Rise of The Mob
Once upon a time back in 1999 two die hard RAIDERS fans, Nancy Goldsmith and Griz Jones, decided to camp out at the Oakland Coliseum the night before a RAIDERS’ home game, at the 66th Ave gate. For those of you that do not know, the 66th Ave gate is on the North side of what we still call The Oakland Coliseum. We must have arrived an hour or two before 12 midnight the night before. Nobody else was present that night, nor was there anybody else parked around the other gates since we did drive around a few times before we stopped. On the south side of the Oakland Coliseum at the gate where motorhomes parked, there were a few motorhomes but nobody was present. We did not see anybody tailgating so we assumed they just dropped off their motor homes.
Nancy and I parked all the way up front at the 66th Ave gate/intersection, pulled out some tailgate supplies and actually had the time of our lives.
We had some trepidations about the two of us being alone out there, hanging outside in East Oakland all night long, not knowing exactly what to expect. Believe me we stuck out. What we had going for us was I am from San Leandro, Ca originally which is right next to Oakland and have spent much time in the surrounding areas of Oakland and the East Bay growing up as a kid. Of course I was attending RAIDERS games since the RAIDERS moved back. So I felt right at home.
Just to give you a visual, 66th Ave can be a busy street right next to the freeway exit even late at night. Many people are out partying. That first night we noticed many RAIDERS fans driving by and they noticed us. After doing a few over-nighters on 66th Ave before every RAIDERS home game some of those RAIDERS fans driving by started to stop and ask us what we were doing. We told them we were tailgating the night before. After that, a few other RAIDERS fans started to join us the night before.
Before others caught on and started to join us the night before, the first fans to show up after Nancy and I back in those days would arrive anywhere from 4-4:30am the day of the game.
After a year of all-night tailgating some of the local media got word of this and came out to do a few interviews with Nancy and I. The next home game after that more RAIDER fans started to show up the night before, come all the way up front since Nancy and I were always the first cars, introduce themselves saying “Hi Nancy and Griz my name is bla bla, and I saw you on TV the other night camping out on the local sports news station. I did not realize RAIDERS fans camped out the night before so I want to do the same.” They figured they do not sleep much the night before a game anyway since they are so excited. The next thing you know at the 66th Ave gate RAIDERS fans started to show up regularly the night before every RAIDERS home game. Of course, Nancy and I were always the first car. The funny thing is during those early days there were times that other RAIDERS fans tried to beat us there and get there before we did. Each time they tried to show up earlier then us we for some reason always got there before they did. Part of that was either a psychic sense or me being totally paranoid that other fans were trying to beat us. The norm was being raised home game to home game. The RAIDERS fans that use to be the first cars at the 66th Ave gate between 4-4:30am the day of the game were getting a little angry. They were slowly being pushed back farther and farther down the lanes since more RAIDERS fans started to show up the night before. They also had some of their people try to arrive early to save spots for their group. But each time they got there earlier and earlier Nancy, myself and other RAIDERS fans were always there first. So they conceded, threw in the white towel and gave up trying to beat us.
People wanted to become part of what was going on. Every official booster club or unofficial booster club have their own way of bringing in fans and intiating them. Some clubs charge a club fee, other clubs do not. Our standard to become what turned into THE 66TH MOB was you have to arrive before 12 midnight, the night before every RAIDERS game. Our intiation fee was your heart and dedication. That was our long standing standard. That became the norm back in those days. After other RAIDERS fans would show up the night before they always tried to find out what time Nancy and I were getting there. It became a psychological game. Every time Nancy and I would show up the night before, my stomach had butterflies trembling, like a kid waiting to open up presents on X-mas. As I drove off the freeway to turn onto 66th Ave the anticipation of wanting to see if anybody beat us was an adrenaline rush. They would always ask us, “what time do you arrive here?” They wanted so badly to beat us at least one time, so they could say they were the first fans to show up at the game. Our response to them which became our code was, “TEN MINUTES BEFORE YOU DID.” This drove these other RAIDERS fans crazy. But we might have been there hours before the next fans showed up. Fans kept trying to prod us for that information for years and we never, ever conceded. We stuck to the code with a smile on our faces.
That become one of our group mottos if you will with other RAIDERS fans who tried to tap into the psyche of the MOB. But it was always in good fun. After a few years of doing this the two lanes leading into the 66th ave gate started to fill up by 12 midnight the night before. Then one thing lead to another and after much local media attention and RAIDERS fans driving by, the other gates around the Oakland Coliseum started to get with the program and RAIDERS fans started to show up at those gates the night before. From that time and on we, THE 66TH MOB were getting more local media exposure then any other RAIDERS fan club. And it was all because of overnight tailgating. We had fans coming up to us all of the time, the day of the game saying, “I saw you on TV last night on channel 2, or channel 5 , etc.” I was like, “Really?” Being out there all night long, not home watching TV, I never knew when they aired the interviews. So, I started to ask the local stations after they interviewed us when would they have this on TV, then called some RAIDERS fans who were home to let them know. Sometimes it was live, airing as we were interviewed.
As a result of being out there so early for many years now we got to know many RAIDERS fans from everywhere. We never discriminated if you were part of a booster club or not. If your a RAIDERS fan, you’re family and we will welcome all with open arms. We THE 66TH MOB were the first RAIDERS fans who started to feed all RAIDERS fans coming to 66th Ave the night before every RAIDERS home game, all homeless people in East Oakland passing thru, Oakland city workers and even Oakland Police officers the night before every RAIDERS home game. THE 66TH MOB is now known as the RAIDER NATION’S hardest working fans within the Oakland community, bar none. Nobody has put in the work like the MOB has over the years.
Lastly, these experiences were just the beginning of nationwide recognition that has now become an INTERNATIONAL VENUE for all RAIDERS fans flying in from around the world. This location that is now called “MOB ALLEY” and it’s fans are known for being the only fans within the NFL that do two night tailgates, especially when our team was 4-12 and 5-11. Nowhere else will you find such dedication when your team is down. These unprecedented actions that can’t be found anywhere else within the NFL have inspired a current nationwide movement that are called 66TH MOB promotional days (P-D-DAYS) that involve RAIDERS fans from every corner of the country. The rest is history.
That’s how overnight tailgating began at the Oakland coliseum which is now the norm and a institution at every gate in Oakland, Ca. And that’s how your 66TH MOB began..
If you live local or fly in from afar, when you come into Oakland, Ca. for a RAIDERS game always make a point to stop by the greatest place to be prior to every RAIDERS home game from Friday night and on, MOB ALLEY.
From the Godfather of THE 66TH MOB, Griz Jones.