Whether they were watching on their couches like Derek Carr or at raucous Oracle Arena like Jack Del Rio, seeing a local team win a championship like the Golden State Warriors did only provides extra inspiration for the Oakland Raiders.
The Raiders began their three-day mandatory minicamp Tuesday, a day after the Warriors won the NBA title at home by beating the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 5 of the NBA Finals.
“It was awesome to be over there last night at the game and see the Warriors come through in a big way,” Del Rio said. “To do it with that crowd, the crowd was spectacular last night, full of energy. A lot of happy people going home last night. Great to be a part of it.”
Del Rio is a Bay Area native who grew up rooting for the local teams in nearby Hayward and is now coaching the football team. With the Raiders planning to move to Las Vegas for the 2020 season, time is running short for Del Rio to deliver a football title to the Bay Area.
It’s been a while since the Raiders were close to competing for a championship. They broke through and won 12 games last year to make the postseason for the first time since 2002 but lost their only playoff game on the road to Houston with Carr sidelined by a broken leg.
The Raiders haven’t hosted a playoff game since winning the 2002 AFC championship and have had just five home playoff contests since returning to Oakland in 1995.
Seeing the reaction to the Warriors only whetted the Raiders’ appetite.
“Playing at home is something you have to earn,” Del Rio said. “Our fans here are the best. That atmosphere last night was electric. Great to be a part of it. We’ve had big regular-season games here, but obviously it all gets ramped up when it’s a playoff game. We’d love to earn those. That’s what it’s all about.”
While several Raiders players and officials attended the clincher, Carr chose to watch at home with his wife and kids. Even though he is an unabashed fan of the Los Angeles Lakers, Carr said he likes to pull for the local team and watching Golden State celebrate a title rekindled boyhood dreams of standing on the stage holding a trophy.
Carr has not gotten the chance to play in the postseason, The Raiders won just 10 games combined his first two seasons and then he missed the playoff game a year ago with a broken leg.
Since joining the Raiders in 2014, Carr has watched the Warriors win two championships, the San Francisco Giants win one and the San Jose Sharks lose in the Stanley Cup Final a year ago.
“Whenever our city can enjoy good times like that, that’s what it’s all about,” Carr said. “We love our fans. All of the Warriors fans, most of them, are Raiders fans if they don’t travel back across the bay and root for that other team. Whenever you got something going on in the Bay Area, there really is no better place to win. It’s really cool.”
The Raiders’ support for the Warriors does have a limit. With the victory parade scheduled for Thursday, the same day as this minicamp concludes, Del Rio won’t be taking his players on a field trip to watch.
“We’ll be busy working,” he said.