The Raider Nation is known for its "black hole", a
specific section of the
McAfee Coliseum (Sections
104, 105, 106, and 107) frequented by the rowdiest
and most fervent fans. The origin of the name is
obscure. Certainly it was in vogue during the early
1980s, when Raider fans from the San Francisco
Bay Area were forced to travel to Los Angeles or
elsewhere to watch their team. Today, the Raiders,
currently based in Oakland, still have a strong
fanbase in Los Angeles.

The term "nation" to describe the team’s following
derives in large part to the sheer magnitude of its
numbers. Former Raider Rickey Dudley, quoted in
the St. Petersburg Times, stated, “It's amazing.
Although you go to a lot of places and there are
fans there from everywhere, I'll have to say that in
my years I don't think I have ever seen fans like [the
Raiders’]. They follow you to the cities and to the
hotels. You get there and the lobbies are full of
Raider fans. You know why they call it the Raider
Nation? Because it's nationwide. Miami, Boston,
wherever. You're part of the Raider Nation. It's so
large. They say Dallas is America's Team, well, I'm
not so sure about that. The Raiders are beloved."
Another former Raider, Randy Jordan, agreed: "It's
not Raider Club. It's not Raider Fans. It's Raider
Nation. Wherever you go, you will find more than
just a few fans. There's never one Raider [fan], they
come in droves.”

Denver Post staff writer Bill Briggs (and no lover of
the Raiders), in a 2005 article wrote, “The Raiders
may be the second-most popular team in Denver,
as they are in other National Football League cities.
Nationally, Raiders gear outsold other teams'
jerseys three out of the past four years, according
to the NFL.” (The latter point is not lost on Raiders’
majority owner Al Davis, who rues the fact that NFL
teams share equally in profits from merchandise

There are many theories as to what created Raider
Nation. Some point to the working-class, multi-racial
nature of the city of Oakland. Others give a nod to
the us-against-the-world attitude spawned by
“outlaw” owner Davis. Still others talk about the team’
s aggressive, combative (detractors would say
“dirty”) style of play during the 1970s and 1980s,
when the Raiders won their three Super Bowls,
embodied by players nicknamed “The Assassin”
(Jack Tatum), “Doctor Death” (Skip Thomas),
"Snake" (Ken Stabler) and “The Mad Stork” (Ted
Hendricks). (Chuck Noll, former coach of the
Pittsburgh Steelers football team, once described
the Raider defensive backs as a "criminal element.")

Hunter S. Thompson, a Raider fan in the last years
of his life, wrote, "The massive Raider Nation is
beyond doubt the sleaziest and rudest and most
sinister mob of thugs and wackos ever assembled."

Raider Nation has been the subject of a
documentary entitled, A Look Into The World of the
Most Notorious Fans on the Planet: "The Raider
Nation,” currently for sale on DVD. In its review, states: “A cross between an English
soccer match and a Halloween ball, an Oakland
Raiders game is uniquely singular. From tailgate
parties that start three days before the game, to
legendary fanaticism both inside and outside of the
stadium, the Raider Nation is a people worth

The team's fans utter devotion is chronicled in
"Better to Reign in Hell," a book written by San
Diego English professors Jim Miller and Kelly
Mayhew, who are also Raider fans. The title is
derived from an assertion by Satan in Paradise Lost
by John Milton: "Better to reign in Hell than serve in

The term "Raider Nation," with "Nation" serving to
describe the team's numerous followers, has
spawned a number of imitators in recent years, the
most notable being perhaps the so-called "Red Sox
Nation." Even the Borland software company,
having been started by Raider fans, refers to its
employees and culture as the "Borland Nation."

Sports talk radio host J.T. the Brick, now nationally
syndicated, but at one time local to Oakland, coined
the term for the Raiders' cross-bay rival, "49er

"The Autumn Wind," narrated by the legendary John
Facenda, has been coined "The Battle Hymn of the
Raider Nation."