship team.
So the key that we have seen week in and week out is for the team to trust the process and look at it one game at a time.
As fans, let us emulate the process dictated by Jack and take the rest of this tremendous season one game at a time; enjoy this incredible ride. That process has been key all season long, and I for one, want this ride to continue to the Super Bowl.
Are you willing to trust the process and stay the course?
Written by: Mr. Football
Edited by: Kenny Stapler