Like all quintessential American tough guys, the Los Angeles Raiders are men without a home, from everywhere and from nowhere. Like the mythical American hero, they leave a trail of battered foes and broken hearts as they weave their legend.
The broken hearts, in this case, are in Oakland.
Three days before Sunday's Superbowl XVIII in Tampa, Fla., three charter planes of Los Angeles Raiders fans will leave from Oakland - 400 miles away from the team's home base.
The team's Los Angeles booster club is chartering two planes, and some of the passengers on them will be from Oakland.
''There is still a lot of sentiment up here for the Raiders,'' Oakland Tribune sportswriter Paul McCarthy says, after a casual poll of people on Oakland's streets.
''Fans have never really made the switch to the (San Francisco) Forty-Niners.''
In fact, a busload of Oaklanders consistently trundles down the long California central valleys to every home game in Los Angeles.
Says Los Angeles booster club treasurer Marietta Richardson: ''I think they (the Raiders) like us too. . . . We had nothing to do with taking their team.''
Yet, ticket demand for the Superbowl is just a trickle from either Los Angeles or Oakland compared with what it is from Washington, where Redskin fans seem much more eager to watch their team play.
So says Jerry Adelman, who runs Murray's, a ticket brokerage. ''Why would anybody in L.A. want to go to Tampa? In Washington they're freezing.''
Ticket scalping is illegal in Florida, but not in California, where Murray's sold out of Superbowl seats Tuesday - selling tickets marked $60 for $300 and up.
Mr. Adelman is still selling tickets as part of package tours ranging from $ 588 to $1,149. Prices are high, he says, because the Tampa stadium is smaller than usual.