When you've lost more games than even the Detroit Lions, losing transcends into an art form.
The Oakland Raiders have become the Picassos of losing football games and have done it in such a way that whenever they have a lead, the question isn't will they blow it, but how?
On Sunday, the Raiders nearly lost a game in a completely new fashion—which really is an accomplishment for them.
Leading the New York Jets by three with New York attempting a field goal, Raiders Interim Head Coach Tom Cable pulled the ole freeze the kicker trick.
Pretty much every team tries it, but Cable, who is after all an interim coach, waited just a bit long to call it. The kick was already in the air and the only thing worse than the timeout not counting, is that it did count. That’s because the kick failed and the Raiders would have won.
However, the timeout was called, and the kick did not count. Of course, the Jets had another attempt and the kick was good and the two teams were going to overtime.
First of all, how bad do you have to be as a coach to only be considered interim of the Raiders? Or perhaps Cable demanded the interim title, because he might lose some respect as the definite head coach responsible for them.
The opposite happened to the Raiders last season when Sebastian Janikowski made a game tying field goal against the Denver Broncos, but Head Coach Mike Shanahan called timeout before the kick. Of course, being the Raiders, the second kick failed and they lost the game. So had Oakland lost this one, it would have been a brand new way of losing.
After the game-tying field goal, I felt Al Davis would rise from the owner’s box and say his fans, with a maniacal laugh, “And you thought you were going to win.”
Since the Jets didn’t get to wear their ugly 1960 New York Titans uniforms last week, they should have expected a tough day. Then again, they might have thought, “We’re playing the Raiders. We don’t need the luck of the uniforms today.” Maybe they should consider writing the league office for permission to wear them every game.
Both of these teams played like freshman redshirts the entire game. Neither team could take control because both teams, quite frankly, were awful. The Jets were a little more awful with some bad turnovers, but not do be outdone, Raiders quarterback JaMarcus Russell literally dropped the ball out of his hand.
It was getting to the point where the Raiders gameplan should have just been punting every single first down. Don’t risk losing yardage. Don’t risk a turnover. In fact, on their game winning field goal, they lost yardage and had they simply gone for the field goal on first down, it would have been shorter.
With the way these teams were playing, it seemed that the only way the game wouldn’t end in a tie is if one of them made another mistake. And not just a simple turnover, because odds were that if a team did make a mistake, the other one would not be able to capitalize on it.
I then foresaw the ultimate way for the Raiders to lose the game. Janikowski would line up for a field goal, and it would get blocked and returned for a touchdown by the Jets. That would be another new one for Oakland.
For Brett Favre, it seemed that he might be playing poor on purpose just so he could get the Raiders’ fans hopes up, and then deliver a miracle come back drive. Since he blew them out the last time he was in Oakland, he might have wanted to beat them a different way. Maybe Favre needed to have a relative to die again to win in Oakland.
Meanwhile, it was discovered that Favre pulled a Bill Belichick a few weeks ago by attempting to cheat the game and then claim, “There’s nothing wrong with that.”
Favre allegedly contacted former Lions GM Matt Millen to expose secrets of his former Green Bay Packers teammates. Of course, the difference with Belichick and Favre is that Belichick’s cheating resulted in winning, as opposed to Millen, who word has it, will be a participant in next season’s, “Celebrity Weight Loss.”
If this is true, then Favre might be the most bitter old man since the “Grumpy Old Men” films. To have a grudge against the team that rescued him from Atlanta, and where he is still a legend, just shows how insecure he is. Maybe if he spent more time in his own playbook rather than on his cell phone, the Jets would have beaten the Raiders.