Part of the Bay Area News Group

Raiders hopes are flagging

By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Wednesday, September 21st, 2005 at 11:49 am in Regular Season (2005).

NFL writer Jerry McDonald

Posted by NFL Editor and ANG football writer Jerry McDonald
Only losers complain about penalties. I mean that in the literal sense. Losers, as in the team that lost the game. That alone should be a lesson for teams which dwell too much on officiating.
Let the fans and media assess the skills of the officials. Good teams overcome them.

Other than Franco Harris’ “Immaculate Reception,” which was actually the Raiders complaining about a call they didn’t get, rather than one they did, you’d be hard-pressed to come up with a scenario in which a team got hosed by an official and still couldn’t have come up winners.

(It should be noted that to this day, it is impossible to tell whether it was Jack Tatum or Frenchy Fuqua who was the first man to hit Terry Bradshaw’s pass)

The most bitter e-mails I receive are from fans who take issue with the Raiders’ culpability in losing the “Tuck Rule” game to Tom Brady, Adam Vinateiri and the New England Patriots.

How could I do such a thing? The game was over. End of story. Problem was, it wasn’t Walt Coleman who stopped Zack Crockett on third-and-short on 14 blast. It wasn’t Walt Coleman playing defense for the Raiders when the Patriots marched downfield in overtime, or Walt Coleman playing special teams when Troy Brown broke a punt return to put the Patriots in position.

Did the Raiders get screwed? Sure they did. And they could have won anyway. That’s what good Raiders teams did. Much has been made of the fact that the supposedly disciplined teams of Jon Gruden were just as penalized as the teams of Mike White, Joe Bugel, Bill Callahan and Norv Turner.

And it’s true. But they were good enough to win anyway. The old Oakland Raiders, before they moved to Los Angeles, were famous for penalties. They were good enough to win anyway.

Angry fans make for great bar room conversation and good reading in the form of e-mails and Internet posts detailing conspiracy theories of the NFL vs. the Empire of Al. Go ahead and rant. Some of the excess venom is
hilarious, some ventures into disturbing. But it’s all entertaining.

But it’s bad form for the players to worry about flags. They should instead be concerned with being good enough to overcome them.

The Raiders lost to the Chiefs because the Raiders didn’t do enough to beat the Chiefs. It says so in the final score.

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