Oakland Raiders Cheating and Being Cheated: Ten Controversial Games
Many people would call Raider fans paranoid zebra-hating whiners.
This is due to the fact that we are always citing instances where we feel we were cheated out of a win or due to the fact that the Raiders have consistantly led the league in penalties over the years.
Some non-Raider fans would claim the Raiders are just plain cheaters, citing things like dirty play, the Holy Roller, and the use of stickum.
But I would say there may be some truth to both sides.
Heres my top ten list of the Raiders either cheating or being cheated.
Week 7 2006 Cards at Raiders
The Cardinals start a drive at the 20 after a touchback. On first down Leinart is sacked for a 10-yard loss by Derrick Burgess.
On the following play, he is sacked again by Raider DB Tyrone Pool for another 10-yard loss at the goal line for what appears to be a safety.
He is ruled down just outside the goal line and Art Shell challenges the play. Video shows Leinart leaning back at the point of contact with the ball breaking the plane of the goal line, but apparently NFL refs don't get eye care in their benefit plan. The play stands.
Funny side note: the Raiders went on to win this game and one other that season against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Icing the Kicker
Week 2 Sebastian Janokowski kicks a game winning field goal to defeat the Denver Broncos in overtime.
Or so it would seem, but a fraction of a second before the snap Mike Shanahan calls a time-out negating the FG.
On a second attempt, Janokowski misses the field goal and the Broncos go on to win the game.
Week three Raiders vs Browns
Late in the fourth quarter, the Raiders were facing a possible game-winning kick by the Browns. On said kick the snap is good and the ball splits the uprights.
But wait! You guessed it. This time the Raiders called a timeout just before the snap of the ball.
On the ensuing attempt the kick is blocked by the Raiders, who sit on the ball and come away with the win running out the clock.
Week 12 2006 vs Chargers
The Raiders are leading the Chargers 14-7 in the 4th quarter.
On 4th and 2, the Charger QB hits Vincent Jackson falling to the ground on a slant route to pick up the 1st down. The WR proceeds to get up spinning the ball forward in celebration.
Problem was, in the NFL, WRs need to be down by contact. The ball was recovered by Fabian Washington. The play was first ruled a fumble then changed to an illegal forward pass by Jackson who was penalized 5 yards.
Chargers go on to win the game.
2006 Week 10 vs Broncos
The Oakland Raiders are trailing the Denver Broncos 14-13 with less than five minutes left in the game.
The Broncos have the ball and are driving down the field until Jake Plummer is intercepted by Raider corner Fabian Washington, who clearly comes down with full possesion and both feet in bounds.
That is unless you are a blind zebra.
Despite undisputable video evidence and even divots where Fabians cleats came down the refs rule him out of bounds.
1969 AFL Championship vs Chiefs
The Chiefs were facing 3rd and long from their own 2-yard line. Lenny Dawson somehow manages to get the ball downfield to Otis Taylor who makes an amazing one-handed catch with one foot in bounds and the play nets 33 yards.
Chiefs go on to win the game.
Wait this isn't college you need two feet in bounds. I guess the refs missed that one.
1976 AFC playoffs vs Patriots
A much forgotten smash mouth football matchup between the Raiders and Patriots.
The game was filled with countless no-call penalties, dirty play and cheap shots including one where Raider George Atkinson breaks the nose of Russ Francis with a blow to the facemask.
By most accounts, the majority of the "dirty play" and no call penalties were committed by the Raiders.
In a prior regular season matchup between the two teams, the Raiders suffered the season's only blemish in a 48-17 beating by the Patriots. The Raiders finished the season 13-1.
Trailing by 21-17 deep in the fourth quarter, the Raiders marched down the field into Patriot territory, eventually facing a 3rd and 18 from the Patriot 28 yard line.
On the ensuing play Raider QB Ken Stabler is met by Patriot nose-tackle Raymond Hamilton. Stabler manages to get rid of the ball as he is being taken down.
All hope seems lost for the Raiders, now facing 4th and 18 down four points.
Then a late flag is thrown for a roughing the passer penalty on Hamilton. And instead of 4th and 18 from the 28 it is now first and 10 from the 13.
Five plays later, the Raiders score on a 1 yard run by Stabler with less than 10 seconds in the game. The Raiders win 24-21 and go on to beat the Steelers in the AFC championship and then the Vikings in the Super Bowl.
After the game, Hamilton swore that there was no penalty and even Stabler admits he doesn't feel he was roughed.
Some would even argue that incomplete pass on third and 18 was a fumble and was ironically similar to the "Tuck Rule"
2002 playoffs Raiders vs Patriots
I am sure everyone knows the story and the arguments for and against it.
13-10 Raiders, Patriots driving. Brady drops back, Woodson blitzes and hits him as he's throwing...or was he.
Video shows the ball making contact with his left hand before dropping it. And what about intenional grounding?
I don't know, regardless it was a matter of interpretation of the rules.
Here's link to a video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q-bsUB8Mn4U&feature=related
Patriots went on to kick a game-tying FG then a game winner in OT.
Some would call this payback or karma for that 1976 game.
Lytle Fumble 1978 AFC championship vs Broncos
Raiders trailing rival Broncos 7-3. The Broncos had the ball and managed a 1st and goal from the 2.
On the following play, Denver running back Ron Lytle was met at the line of scrimmage by hard-hitting safety Jack Tatum who knocks the ball loose. The ball is then picked up and returned for a TD by Raider defender Mike McCoy.
After a lenghty discussion the play was ruled a non-fumble. Broncos go on to win 20-17.
This game is arguably the game that led to instant replay coming to the NFL. And after the game Lytle is quoted saying, "Sure I fumbled."
Holy Roller 1978 vs Chargers
Raiders are trailing the rival Chargers 14-20 with seconds left in the ball game.
Ken "the Snake" Stabler drops back, avoids defenders, and is nearly sacked around the 25 but fortunately fumbles.
The ball is nearly recovered by Raider running back Pete Benaszak who can't seem to get a handle on the ball, only knocking it further down field.
Next Dave Casper tries to recover the ball bobbling and "accidently" kicking it a few times towards the goal line. Casper eventually is able to get a hold on the ball recovering it in the end-zone.
The issues with the play are obvious: First Stabler arguably fumbled on purpose to avoid a sack that would end the game.
Next Benaszak, it would appear, didn't actually even try to recover the ball he just threw it towards the end-zone which would be an illegal forward pass.
Then Casper arguably bobbled and kicked the ball purposely towards the end-zone only to recover it once it crossed the plane.
You be the judge. Were the Raiders big fat cheaters or just lucky?
Here's the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kNMy6FV10VM
Immaculate Deception (or Reception for Steeler fans)
1972 AFC divsional playoffs.
One of the most famous games of all-time as well as NFL Films' greatest play of all time.
The Raiders lead the Steelers 7-6 late into the fourth quarter. Steeler QB Terry Bradshaw drops back on a 4th and 10 from his own 40, miraculously avoiding Raider defenders in the backfield.
He heaves the ball downfield toward FB John Fuqua, who at the time wasn't even looking for the ball. Fuqua is instantly leveled by Raider safety Jack Tatum.
The ball flies backwards and is seemingly caught by Steeler RB Franco Harris who scores the game-winning TD.
At first it is not ruled a TD, not until after a lengthy discussion where the officials phone Art Mcnally, current Supervisor of NFL officiating. They eventually all concur it was a TD.
There are a few issues with the play. First, Fuqua didn't even see the ball coming. Had Tatum just let him be it would have hit him and fallen incomplete.
Then there's the debate whether it bounced off of Tatum or Fuqua. Under the NFL rules of the time, had it bounced of Fuqua not Tatum it would have been incomplete whetherHariis caught it or not.
The next issue is whether or not Harris actually caught it as, in some views, he is out of camera shot and no cameras are low enough to determine whether it hit the ground.
The final issue has to do with the excessively "lengthy discussion" before finally ruling it a TD. Unconfirmable accounts claim the officials not only phoned Art McNally but also the Police Department asking if they would have protection from rabid Steeler fans.
Alledgedly after being informed there were few on duty deputys in the area, the refs ruled it a touchdown
Heres a link to the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=07zsdF0ysP0