Thursday, December 31, 2009

Top Moments of the Decade No. 2B: Oakland Fight Club

Nobody has done more to reach out to his team's fanbase than Raiders coach Tom Cable. While most evolved football fans see a coach sucker-punching an assistant coach as a bush-league maneuver that would be better served for the bullies running small-time Big XII programs, Raiders fans relish it.

"Hey, Cable taught that 'Essay' a lesson on respect, (female dogs)."

You know, the typical brain-dead response you have come to expect from Raiders fans.

Now some of you might argue that Cable's inclusion here might be because it happened so late in the decade and the incident is still fresh in our minds. And you would probably be correct. But come on. This is an NFL coach be investigated by the police for assault.

Normally that is just the Raiders fans. Which again shows that Cable is trying to form a bond with the Raiders fans. Could you imagine the Raiders being coached by a felon? Cable probably would not be allowed in the stadium because he could not be within 100 feet of known felons. Which of course is nearly every Raiders fan in attendance.

So this was a bold move. Hopefully Davis recognizes the great lengths that Cable has gone through to make him 'one of them.' Cable is like the white guy in American Me who becomes the head of the Mexican Mafia. Hopefully that will be enough to bring him back next year.

Oh and for the record, Randy Hanson is kind of a female dog, but still.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Top Moments of the Decade No. 2A: Overhead Projector

Everybody has long mused that the Raiders are living in the past.

Al Davis proved it beyond a reasonable doubt when he fired Lane Kiffin in 2008.

The fact that Davis want to use a press conference to eviscerate was pretty old school. Especially in this politically correct world where a customary handjob goes with your walking paper. But using an overhead projector was clearly something out of the 1970s.

At one point, you figured that Davis was going to bust out that old-school projector and reel, like the kind used to teach kids sexual education back in the day. Like the scene from Johnny Dangerously when you learned about "Your Testicles and You."

This is not even about using a power-point presentation. Do you think Davis still uses a rotary phone? Does he carry dimes with him incase he needs to make an emergency phone call?

Even after years of watching Al Davis morph into that incoherent grandparent we once loved, nothing made him look older. Even as he spewed vile threats at Kiffin, none of that mattered because he was using an overhead projector. You almost get the sense that the Raiders are the only team in the NFL who does not use a fax machine to send over images from the coaches box during games.

The Raiders still use carrier pigeons.

The Raiders are never going to be able to recover from that image. Much like the overhead projector, it is a timeless classic.

Oh, and the Raiders also hired Tom Cable that day. Enjoy all of that.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Top Moments of the Decade No. 3: 2007 Fiesta Bowl

If there was ever a more enjoyable football game -- and Super Bowl 37 is the only one that comes close -- ever?

The mid-majors have longed asked to be included into the big time. To be taken seriously. To be given a chance to compete with the big boys. That is what made March Madness one of the best sporting events ever.

And it apparently scares the hell out of the college football powers.

But the six major BCS conferences believed that they were going to be able to put one of those uppity mid-major schools in its place when Oklahoma played Boise State in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl.

But of course, they forgot that Bob Stoopes was still the coach of the Sooners.

We all know how this story goes. Boise State gets big lead. Boise State blows lead. Miracle finish. Ian Johnson proposes to his girl friend. The end.

Monday, December 28, 2009

The Post Mortem: Parity Rules!

Hats off to the new NFL tradition of closing your stadium with a loss. The Cowboys played like, well the Tony Romo-led Cowboys during the closing of Texas Stadium. So Eli Messiah figured he could do one better by completely embarrassing himself against one of the biggest underachieving teams in the league to close out Giants Stadium.

Well done, Eli. That contract that the Giants are stuck with likely will not kill them during the uncapped year. But he is hoping that the salary cap does not shrink post lockout in 2011.

But seriously, the Giants had a playoff berth on the line and that was effort you put out? Against the Panthers were who were already mailing it in?

And speaking of the playoffs, what happened to all of this parity? One week left in the regular season and the NFC playoff players are already set? Sure, there is still a scramble for the NFC East, but there is nothing compelling after the Vikings closed the door by locking up the No. 2 spot on Monday night. (Alright, Arizona could land the No. 2 seed, but that looks like the Eagles to lose at this point. But who knows.)

The AFC has some intrigue. There is something to be said about the Broncos have the No. 5 spot at the moment, ahead of Raven and the Jets. Hilariously though, if those three teams tied, Raven would leap over the Broncos. So there is that.

But when the Raiders are a player in the final week of the season – as a possible spoiler – then you do not have much to crow about.

NBC flexed the Jets and Bengals game into the mix, but honestly, why not move the Raiders-Raven to the prime time spot? If the Redskins can have back-to-back prime time games, give Charlie Frye his chance to shine, people.

And can we say something about the Jets here? How lucky are the Jets that they have the most fortuitous schedule outside of the Giants? The Colts when they are laying down, followed by the Bengals when they could care less. Awesome stuff guys.

Giants ownership is already pissed about the Jets good fortune and is demanding a December which will include Rutgers in 2010.

The Giants might be granted that wish.

AND FINALLY, what the hell Vikings. That looks like it could end up coming back on Brett Favre, but this loss was not on him. He played well enough to win. But where is the Vikings defense? You let Jay Cutler do that to you? Antonie Winfield ... you should be ashamed.

Like I said above, though, the Birds have a chance for a No. 2 seed if they beat the Packers and the Eagles lose. So this turned out to be a good thing

Top Moments of the Decade No. 4: Patriots win Super Bowl

Professional football was out of California in 1995. And it was bittersweet.

The Raiders moved during the summer, and the celebration I believe must have rivaled those in France and other parts of Europe in 1945. The move should have been met with a ticker-tape parade. A huge cloud was lifted off the shoulders of the Southern California sports fans. The worst fans in the history of the world no longer had a team to cheer for.

At least not here. The Raiders were back where they belonged in the Detroit of California. (Oakland's true nickname, mind you.)

True, the inbred Raiders fans still drove around town in their jacked-up trucks, voicing their social protests via Calvin pissing stickers, we were not forced to have NFL games blacked out so that 40,000 pieces of evidence to the missing link could watch their favorite football team.

But there was some sorrow. The Los Angeles Rams folded, like a real-life version of Major League. And the fans who followed the team were unable to follow that new expansion franchise in St. Louis.

Even if they did try to use the same logo.

Those fans received some unlikely help from our enemies in New England. For years, the Celtics and Lakers had one of the top rivalries in sports. The Red Sox tormented the Angels franchise since 1986.

But it was the New England Patriots who gave some closure to those Southern California football fans with one playoff run.

The Patriots knocked off the Raiders and then the St. Louis FC in one of the biggest upsets in Super Bowl history.

While many of us will never witness our team win a Super Bowl championship in our lifetime, this was damn close.

So for one night -- in the New York, New York piano bar -- we celebrated with our chowder brothers. And it was good.

Oh yes, it was good.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

First Look: Caldwell Did Right Thing

Many of you are questioning Colts coach Jim Caldwell for his decision to rest his starters, perfect season be damned. He did the right thing. For starters, going perfect during the regular season and losing during the first home playoff game would be too much for Gomer and the Colts.

The stigma of being a loser who never wins in the playoffs would be too much for Gomer.

Now, going 15-1 or 14-2, bowing out in the first round will seem like every other Colts playoff collapse.

And honestly, you know that it is coming. Either the Steelers will squeak into the playoffs and knock off the Colts. Or the Patriots will take the No. 4 seed and beat them. Come on, is there any other way this could possibly end?

Caldwell had to protect the long-term psyche of his player. He could not risk the though of going 16-0 in the regular season, 0-1 in the playoffs. Good move.

Oh, and can we stop calling Eli Messiah an elite quarterback? Just wow. Having the Cowboys in the playoffs is almost worth it if it means that the Giants have been eliminated. Oh, and how much are you paying for your quarterback?

Top Moments of the Decade No. 5: Super Bowl 37

One Sunday afternoon put the entire Raiders mystique to bed -- January 26, 2003. The Raiders had seemingly put the whole 'Tuck Rule' to rest, Al Davis was proven correct for firing ... err... trading Jon Gruden to the Buccaneers. And the 'Greatness of the Raiders' was going to be restored to all of its glory.

Except for one thing.

They needed to play (and win the game).

Center Barrett Robbins apparently knew what was coming, he skipped town and went -- as legend goes -- to Tijuana. Or Pacific Beach. Or a donkey show in Santee. Not that it mattered, the rest of the Raiders offense was missing for most of the day.

He might be dead now. And I do not care enough to look it up.

While the Buccaneers defenders were not in the Raiders' huddle, cameras caught the John Lynch bragging about how the Raiders never bothered to change the language on their calls. Yeah, hard to imagine the Raiders not being prepared.

The Raiders probably would have fared better with Gruden on its sideline.

The Buccaneers put a 48-21 beating on the Raiders, and while that was clearly satisfying. Nothing topped watching the endless drones of Raiders fans filing out of Qualcomm Stadium crestfallen, and not able to even mutter the most mundane of expletives that typically touched their herpes-infest lips.

The myth of the Raiders died that day. The Raiders have not had a winning season, nor reached the playoffs since that time. Even the thugs that formerly brandished their gear found something more manly -- like Sacramento Monarchs gear.

Oh, and they stopped selling beer at halftime.

Partly because they did not want to have a riot. But mostly because Raiders fans kept trying to use food stamps and their return Grayhound tickets to purchase hooch.