Black Hole trip finally comes around again

The Washington Redskins have played 90 regular-season and postseason road games in 34 stadiums since Dan Snyder bought the franchise in 1999. They have visited every team in the NFL.

Except one.

That would be the Oakland Raiders, whom the Redskins meet Sunday at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum for the first time since November 1998.

Only 13 players on the Redskins’ roster have played at the Coliseum. Receiver Santana Moss, thanks to his days with the New York Jets, has played more games there than any other Redskins player. He said he is looking forward to going back for the first time since making five total trips to Oakland in the 2001, 2002 and 2003 regular- and postseasons.

“You get to see something different,” he said.

Different from the vicious treatment opponents receive in Philadelphia?

“It’s cool to get cussed out a little bit,” Moss said. “My first year, I didn’t know how to take it. I walked too close [to the fans], and they was throwing beer on me. So, I go there and I score a touchdown [in 2003]. I threw the ball at the stands, and everyone jumped. After the game is over and you walk back by those fans, they some of the coolest fans. They ask you for autographs and tell you, ‘Keep it up,’ or whatever.”

Defensive end Phillip Daniels is familiar with Oakland’s fans. He played four seasons with Seattle in the late 1990s when the Seahawks and Raiders were both in the AFC West. Daniels said he and then-teammate Michael Sinclair tried to goad the fans by spitting on the Raiders’ logo.

“We were just having fun because their fans are so crazy,” he said. “They’re crazier than Philly.”

Sunday’s game won’t be a sellout - the Raiders are in the midst of a seventh straight dreary season - but the hard-core denizens of the Black Hole will be on hand and decked out in silver and black medieval battle regalia.

Among them will be friends of defensive lineman Lorenzo Alexander, who grew up in nearby Berkeley, Calif.

“They called me and said, ‘Come up to the Black Hole and holler at us before the game starts,’ ” Alexander said with a chuckle. “One of my good friends sits in the Black Hole and dresses up.”

Said secondary coach Jerry Gray: “Bring your camera because it’s going to be a treat.”

Running back Quinton Ganther will have the biggest cheering section among Redskins players. He grew up in Richmond, Calif., and expects to have about 200 family members and friends on hand to watch him make the first start of his NFL career.

Hall out again

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About the Author
David Elfin

David Elfin

David Elfin has been following Washington-area sports teams since the late 1960s. David began his journalism career at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School, the University of Pennsylvania (B.A., history) and Syracuse University (M.S., telecommunications). He wrote for the Bulletin (Philadelphia), the Post-Standard (Syracuse) and The Washington Post before coming to The Washington Times in 1986. He has covered colleges, the Orioles ...

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