ALAMEDA, Calif. -- The Oakland Raiders might have played their final game in the Oakland Coliseum, but they still have one home game remaining.
Or have you forgotten the droves of fans that still reside in Los Angeles, remnants from the franchise's 13-season SoCal sojourn from 1982 through 1994? The same ones who would turn the Los Angeles Chargers' former home in San Diego into a swirling, silver-and-black cauldron. Same thing happened in the Chargers' temporary soccer stadium home in Carson the past two years.
"Yeah, I think the Chargers try and do a good job of not selling the tickets to Raiders fans," laughed Raiders quarterback Derek Carr, perhaps still stinging from Oakland fans turning on him in Sunday's East Bay finale.
"They try at least. But it'll be a lot of Raider fans in that building, just as it always was in San Diego. Just like it always is in L.A. Our Raider support in Los Angeles is, it's unbelievable."
According to the two L.A.-area natives on the Raiders roster, it's ingrained in the Southland. And the Los Angeles fan base is even more energized by the team's pending move to Las Vegas, which, while in a different state, is actually closer to the team's former home at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum than Oakland is.
"The tradition of the Raiders in L.A., there's going to be more Raiders fans than Chargers fans, for sure," said rookie Raiders cornerback Keisean Nixon, who grew up "literally across the 91 freeway in Compton" from the Chargers' Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson.
"They sell Raiders stuff in the airport. The Raiders are a California thing, not just an Oakland thing."
To be fair, Nixon was not even born yet when the Raiders played their final game as the Los Angeles Raiders on Christmas Eve 1994. The first Raiders game he ever attended was the one in which he made his debut. Nixon will have more than 20 friends and family members coming to Sunday's game. Unfortunately, though, his "uncle" Snoop Dogg will not be among them.
"Nah," Nixon said with a sly grin, "he's out and about.
"I'm super excited. Everybody wants to see me but I'm trying to stay focused. It's crazy. I'm going to be playing in my own backyard. Literally."
Last year, the Raiders played an exhibition game at the L.A. Coliseum against the Rams, who left Anaheim for St. Louis in 1995 but returned to L.A. in 2016. Raiders fans overtook the venerable stadium.
Defensive end Benson Mayowa, who grew up in Inglewood, was 3 years old when the Raiders departed L.A. for Oakland, so his memories of the team's stay there are fleeting.
"There's a couple of Cali cats on the team, so it's going to be a fun game for me," Mayowa said, referencing himself and Nixon. "Growing up, that's all you would see -- Raiders gear. Now, it's the Rams because they're building that stadium [in Inglewood], but before it was all Raiders. Still is. L.A. is full of Raiders fans."
Like the 10-15 friends and family he will have at the game.
And seminal rap group NWA, who made Raiders gear hip in certain circles, had little to do with it, right? Mayowa laughed.
"Probably a little bit to do with NWA," he allowed, "but there's a boatload of Raiders fans, man. It's a lot of love out there for the Raiders."
Especially with the slimmest of playoff chances still alive for the Raiders. It all begins with the Raiders (6-8) ending their four-game losing streak and beating both the Chargers and Denver Broncos. It continues with the Indianapolis Colts needing to beat the Carolina Panthers and Jacksonville Jaguars, goes on with the Tennessee Titans losing to both the New Orleans Saints and the Houston Texans, the Cleveland Browns losing to either the Baltimore Ravens or Cincinnati Bengals, and the Pittsburgh Steelers losing to the New York Jets and Ravens.
Whew. Then, and only then, would the Raiders be the No. 6 seed in the AFC playoffs.
"I don't understand," said Raiders coach Jon Gruden.
No, he was not talking about his team's playoff chances, though that would have been understandable. Rather, he was answering a question about the Raiders having a "home" game in L.A.
"It's a little different than it used to be, playing at the old San Diego Chargers stadium," Gruden said. "You're playing at a venue that really is a temporary venue for them. I've got a lot of respect for this rivalry, wherever we play it, but California football right now is in limbo. The 49ers moved [to Santa Clara]. We're moving [to Las Vegas]. The Chargers moved. The Rams moved.
"So, there's a lot of moving parts. But I enjoy playing this matchup. Always have."
Especially when, to use a phrase by Compton rapper Kendrick Lamar, the Raiders are in L.A.'s DNA.