Monday night, the Oakland Raiders hosted the Denver Broncos in the traditional late game to cap off week one. ESPN always kicks off the season with a doubleheader of games in week one, which means that a West Coast team will be featured in the late slot. For the Raiders, this late billing to open the season is nothing new considering that they played at the same time to open the 2018 season. However, the game was significantly different considering the sheer amount of drama that had taken place over the weekend.
The Raiders opted to release wide receiver Antonio Brown on Saturday morning, ending his tenure with the team after mere months. He never took the field during a preseason or regular-season game and was absent for a good amount of practice sessions. And yet, the Raiders fans bought his jersey due to so much excitement about his playmaking ability.
Obviously, him leaving town in such a manner means that there are hurt feelings in the Bay Area. Some would even say that Brown burned some bridges on his way out of town. Based on this fact, it was only inevitable that members of Raider Nation would spend time prior to Monday night's kickoff burning the jersey that they had just purchased with a substantial amount of money.
Of course, setting Brown's jersey ablaze was not the only reaction by those that love the Raiders. There were also very vulgar chants prior to and throughout the game. As the Raiders dismantled their division opponent behind big plays by Derek Carr, Josh Jacobs, and the new number one receiver, Tyrell Williams, these cries only grew in ferocity.
Monday night's game between the Denver Broncos and the Oakland Raiders was the last scheduled battle in the Black Hole before the Silver and Black depart for Las Vegas, and they put in considerable effort to make it a memorable occasion.
When a popular player departs their team under controversial circumstances, there are many reactions among the fans. Some shed tears while others go into a state of denial. The most popular method for coping with pain, however, is to simply grab some lighter fluid, said player's jersey, and head into the backyard. Burning jerseys has become a popular tradition in recent years, especially when the fans can post the video footage on Twitter and tag the player in question.
While burning Antonio Brown's jersey was the most popular reaction to the news of his departure from the Bay Area, it was far from the only one. The talented but troubled receiver angered many with his actions, that is undeniable. However, the dangers of fire cannot be understated. Some Raiders fans learned fire safety as children and decided to destroy Brown's jersey in a different manner. In this instance, ripping the jerseys and pouring beer on them seemed appropriate.
While many Raiders fans waited until Monday night's game between the Silver and Black and the Denver Broncos to burn Antonio Brown's jersey, there were many others that opted for a different approach. They simply took time to quietly reflect on his departure, which was a decidedly more subdued approach. Although the fans still set Brown's jersey on fire. They just did so using fire pits and burn barrels in the backyard.
Only thing to burn down is this jersey !@AB84 pic.twitter.com/byQEV2ziNI— Jose M A (@Josemob89) September 7, 2019
Per tradition, every game at the Oakland Alameda Coliseum, also known as the Black Hole, starts with a time-honored tradition. A designated representative for the team lights a memorial torch that was created in honor of former owner Al Davis, who passed away in 2011. Many beloved Bay Area figures have had the honor of lighting the torch in recent years, including former running back Marshawn Lynch. Well, the Al Davis Memorial Torch was set ablaze on Monday night, but it was only the latest in a long line of fires being set at the stadium.
Sometimes, burning the jersey can only go so far. There were also many Oakland Raiders fans that felt unfulfilled after setting Brown's jersey ablaze. They needed to do something a little extra to drive the point home that the former wide receiver was no longer welcome in the Bay Area. Once a Raider, Always a Raider doesn't apply for someone that never played in a single game for the team.
Not only did this AB jersey burn, but Raiders fans took turns spitting on it. pic.twitter.com/pWOGWiowon— Dan Bernstein (@dan_bernstein_) September 10, 2019
Burning a player's jersey is one way to voice your displeasure for their actions, but there are many fans who don't want to set more than $100 on fire just because they are angry. Fortunately, duct tape exists to fix every problem. There are some fans that took the number 84 Brown jerseys and used duct tape to fix the number. Now, the jersey has the number 81, which was worn by Hall of Fame receiver Tim Brown. He is a beloved figure in the Bay Area and once shined under head coach Jon Gruden.
Duct tape fixes everything 😂 should’ve just bought a @81TimBrown jersey to begin with. Quick and easy fix for #RaiderNation to fix their jerseys @Raiders @MoeMoton @VicTafur @Jimmy_Durkin @FB_FilmAnalysis @BairNBCS @ChrisHansenNFL @ChrisReed_NFL @KrisWysong @OaklandAboveAll pic.twitter.com/0u2mA2fWke— Kevin B (@KevDog01) September 8, 2019
While there were many fans burning Antonio Brown jerseys in the parking lot prior to the game, there was a considerable amount that never spent money on the enigmatic wide receiver. Funds often dictate the ability to make some of those extra purchases. So how did these fans share their thoughts about Brown's heel turn and departure for New England? They used their voices to loudly express their feelings.
Monday night's game between the Denver Broncos and Oakland Raiders was defined by many factors. Quarterback Derek Carr was extremely effective without Antonio Brown on the offense and led his team 24 points. The defense, on the other hand, pestered Joe Flacco all game and registered three sacks. However, the most defining factor was the manner in which fans of the Raiders voiced their displeasure of Brown. The aforementioned chants of "f--- AB" were so loud that they could be heard over the television broadcast.
You can hear the chant on the game broadcast … like really clearly.— James Palmer (@JamesPalmerTV) September 10, 2019
With the drama surrounding Antonio Brown in recent weeks, there has been no shortage of comments about how he is a clown. The Raiders fans – and many other football fans in general – don't understand how he keeps getting jobs after burning bridges with every franchise he has joined. Based on this, they believe that his behavior is clownish and should be recognized as such.
Send me a photo of you holding up the back of your Antonio Brown jersey and I’ll Photoshop the letters C and L over B and R to spell C-L-O-W-N and you can tweet it to him. pic.twitter.com/17Z6Tfzgvb— Raiders Artist (@raidersartist) September 9, 2019