Raiders Fans Want to Be Heard, Make a Billboard

There must be something in the water of rural Pennsylvania that inspires cranky NFL fans to start billboards for their far-off favorite franchises. First it was a Bills fan who, with hundreds of other Bills fans paid for a drive-time billboard imploring the Bills owner to fire Dick Jauron — which obviously was the driving reason for Jauron’s eventual dismissal. Now, 22-year-old Jared Staszewski of Erie, Pennsylvania has gotten together with some fellow Raiders fans online to send a message to the aging Raiders owner and general manager Al Davis.

The group wants Al to step down as GM and for the team to hire a coach who isn’t inept like Tom Cable and isn’t “managed” from the owner’s box.

“We have nothing but respect for Mr. Davis and what he has done for the team over the years,” Staszewski said. “But that effort and our championships are in the past. I have been a loyal fan since 1993 and in those 16 years we (the Raiders) have only had four playoff appearances. We are now on track for our seventh losing season in a row and we believe something has to change,” he said.

“We thought a billboard, posted near the stadium might generate some awareness, create a dialogue among the ‘Raider Faithful’ and perhaps make a difference,” Staszewski said, thus, mesagetoal.com was born.

In a mere 8 weeks, the site has raised nearly $2,000 of the necessary $5,500 needed for the billboard. As well, their over 21,000 people have signed the site’s petition that requests four things:

  1. Please step down as General Manager
  2. Hire a new GM
  3. Hire a Super Bowl caliber coach
  4. Agree to refrain from intervention in personnel or football operational matters

“Some disgruntled fans of other teams have worn brown bags over their heads or staged protests to try to get their message out there,” Staszewski said, “We believe this billboard is a respectful way to give this initiative a voice and to ask Mr. Davis to allow the team to realize its potential.”

Starting yesterday, the billboard is up, a mere half mile from the stadium and Staszewski is hopeful fans will continue supporting his site as they were forced to take a line of credit out to pay for the billboard.

“We believe in the organization and we hope that Mr. Davis might become inspired to ‘do the right thing.’ We believe he, our loyal fan base and the entire Oakland region will all benefit if we are to achieve our goal. We didn’t want to sit back and simply complain about our situation. We want to take steps to do something about it. We can’t make draft picks or coach from the stands. We can, however, bring the issue to light and respectfully request that the organization make some necessary changes which we believe can help the Raiders to fully realize their potential and to once again be considered among the NFL’s elite teams,” Staszewski said.


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