International Fan of the Week

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Alejandro Parra with the plane he painted in silver and black.

It was 1973 and the Miami Dolphins continued to go undefeated like the season before.

The Dolphins were playing against the Raiders, a team that could beat the best team if they were in the mood for winning -- they had players that could be great if they had the desire. I was like them -- if I tried hard, I could be the best because I had the resources. If only I committed to excellence, I could make anything happen. My Commitment to Excellence paid off when I became the only pilot in the history of my flying school to graduate with the highest honors and later became one of the best captains in Mexicana and Ethiopian Airlines.

In the 1973 game against Miami, Ken Stabler couldn't do too much against the Miami defense. But the Dolphins Bob Griese couldn't score either against the formidable Raiders wall led by Otis Sistrunk, Phil Villapiano, Willie Brown, Jack Tatum and George Atkinson. Miami scored only once and was stopped at midfield most of the game. I couldn't believe that this bunch of men, of who Al Davis and John Madden had rescued from oblivion, could stop the unbeatable Dolphins.

Ray Guy was tirelessly punting as far as he could whenever the team couldn't get a first down.

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Alejandro Parra flies his Raiders airplane.

The Raiders kept coming, running left with Marv Hubbard through Jim Otto, Gene Upshaw and Art Shell. Fred Biletnikoff caught low passes with those gummy hands, but nothing happened. Against the no-name Miami defense, they could only reach the 20-yard line or so, but not enough for a touchdown.

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Pilot Alejandro Parra flies the airplane he painted to represent The Oakland Raiders.

But the Raiders had a secret weapon -- George Blanda. He made every field goal he tried that day. Every time he went for a field goal, the Raiders seemed confident they would score.

They won that game with four George Blanda field goals stopping the unbeatable Dolphins for the first time. The Dolphins lost only one other game in 1973 and were champions again.

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The Raiders airplane in formation.

The Raiders continued the 1973 season to win the division title and beat the Steelers to go to the conference championship game, but lost to the Dolphins.

Since that game, in which the Raiders proved that they could beat the best team if they wanted to, I knew I would be a Raiders fan forever.

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Alejandro Parra demonstrated his Raiders pride on his refurbished airplane.

Later, as an airline pilot, I rescued and restored the plane I learned to fly in my school, a beautiful Beechcraft T-34, just as Al Davis and John Madden recued their players. I decorated the plane as the first and only Raiders silver and black plane in the world at that time. It was a tribute to my beloved Raiders team and to The Snake, Ken Stabler.

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