With Oakland's season long ago spoiled by lethargy, player vs. coach infighting, and a designer steroids scandal, the only things the Raider Nation have to look forward to the rest of this year -- besides five more chances to spackle on hypoallergenic silver and black death masks and trot out their spike-encrusted hard hats -- are a few prime opportunities to drag other team's post-season dreams into the mud with them. This Sunday in Oakland, the Raiders (3-8) turn their frustrations toward the much-reviled Denver Broncos (6-5), who with new quarterback Jake Plummer under center still have a chance to earn a coveted playoff spot.If nothing else, both teams will get an opportunity to pound each other into the turf for the ninetieth time since 1960. Raiders vs. Broncos is a classic rivalry that dates back to the earliest days of the free-wheeling AFL, when coach Al "Just Win, Baby" Davis stalked the Raiders' sidelines and the Broncos wore circus-like vertically striped socks. Historically speaking, the Raiders have dominated this series with a 53-34-2 advantage. But don't start partying yet, you Black Hole rowdies. Since the Raiders' return to their East Bay roots in 1995, they've tallied a lousy 4-13 ledger vs. their Rocky Mountain rivals, including a 31-10 pounding in Denver earlier this season.
But there is a silver (and black) lining. Though their overall record against Denver over the past nine seasons hardly shows a Commitment to Excellence, the good news is that the Raiders have not lost to Denver at home since the 2000 season. -- A.J. Hayes
Hate extra calories? Burn 'em.
Let's face it. You will have been vegetating since Thursday morning, eating guilty shovelfuls of food, couch-potatoing with football and basketball games, playing cards with your unemployed relatives, nibbling on sweets, idly belching your life away. You'll be a mess. That's why you should stand up straight, wipe that smirk off your face, pull on your workout gear, jump in the wagon, and join the hardy few this Saturday morning for Every Which Way to the Top, a moderately fast-paced hike (experienced hikers only) to the summit of Mt. Diablo on the Summit Trail, sponsored by the Sierra Club. Meet at 8:30 a.m. at the Park & Ride lot on the east side of I-680 at Sycamore Valley Road exit in Danville. No excuses. RSVP to leader Diane Smith at 925-803-1478. -- Kelly Vance
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