4:54 PDT: We arrived a little while ago, and now we’re sitting up in the press box. I’ve never been to Oakland before, so it’s pretty interesting seeing the field with a baseball diamond in the middle of it. I’ve never seen something like that in person.
Speaking of something I’ve never seen in person — the Oakland fans were very receptive of the Broncos buses pulling into the stadium. I’ve never heard so many cheers of encouragement — and I was surprised how many people were signaling that we were No. 1!
5:04 PDT: Former Bronco Cooper Carlisle is on the field talking with Ben Hamilton and Erik Pears. There are five current Raiders who played in Denver — Carlisle, Cornell Green, Ashley Lelie, Javon Walker and Gerard Warren.
Walker is on the 45-yard line, talking with Marcus Thomas, Nate Webster and Kenny Peterson. It’s one giant reunion out there.
John Engelberger is also out on the field, talking with Robert Gallery — not a former Bronco.
Javon walked off the field and Jay Cutler greeted him — the two are chatting near the sideline. Tony Scheffler just walked over and joined them.
5:34 PDT: The weather is great here — really sunny but there’s also a nice breeze so it’s not too bad on the field. Pretty solid night for some football. I’m going down to the field right now to grab some pictures of the players warming up — be back in about 15 minutes.
6:15 PDT: Back from the field, and I’ve got all the pictures ready — the fans are already piling into the stadium, and the boos are already starting as the wide receivers and running backs just jogged on the field to join the special teamers.
6:17 PDT: The inactives were just announced for the Broncos: Calvin Lowry, Ryan Torain, Louis Green, Erik Pears, Tom Nalen, Dylan Gandy, Jarvis Moss and Josh Shaw.
For the Raiders, QB Marques Tuiasosopo, WR Todd Watkins, S Rashad Baker, DE Kalimba Edwards, C John Wade, T Mario Henderson and WR Javon Walker. Looks like the on-field reunion won’t happen tonight.
6:43 PDT: Had some lovely lasagna and caesar salad down in the press dining room. Kickoff is only a half-hour away. The windows in the press box are open, and the music in the stadium is pumping. It’s a pretty electric atmosphere already as the teams are warming up in their respective endzones.
6:46 PDT: The Raiders announced that they have released T Seth Wand.
7:03 PDT: The Raiders are showing a tribute video to former Oakland player Gene Upshaw. Upshaw was the executive director of the NFL Players Association. He died suddenly last month from pancreatic cancer. He was 63.
7:07 PDT: The national anthem is over, and there was a fly-over that has the crowd pretty fired up. Less than 10 minutes until kickoff — things are getting pretty exciting.
7:15 PDT: The Broncos arrived on the field to a chorus of boos. Mike Leach was pretty far ahead of the rest of the team, however, running out to join Brett Kern and Matt Prater on the field, so he got a solid round of boos all to himself. Now the Raiders are entering to “Hells Bells” by AC/DC. It’s almost game time, and the flash bulbs are popping in the crowd.
7:21 PDT: The Raiders introduced their starters on defense, and the captains are at midfield. High fives and hand shakes are exchanged — and the Broncos choose tails — it’s tails. They win the toss and elect to receive.
Time for the regular season to start. Check the first quarter notes blog and stick with us the rest of the game. Game time, Broncos.
-Gray Caldwell, DenverBroncos.com