Profootballtalk.com is inviting readers to chip in with suggestions for the 10 worst moments of the Raiders since 1987, something the Web site is putting together for every team in the league.
OK, I’ll play along.
(Note: Tragic events which far outweigh anything to do with football, such as the deaths of safety Eric Turner and 1998 draftee Leon Bender, are not included).
1. Super Bowl XXXVII, Jan. 26, 2003: Bucs 48, Raiders 21
Wayward center Barret Robbins got the landslide rolling when he went AWOL in a haze of alcohol and mental illness, but this was all about Jon Gruden
Traded by Al Davis to Tampa Bay for two first-round draft picks, two second-round draft picks and $8 million, Gruden was in his full Chucky glory, mimicking quarterback Rich Gannon in practice and having his team prepared to dismantle the organization that gave him his chance to be a head coach.
Yeah, I know. Gruden wanted to go. Of course he did. When the boss asks “do you want to leave?’’ it’s pretty much universally accepted he wants you to leave.
2. The Tuck Rule Game, Jan. 19, 2002: Patriots 16, Raiders 13
I’ll never forget the look of Amy Trask, Bruce Allen and Mike Lombardi as they filed past the media in the press box after Adam Vinatieri’s game-winning field goal in overtime. Complete and utter shock and horror.
Walt Coleman actually was lauded in some circles for his application of an arcane rule that never passed the stink test. I’ve seen Charles Woodson hit Tom Brady a hundred times now, and a hundred times it was a fumble, with Greg Biekert recovering.
That said, proper perspective requires recognition of the fact that had Zack Crockett picked up a third-and-1 near midfield in the fourth quarter, Coleman never comes into play.
3. San Diego 27, Oakland 0, Sept. 11, 2006
It may as well have been 100-0. A 4-1 preseason had some believing that perhaps the Art Shell redux could possibly work out.
Instead, the Raiders were so shockingly inept in all areas it was clear the team was headed south in a hurry. Oakland finished 2-14, Shell was done after one year.
The comments section in this blog was the most angry I can ever remember. Fans were embarrassed and disgusted.
4. Anything to do with JaMarcus Russell
It was really more an era than a moment, but it cost the Raiders $39 million in guaranteed money for the No. 1 overall pick of the 2007 draft.
5. Bo Jackson’s career-ending injury, Jan. 13, 1991
Tackled along the sideline by Kevin Walker, Jackson sustained a dislocated hip with blood flow issues that ended one of Al Davis’ most shrewd management decisions. Going against convention, Davis allowed Jackson to be a “part time’’ football player and was rewarded with one of football’s most explosive talents.
6. Bill Callahan’s `Dumbest Team in America,’ Nov. 30, 2003
The Raiders fall to 3-9 after losing 22-8 to the Denver Broncos at the Coliseum. Whatever tenuous hold Callahan had on his team at the time evaporated when he proclaimed it “the dumbest team in America’’ after committing 11 penalties for 89 yards.
He lost Woodson and Charlie Garner, among others. Those two were suspended for the regular-season finale against San Diego after blowing off a mandatory snack the night before the game.
Callahan read a brief statement bolted from the podium at his season-ending press conference, offering a terse “No!’’ when I asked him if he was taking any questions.
7. The Randy Moss experiment
Moss was at his explosive, dynamic best all the way up to the point where he suffered rib and tailbone injuries coming down in heap against San Diego. Mostly, acquired from Minnesota and brought to the facility by police motorcade, was mostly listless, indifferent and downright strange as a Raider.
Davis reluctantly traded Moss to New England for a fourth-round draft pick at the behest of coach Lane Kiffin, and Moss caught 98 passes for 1,493 yards and 23 touchdowns.
8. Sebastian Janikowski’s 76-yard field goal attempt and its aftermath, Sept. 28, 2008
Kiffin, who entered into a Cold War of sorts with Davis in his first offseason as Raiders coach, let Janikowski line up for a 76-yard field goal attempt just before halftime that was essentially his middle finger out the door.
After a Raiders defeat against the Chargers, Kiffin was fired heading into the bye week, with Davis giving the media a memorable presentation with the help of an overhead projector. Davis fired Kiffin for “cause,’’ with one of his reasons being the reluctance of the coach to embrace Russell.
Davis said Russell would be great and for Kiffin to “get over it.’’
In the end, both men failed the players, putting their personal grudge above wins and losses.
9. Tony Siragusa’s belly flop on Rich Gannon, Jan. 14, 2001
Any chance the Raiders had against one of the NFL’s best defenses of all time ended when nose tackle Tony Siragusa made sure his 360-plus pounds was properly positioned to separate the shoulder of Gannon, leaving the Raiders’ offense in the hands of Bobby Hebert if they were to make the Super Bowl.
Correction: The quarterback was Bobby Hoying, of course . . . he actually threw a touchdown pass to Andre Rison that was called back on an offensive interference penalty.
10. Meltdown on Monday night, Sept. 8, 1997
Elvis Grbac threw a 33-yard touchdown pass to Andre Rison in the game’s final moments as the Raiders blew a 27-13 third quarter lead and fell 28-27 in what had been an electric night at the Coliseum.
Coach Joe Bugel was in such a state of shock he barricaded himself in his office and wouldn’t speak to the media. The Raiders never opened the locker room to the press, instead sending Albert Lewis out to speak for the team.
With this kind of internal constitution, it’s no wonder the Raiders went on to finish 4-12, leading Davis to hire Gruden.