Of course, for Las Vegas Raiders coach Josh McDaniels, the trip was nothing new, as he grew up in Canton and played at Canton McKinley High School.
However, McDaniels knew this was a special opportunity for the entire team, and he, his crew and his players sought to make the most of it while they were there.
“I thought our guys went there with the right mindset,” McDaniels said in virtual media Friday. “We know we went a day early, and we went a day early for some reason. We wanted to go see the unveiling of the Marion Motley statue right there in front of the Hall of Fame, and I think our guys really appreciated that and the history behind it.”
“And then, to be able to go through the Hall of Fame and take our time and really enjoy some of the history and lore of the game, I really enjoyed watching them go through it and literally stop by and read the things that were there to read and learn more about the game. Look, they are all part of it now. And so I thought our guys really benefited a lot from the trip both personally and professionally, they are a little bit better in the league and great players and coaches and people who have made our game so great for so long.
“That was our hope and our goal when we decided to do it. I thought the other thing that happened was I thought they were all ready to go by the time we played the match. [Thursday] night. So going there a couple of days ago, you never know exactly how it’s going to happen, but I didn’t think it affected our mentality and the way we approach the game at all. Overall, I was very happy with what we got out of the trip and the way our guys were doing.”
McDaniels also looked to benefit from the honors on the court as well. In the Raiders’ first offensive tackle in the game, quarterback Garrett Stidham looked deeper, which was an attempt to honor the 2022 Pro Football Hall of Fame recruiter. Cliff Branch And the legend of the franchise Al Davis.
“That was a key element,” McDaniels said. “Cliff was a quick guy – obviously he made a bunch of big plays in his career; big mission plays in big mission games. That’s why he went into the Hall of Fame here. [Saturday]. And I know Mr. Davis – both Mr. Davis – are big fans of the long ball. So, yes, that was an ode to the Raiders, Cliff Branch, and the way Mr. Davis–both of them–have that kind of play.”