Pride in your organization is a precious commodity in the NFL.
If you've got it, odds are you're successful. You represent the benchmark that all of the bottom feeders in the NFL only wish they could attain.
Ages ago, when the league preached toughness and a win-at-all-cost mentality, that team was the Oakland Raiders.
The Raiders were a team that personified smash-mouth football, with such luminaries as Jack Tatum and George Atkinson anchoring their defense during the glory years of the 1970s.
Those players were able to pass on the wave of success to people like Howie Long and Marcus Allen.
Sure the Raiders had an owner who looked like a crypt keeper and loved to thumb his nose at the establishment, even going so far as to testify against the NFL in an anti-trust suit brought against it by the USFL.
But they still won consistently, and going into the the Oakland Coliseum was like going into Death Valley, as the stadium always looked like it was swarmed by rogue pirates ready to pounce on the opposition.
But when Al Davis let Jon Gruden get away, it was the start of a organizational free-fall.
In recent years, the Raiders have been blown out in a Super Bowl, hired a coach that was too young for the job, and have even had coaches come to blows during a practice, in which one coach suffered a broken jaw.
In short, the Raiders have become the laughingstock of the NFL.
The pitiful Raiders offense was no match for the No. 1 defense in the NFL, and it showed.
So for Tom Cable and his dysfunctional team, it's back to the drawing board yet again.
Forget trying to save the season and work on salvaging what little reputation you have left.
How could such a proud and successful organization become such a sorry one in a relatively short time?
Sad, just sad.
In other NFL action:
- It's time for the NFL to start taking the Broncos seriously. Their 5-0 record is indicative of a confidence that was severely lacking at the end of last year. To overcome a 10-point deficit and hold the Patriots scoreless in the second half is quite an accomplishment.
- I've read many complaints on various Patriots message boards from angry fans who want the overtime system overhauled to reflect that of the college game. I say leave it as is. Winning the coin toss is an advantage, and it's up to you to take advantage of the opportunity you've been given to score. If we go to the college format, you will see games that will last forever, especially with two good offensive teams. The games are long enough already. This isn't peewee football where everyone gets a chance. Stop the offense or lose, it's that simple.
- Most people dread the onset of old age on the 40th birthday, but most people aren't Brett Favre, who looked like he was playing a child's game in throwing for 232 yards and a touchdown to beat the Rams. He just continues to make quarterbacking look so effortless and easy, even at an advanced age.
- The Bengals have won three straight games by less than three points as they continue to prove they can get it done in the clutch.
- The Ravens have got to cut down on the late penalties in close games. An illegal contact penalty against Chris Carr on the Bengals final drive may have cost them a win.
- Mike Singletary has been just what the doctor ordered in San Francisco, for he's calm but authoritative, and he doesn't take any crap evident by the shouting match he got into with former Niner Harvey Dahl when Dahl taunted him from the Falcon bench during Atlanta blowout win. I admire him for sticking up for his team even when they lost any momentum they have gained from their strong start.
- Peyton Manning joined Steve Young and Kurt Warner as the only QBs to ever throw for 300 yards in the first five games of a season in Sunday's win over the Titans. In the process the Colts won their 14th-straight regular season game and Manning passed Fran Tarkenton for third on the all-time touchdown passes list. That's quite a night of milestones for a guy to remain humble about.
- This week's issue of the Sporting News named Pittsburgh the best sports city in America for their recent string of championships and loyal fanbase. The reputation of the fans was justified, even on the road as several Steelers fans' loud cheers and towel waving inspired the defense to hold on the final drive of the game and avoid disaster against the Lions.
- While Jake Delhomme may have thrown his eighth interception of the year on Sunday, all that matters is the Panthers finally won a game.
- Kudos to Cowboys WR Miles Austin. Hiscareer day allowed Dallas to escape potential snickers on the way out of Kansas City with a win.
- It was a happy day all around for the Eagles. Donovan McNabb showed no ill effects from his cracked rib, Michael Vick completed his first pass in 33 months, and the team itself mauled the Bucs.
- Only a team as hapless as the Browns would find beauty in an ugly 6-3 victory over a equally lowly team like the Bills.
- The Cardinal defense was shredded by Matt Schaub for most of the game, but came through when it mattered with a big interception return for a touchdown by Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie to seal the win.
- Seahawks QB Matt Hasselbeck, like McNabb, showed no ill effects from his broken ribs as he threw for four touchdowns in a rout over the Jaguars.
- Just when you thought the Dolphins would never use the wildcat formation again, they found it to be the perfect remedy to stymie the Jets defense. No wonder why Tony Sporano was jumping up and down the sidelines when it worked to perfection.
- So what did we learn this week? I guess we can say that the Raiders are awful, Miles Austin is better than most people think, and that cracked ribs, while painful, can help you become a better player once you're recovered. I can only imagine what next week will bring.