focusing on a pigeon: our major Raiders highlight in 2012

the funny thing is, the original story below? almost got worked into an update in 2009. or, hell, maybe it DID and i have totally lost my ability to confirm or deny this. still, after the events of the Raiders/Chiefs game, it seemed like, well, two 50% shares of a weekly update might actually turn into 100% of an update. we’ll see if that’s true.

Raiders, Chiefs... and a pigeon
i am not saying it’s sad to be focused on this while watching your team play… but yeah, yeah, it’s sad

pigeon stands tall as Raiders, Chiefs play all around it

so while i continue to watch Raiders games for reasons i don’t fully understand (i am leaning towards a cross between “severe masochism” and “some kind of low-grade undiagnosed mental illness), it doesn’t mean that it is ALWAYS without enjoyment (i mean, they DID beat the Chiefs on Sunday) or, even better, ridiculous events.

“You wouldn’t think a Raiders-Chiefs game in December would have many highlights, and most times, you’d be right. But amazingly enough, Sunday’s game featured one of the more bizarre sequences of the year. In the second quarter, with the Raiders driving around midfield, a pigeon showed up on the field … and absolutely refused to leave.”

with all due respect to Jay Busbee, if you’re a Raiders fan, there’s always at least the highlight of beating the Chiefs. ALWAYS. but yes, this pigeon was completely out of control. now, granted, they’re rats with wings and often seem to know neither shame nor fear, but you would think they would possess SOME rudimentary level of concern for their own well-being. after all, we’re talking about a field choked with 300-plus-pound men locked in hours of violent combat, something that would probably leave a pigeon worse for wear if there was to be a surprise collision. but these pigeons…

“Early on, Raiders wide receiver Denarius Moore nearly stomped on the pigeon on an inside route. And several times, the bird clearly lined up in the neutral zone, which is clearly an infraction but for whatever reason didn’t draw a flag. He proceeded down the field as the Raiders progressed, but neither bird nor team could reach the end zone before time ran out.”

now for one thing, Denarius Moore is surely too classy to STOMP on a pigeon; for another, the Raiders did score points before the half, they were just all field goals. why am i defending this team? years and years of ingrained abuse, i suppose.

“The bird hung on into halftime, and appeared as unfazed by the Raiders cheerleaders as it had by the Raiders offense. Make of that what you will.”

honestly, i would think that the Raiderettes would be one of the few areas in which the franchise hasn’t taken a severe beating over the past decade. it’s… it’s been a long decade.

“The Raiders grounds crew finally wrangled the bird into a bucket during halftime. Perfectly on cue, the Raiders’ PA announcer played “Free Bird,” and that was the last we saw of the Oakland Pigeon.”

thumbs up on the “Free Bird,” but thumbs down on wrangling this pigeon into a bucket. a bucket? a bucket? no one could round up some kind of net to snare this thing in? there’s NEVER been a stray pigeon incident before that they would be prepared for?

except here’s the thing: i KNOW there’s been a stray pigeon incident before that. let’s take a quick trip down memory lane:

Raiders personnel versus pigeon
well, at least it’s not a bucket

Raiders’ Justin Fargas: pigeon on field was spirit of Marquis Cooper

so not to make light of what was a tragic situation (even more tragic than a normal Raiders season? BAM), back in 2009, Marquise Cooper was playing for the Raiders and went missing on a boating trip; he and two of his friends disappeared and are presumed dead. this was sad, but not that crazy until what happened shortly thereafter:

“During Sunday’s Eagles-Raiders game, a pigeon went onto the field, stopped briefly near where the Raiders were lining up for a kickoff, and then flew downfield in the same direction as the Raiders’ coverage unit. It made for a funny viral video, but one Oakland player, Justin Fargas, thinks it was much more: he thinks the pigeon was the reincarnation of deceased ex-Raider Marquis Cooper.”

as Justin Fargas (no great shakes as an NFL running back, i suppose, but i fondly recall his speed and incredibly fragile body from years-ago Madden franchises) is the child of the child of Antonio “Huggy Bear” Fargas, i presume he may have been exposed to a variety of chemicals as a young child, and thus might be prone to flights of extreme drug-induced fancy. still, he seemed very sincere, if perhaps aligned with spiritual and religious beliefs that i do not personally share.

“Cooper and former Detroit Lions defensive end Corey Smith died in a boating accident in February, and Fargas said in a radio interview this week that he thinks Cooper may have come back to Oakland in the form of that pigeon. “It seemed comfortable on the football field and comfortable flying down there literally on special teams,” Cooper said on KHTK in Sacramento, as transcribed by Sports Radio Interviews. “It very well could have been Marquis.””

now granted, he does cite the pigeon’s level of comfort, something marginally more fact-based than something like “i just had a FEELING it was Marquise Cooper” … but still, yes, a little bit crazy, as it very well could have been, you know, just a damn pigeon.

“Fargas’s belief that Cooper came back to Oakland inside the body of a pigeon strikes me as more than a little odd, but if that belief helps him through the grief of losing a friend, well, more power to him. If Cooper is helping the Raiders in the body of a pigeon, the Raiders will take all the help they can get.”

the latter part? sad but true, both in 2009 and now. but maybe one day…

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