The Giants and the Raiders: Opposite ends of the spectrum
Jaime C. Harris | 4/12/2011, 4:39 p.m.
The New York Giants and the Oakland Raiders are a stark contrast in how NFL franchises should be run. While the Giants pride themselves on stability in the front office and continuity on the sidelines, the Raiders are seemingly in a constant state of unrest. And the disparate philosophies manifests where it matters most - on the football field.When they meet this Sunday afternoon (1:00 P.M.) at the Meadowlands, the Giants will enter the game undefeated at 4-0 and arguably the best team in the league after a commanding 27-16 road victory against the pitiful 0-4 Kansas Chiefs this past weekend.Conversely, the 1-3 Raiders, 29-6 losers to the Houston Texans in Week 4, are an abysmal outfit that has become irrelevant in football's new world order under the irrational direction of longtime owner Al Davis.They still have some of the most loyal and passionate fans in sports, and a strong contingent of Raider Nation will undoubtedly show up at Giants Stadium in a few days to faithfully support a team that is going nowhere fast.The Silver and Black was wildly successful in the 1970s and 80s, and produced a plethora of Hall of Famers including Art Shell, Willie Brown, Gene Upshaw, Howie Long and Marcus Allen. Today, their most visible player is the young and struggling quarterback JaMarcus Russell, a third-year pro who was the top overall pick in the 2007 draft. Russell is only 24 but already has been labeled a bust by the voices that expect and demand immediate achievement.Meanwhile, the Giants' QB, Eli Manning, has established himself as an elite signal caller. Ironically, it wasn't too long ago that Manning was also viewed by cynics as overrated and lacking the necessities to lead the Giants to a Super Bowl championship. Now, many of those converted nonbelievers are on pins and needles wondering if Manning's case of Plantar Fasciitis, an inflammation of the right foot, will be a lingering condition that could derail the Giants' Super Bowl aspirations.That is yet to be determined. Less ambiguous is that Manning and the Giants are what Russell and the Raiders hope to be: respected winners.