Lil' Hater's report from the Road.
WASHINGTON – In an emotional performance, the usually hapless Oakland Raiders came from behind to win their fourth game of the season Sunday, 16-13, against the Washington Redskins. Players and coaches dedicated the unexpected victory to their deceased owner, Al Davis.
"We saw this year how the New York Giants shamelessly exploited the deaths of two of their owners – two guys literally no one had ever heard of before they croaked – to ensure victories in the games following each of their deaths," noted Raider running back LaMont Jordan. "It's a pretty cowardly and weak ploy, actually, but we felt that if they could do it, hey, so could we."
Davis, leader of the Raiders since 1963, has clearly been dead for several years. The actual date of his passing is unclear, although insiders say the date probably coincided with the Raiders getting humiliated by former coach John Gruden's Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Super Bowl XXXVII. Staff members occasionally wheel Davis' corpse about McAfee Stadium in carefully choreographed moves taken from Weekend At Bernie's script. During the week, his body is entombed like Vladimir Lenin.
"We had this dead guy hanging around the franchise for years, smelling up the place and creeping out the cheerleaders," said lineman Warren Sapp. "But heck, if the Giants can use the death of an owner to gain sympathy from the refs, and motivate the team a little, so can we."
The strategy clearly worked on Sunday, as the Raiders – for perhaps the first time in franchise history – got the benefit of all the close referee calls in the game, including the non-call of a late Jordan fumble on the goal line, which led to the Raiders scoring the winning points. CBS broadcasters also did its part for its AFC franchise, showing review-able plays in super slow motion only when overturning the calls would benefit Oakland, while blatantly ignoring replays of calls that could benefit Washington.
Sapp also noted that the "Win One For the Dead Guy" ploy was specifically used for a road game, out of concerns that unruly and drunk Raider fans would have torn the decomposing corpse of Davis apart piece by piece in celebration of the victory.
Emboldened by the use of gamesmanship to ensure victory, Raider officials are now exploring the best way to exploit a national tragedy to gain an extra home game, as the Giants have also done. "It's going to be tough to equal the Giant's record this year – using two dead owners and a hurricane to weasel out three extra victories – but the Raiders are all about cheating, too, so who’s to say we can't rise to the challenge," said Sapp.
Opposing coaches say the strategy, while gutless, is to be expected in the hyper-competitive NFL.
"We'd try the same thing too, if Dan Snyder wasn't as reviled as he is," noted Redskins coach Joe Gibbs.
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