A trademark Marcus Allen goal-line leap was Al Carrillo's introduction into Raider Nation.
Courtesy of his older brother Raphael, the Riverside, California, native got tickets to see the Los Angeles Raiders play the San Diego Chargers on Monday Night Football in September of 1984. It was Carrillo's first NFL game, and the Raiders were undefeated, fresh off a Super Bowl XVIII victory.
The Silver and Black trailed the Chargers, 30-26, with 48 seconds left in the game. They handed the ball off to the reigning Super Bowl MVP – who went airborne for his fourth touchdown of the day. The Raiders defeated their AFC West foe 33-30 inside the Los Angeles Coliseum, and Carrillo has been loyal to the team ever since.
"I saw Marcus Allen fly over the top, and I fell in love with the team," said Carrillo. "I always wanted to support them and be passionate about it. ... We did a good job and I loved the whole atmosphere."
After the young Carrillo had the luxury of seeing Marcus Allen fly over defenders, he got to see Bo Jackson run over defenders during Monday Night Football in 1987. The rookie running back dominated the Seahawks, totaling a career-high 221 rushing yards. Jackson set the franchise record for most rushing yards in a game that stood until 2022, with Josh Jacobs coincidentally breaking the record against the Seahawks.
Carrillo, going into his 25th season as a Raiders season ticket holder, is the owner of Matrix Tacos, a taco truck and catering business in California that he opened 15 years ago. His desire to start the business came from wanting a food stand in his community with top notch customer service, while using his mother's cherished homemade recipes.
Carrillo and his wife, Jessica, made the trek from California to Las Vegas for a recent season ticket member appreciation event inside Allegiant Stadium, also bringing their 7-year-old daughter, Aliza, who they are raising to love the Silver and Black as much as they do. The couple still vividly remember leaving Los Angeles around midnight on gamedays to get to the Oakland Coliseum and tailgate by 7 a.m. after the team moved back to the Bay Area.
Aliza has yet to miss a Raiders home game in the entirety of her life, outside of the 2020 pandemic season. Carrillo expressed how much he enjoys the family-friendly vibe the team has taken on since relocating to Las Vegas.
Over the past three years, the family has become heavily involved with the Junior Raiderettes. The Raiderettes staff is like family to the Carrillos and instantly bring a smile to Aliza's face. She was part of a Junior Raiderettes performance in the preseason when the Raiders took on the 49ers, and was even mic'd up during the event.
"I saw a few tears come down my eyes," Carrillo said of watching his daughter perform on the field. "I loved it. She did a few shoutouts to her people, she was humble and it was just nice. I loved it."
Carrillo is not the first Raiders fan to describe the franchise's fandom as "a lifestyle." The team means so much to him not only for what they've done on the field, but for the historical milestones they've set off the field.
"This team is a lot how I am. Fighting for diversity and people of color," he said. "They had the first Latino head coach, the first African American head coach. A lot of things happened and the Raiders made the doors open for a lot of people. And to me, that's the way I am. I pass the baton on, help people out and keep getting blessed. So overall, they've opened the door for other people, so that way, people can get ahead in life."