All is quiet – and that’s a good thing

NFL writer Jerry McDonald

Posted by NFL Editor and ANG football writer Jerry McDonald
Hear that?

It’s the sound of silence. The Raiders spent their bye weekend resting and relaxing in various ways, and in the next few days we’ll discover whether they’re rejevenated enough to win a key AFC West game from the San Diego Chargers.

Meanwhile, the Baltimore Ravens committed 21 penalties, had two ejections and disgraced themselves as well as their sport in a 35-17 loss to the Detroit Lions.

The Minnesota Vikings, or at least 17 of them, allegedly boarded two chartered boats on their bye week for a night of drinking and debauchery on Lake Minnetonka which could ruin a proposed stadium deal and prompt a major housecleaning by ownership.

This was going on at the same time management and ownership had gone off together on a retreat to form a “code of conduct.”

Suddenly, in part because the Raiders held on to beat Dallas before taking the week off, Norv Turner has fallen well off the pace behind Brian Billick and Mike Tice on “first to be fired” which are sent out by oddsmakers and created in the media.

The supposed silver and black bad boys even donated sports equipment to schools in Oakland and Richmond, with Langston Walker and Courtney Anderson doing the honors.

Raider fans, by the way, also failed to live up (or down) to the thug reputation they’ve been saddled with in large part to the actions of a rowdy few.

The stands at the Dallas game had few incidents despite more enemy jerseys than normal. Observers who were at both games said it was much uglier at Monster Park at the Cowboys-49ers game, and that the Raiders had much more of a home field advantage based on crowd noise.

The Jokes On Them
E-mailer Mike J. from Talmoon, MN, writes, “when a coach may say, `We need to chart a course for action,’ it appears at least 17 Vikings players thought he said, `We need to charter a course to find action . . . ”

From Minneapolis Star-Tribune columnist Jim Souhan: “Last week we missed only Randy Moss’ talent. Today, we miss him as a role model.”

Officially Speaking
Who said all the strange calls involve the Raiders?

Sunday night’s Pittsburgh-San Diego game saw the Chargers Darren Sproles muff a fair catch attempt, then have it pay off in their favor when the Steeler were called for not allowing Sproles the chance to catch the ball.

Never mind that Sproles was heading backward, the ball had gone forward, and he had no chance to catch it. The rule says he gets a chance to catch the bobble, and since the ball hadn’t hit the ground, the flag was thrown.

Shane Lechler said the call was “ridiculous.” Chris Carr, a rookie who didn’t want to be critical of officials, didn’t want to give an opinion. Turner said it was the correct call.

Sports Illustrated’s Paul Zimmerman, by the way, wrote in his Internet column he spoke to NFL director of officials Mike Pereira, who said the rule was open to interpretation by an official.

That’s as close as you’ll get to the NFL admitting it was a bad call. What the Raiders should take note of is that the Steelers still won the game. That’s what good teams do.


Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer