Sunday, December 28, 2008

A Sunday Of Reckoning For Raider Rivals

"Every Dog Has His Day"
meaning: Even the lowest of us enjoys a moment of glory

Today was a day for Oakland Raider Fans to rejoice and be glad in the misery of rivalries past. For on this day the regular season ends and teams once thought destined for the promised land (aka
NFL playoffs) found their hopes and dreams dashed in the blink of a Sunday afternoon touchdown.

It just so happens that many of the teams leaking agony-of-defeat tears from their eyes this marvelous Sunday night are Raider hating rivals who finally got what they deserved. Someone give me a drum roll please while I list the "Crying Game" losers who choked on their early season success:

Topping our list of course is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (9-7). The team who stole Christmas by luring a young Raiders coach to Tampa, then returned the following season to upset the Raiders in "Gruden Bowl 2002." " Who's The Bi@tch Now?

Then there's the dynastic New England Patriots (11-5). The team who's playoff success and Brady lovefest began with referee Walt Coleman's "Tuck Rule" call in the infamous "Snow Bowl 2001" against the Raiders. Their unlucky end to another magical season is almost as good as seeing them lose to the NY G-men in SBXLII. Who's the Bi@tch Now?

Next up to Cry are the division rival Denver Broncos (8-8). The team whose coach has a personal vendetta against Raiders owner Al Davis for default of payment as Raiders head coach (1988-89). He enjoys nothing more than embarassing the Raiders any chance he gets. A Mile-High Meltdown sends them back to that mile high wintry wonderland of hell called Denver. Who's The Bi@tch Now?

We can't forget the New York Jets (9-7), who've been hating the Raiders since we beat them in the AFC Championship game of 67', then returned in 68' to defeat them in the infamous "Heidi Bowl" game before letting Broadway Joe off the hook to advance to SBIII. The Raiders shoulda been in back-to-back Super Bowls in the 60's. Who's The Bi@tch Now?

And shouldn't we include the Dallas Cowboys (9-7) on this crying list? The team who labeled themselves "America's Team" back in the 70's when the Raiders were the winningest team in the league. Many experts predicted Dallas would represent the NFC in this season's super bowl. Tonight the only thing the crying cowboys represent is "How To Marry A Millionaire" and lose. Who's The Bi@tch Now?

And just because a Chicago fan boisterously criticized my wearing of silver and black gear this year, and my continued commitment to the Raiders, I add Lovey Smith and a disappointing "Da Bears" (9-7) team to the Crying Game list. Da Bears were knocked out of Da Playoffs by the Houston Texans today. Just so happens the Raiders convincingly beat the Texans last weekend. Who's The Bi@tch Now?

So as the clock strikes twelve on NBC Sunday Night's game finale, where the Chargers just finished stomping the crying Broncos 52-21, let's recognize those teams who finished the season admirably and find themselves heading into the 2008 NFL Playoffs:

Tennessee Titans / Pittsburgh Steelers / Miami Dolphins San Diego Chargers
Indianapolis Colts / Baltimore Ravens

New York Giants / Carolina Panthers / Minnesota Vikings Arizona Cardinals
Atlanta Falcons / Philadelphia Eagles


Take that Jon "Chucky" Gruden!

Take that Monte "Lane's Pa" Kiffin!

The Oakland Raiders just defeated your 13-point favored Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the the last game of the regular season, knocking their pewter & red rumps out of the NFL playoff picture. And the Raiders have running back Michael Bush to thank for it.

Granted, Tom Cable had the Raiders offensive line working on all cylinders in pass protection and run blocking. And JaMarcus Russell quarterbacked his butt off. But it was #29 Michael Bush who stepped up and delivered the much needed ball control power running. With running backs Justin Fargas and Darren McFadden sidelined with injuries, Bush welcomed the load put on his shoulders and punished the Buccaneers defense for 177 yds and two touchdowns. A huge chunk of those yards came on a 67-yard burst in the fourth quarter that ended with Bush trundling into the end zone and stunning the Bucs and their fans.

The game most definitely turned on that play. Johnnie Lee Higgins, Chad Schilens and Zack Miller gave the Raiders a credible receiving corps for a change and JaMarcus delivered with two passing touchdowns.

The defense played well enough. They let Cadillac Williams slip away for more yards than they'd have liked, but contained the Bucs running game when it counted. The final sack on Bucs QB Jeff Garcia put the game to rest and gave Raiders coach Tom Cable his fourth win of the season as head coach.

Yes Raiders fans, we have much to look forward to come next season. And though Al Davis missed only his second Raiders road game since the 70's, I'm sure he liked what he saw on television as his Oakland Raiders triumphed over the Jon Gruden led Buccaneers.

It may not have been a super bowl win, but it was a glorious display of what the Silver and Black can accomplish with strong leadership and execution on the field.

Any Given Sunday!

Final Score
Raiders 31
Buccaneers 24

note: with the loss Tampa Bay was eliminated from playoff contention. With Dallas and Chicago losing, the Bucs would have secured the final playoff spot had they won. Oh well, see you next season Chucky!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Raiders Boot Texans Back To Houston

The Oakland Raiders. That proud franchise that once intimidated opponents with their rough and tumble style of play. Their fans have suffered through many a season of late with little to look forward to come each new season. If today's final home game for 2008 is any indication, maybe the dark cloud of seasons past is moving on and we're about to embark on those winning days of old.

In today's game against the streaking hot Houston Texans, the boys in Black returned to glory, showing pride and poise on their way to a 27-16 win. The Texans were on a four game winning streak which included wins over AFC top seeded Tennessee Titans, the tough hitting Jacksonville Jags and at Lambeau Field over the the Packers. The Raiders outplayed the Texans in all phases of the game today. The offense, with JaMarcus Russell courageously leading the way, consistently executed well. They had two long drives that ended in touchdowns and were 7 of 14 on 3rd down conversions. The defense looked terrible on the first Texans drive that went the length of the field for a touchdown. After that adjustments were made and the Defense stood tall the rest of the day, limiting Houston to three field-goals. The Coaching staff deserves a game ball.

Meanwhile, special teams did their part with a successfully executed on-side kick, some hard hits on Texans return men that kept them in check and an 86 yard punt return by the man of the day Johnnie-Lee Higgins. Johnnie-Lee also scored on a long pass from JaMarcus where he jumped high over the Texan defender in the end-zone and came down with the ball secured for a touchdown. I believe it was called the "Carlton Dance" which Johnnie-Lee executed to perfection in his end-zone celebration. His punt return ignited the Coliseum fans to a celebratory scream so high you'd thought it was a sell-out crowd. The silver and black clad fans were experiencing flashbacks to a time when the Raiders dominated opponents. A time not too long ago when legends were making plays for the Raiders.

Talk about poise. Two penalties for fourteen yards, one being a questionable call. Poise.

I'm not sure what the future holds for the Oakland Raiders Football Team, but if today's final home game was any indication, I foresee a team able to compete and win against some of the best teams in the league. A youth movement is underfoot in Oakland and it might only cost Al Davis some pride to allow it to grow into a winning franchise again.

Win, Lose or Tie

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Pacquiao Punches De La hoya Into Golden Years

The Golden Years Have Come At Last! When Manny Pacquiao Kicked My Azz!

This little refrain probably comes nearest to the truth as to why boxer Oscar De la Hoya should and will retire for good.

The Pride of the Philipines, Manny "Pac man" Pacquiao, completely annihilated former superstar Oscar De la Hoya at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas tonight with an 8th round TKO of the Olden Boy. I almost felt embarrassed for De la Hoya, who looked slow, old and overwhelmed by the tsunami of punches landing on his face and body at blazing speed.

Manny, WBC light-weight champion, said the plan from trainer Freddie Roach was to keep De la Hoya in the middle of the ring where he could limit the bigger man's power and take advantage with his own lightening quick speed. The game plan worked to perfection. Manny was landing punches to Oscar's face early and often in a display of boxing domination that made one wonder how the heck Oscar was favored to win this match.

I've never been an Oscar De la Hoya fan, he's always been too much of a poster boy for me. But I've cheered Pacquiao throughout his career from fly-weight to welter-weight and was never more proud of him than tonight. For once I agree with ring announcer Larry Merchant who stated that it wasn't just that Pacquiao beat De la Hoya, but it was how he beat him; using his footwork, speed, power punches and intelligence. Manny Pacquiao showed tonight why he is considered the best "Pound-For-Pound" boxer in the business today. Undisputed!

The only credit I give Oscar tonight is for his craftiness to avoid a knockout punch. That and his admittance that he lost to a better man in Manny Pacquaio tonight. Not many former champions will admit to such a thing in defeat.

Meanwhile, the announcers were busy comparing Manny to the great and legendary Henry Armstrong, who held titles in 3 different weight divisions back in the 30's. We should expect to see more history being made by Pacquiao since he's in his prime and can now write his own ticket in boxing. Pacman is truly a working man's champion who restores Boxing back to a day when a fighter went toe to toe regardless of the strength and size of his opponent. Courage and Honor is what champions were made of then, not glitter and gold.

Congratulations Manny Pacquiao, a new style of Legendary Boxing Champion!