What, a blown call? Raiders fans can relate

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What, a blown call? Raiders fans can relate

Forgive the denizens of Raider Nation if they give a collective sigh and a hearty "so what" to the recent botched ending of Monday Night Football by the replacement referees.What, a team as celebrated and as venerated as the Green Bay Packers got hosed by an egregious call that cost them a game? Welcome to our world, was being shouted from the mountain tops of Silver and Blackdom.REWIND: NFL releases statement on Packers-Seahawks blown call
Hey, it's not paranoia if they're out to get you, right? At least, that's how the saying goes. And it got me to thinking of calls that have have gone against the Raiders. No, not the ham-and-egger numbers like San Diego's Vincent Jackson rolling the ball forward and it being called an illegal forward pass in 2006. Or the Louis Murphy touchdown catch that wasn't in 2009, against those same Chargers.We're talking all-time greats that altered the course of pro football history and have Raiders fans thinking they should have at least five more Lombardi Trophies. So without further adoThe Otis Taylor One-Foot-Inbounds Catch
It's Jan. 4, 1970, the last AFL game ever played. The Raiders are playing host to Kansas City at the Coliseum and the winner would go on to face Minnesota in Super Bowl IV.The Raiders had already played in Super Bowl II, lost the AFL title to Joe Namath a year later and on this day were locked in a 7-7 game early in the second half, with the Chiefs at their own two-yard line facing a daunting third-and-14. But Chiefs quarterback Len Dawson spied Otis Taylor down the left sideline, just beyond Raiders cornerback Willie Brown, and hurled it.Taylor made a remarkable one-handed catch for a 35-yard gain, even if he only had one foot inbounds. Which would be fine in college but not in pro ball. The Chiefs would continue their drive and score what would prove to be the winning touchdown in an eventual 17-7 victory before going on to throttle the Vikings in the last Super Bowl played before the AFL-NFL merger.The Immaculate Reception
It's Dec. 23, 1972, the divisional round of the AFC playoffs and Ken Stabler had scored on a 30-yard run with 77 seconds to play at Three Rivers Stadium to give the Raiders a 7-3 lead.And with the Steelers looking at a fourth-and-10 from their own 40 with 22 seconds to play, what happened next will be debated until the end of time.Terry Bradshaw heaved a pass downfield toward Frenchy Fuqua but Jack Tatum arrived just as the ball did, resulting in a violent collision. The ball popped up and back, where an onrushing Franco Harris plucked it out of the air -- or did it hit the turf first? -- and rumbled in for the game-winning score.The question, though, was off which player did the ball ricochet? If it was Fuqua, then Harris' catch would have been illegal. If it bounded off Tatum, then the play was clean.There was a lengthy discussion as to whether the play was a TD or not and the refs called the supervisor of NFL officiating from a dugout phone to confer. There were also tales of the refs calling the police department to ask if there was enough protection from Steelers fans if they ruled it an incompletion. Shockingly (add sarcasm font here) It was ruled a touchdown and the Steelers had their first-ever playoff victory. They would go on and lose the AFC championship to undefeated Miami but Pittsburgh would go on to win four Super Bowls in the decade.The Rob Lytle Fumble
It's Jan. 1, 1978 and the defending Super Bowl champion Raiders are in the AFC title game at division rival Denver. The Broncos already lead 7-3 and have a first-and-goal at the two-yard line midway though the third quarter.Broncos running back Rob Lytle dives into the pile and is stopped midair by Jack Tatum and the ball pops out. Mike McCoy scoops it up and is gone, 10-7, Raiders, right?Um, no. Lytle was ruled to have been down, that his forward progress had been stopped, before the ball squirted free, despite replays showing that not to be the case. The Broncos go on to score and hold on to win, 20-17, before getting pummeled in Super Bowl XII by the Dallas Cowboys.The Siragusa Flop
It's Jan. 14, 2001, early in the second quarter of the AFC championship game at the Coliseum, and Baltimore had just taken a 7-0 lead on a 96-yard pass play from Trent Dilfer to Shannon Sharpe. And on the Raiders' ensuing play, Rich Gannon throws an incompletion to James Jett and 330-pound (on a light day) nose tackle Tony Siragusa tosses Rich Gannon to the ground before coming off the figurative top rope with a literal body splash that would make Vince McMahon smile. Both literally and figuratively.No flag is thrown.Instead, Gannon writhes on the ground and is knocked out of the game for the rest of the half. In comes Bobby Hoying ,who promptly throws an interception that leads to a Ravens field goal. Gannon makes a game effort to return in the second half but is obviously in pain still and struggling and replaced again by Hoying. Ballgame.The Ravens, with a defense reminiscent of the 1985 Bears, go on to beat the New York Giants in Super Bowl XXXV and the Raiders, who go ultra-conservative with Hoying under center, are left to ruminate another missed call. Until the mother of all hose jobs goes down in the New England snow a year and five days later.The Tuck Rule
It's Jan. 19, 2002, the final game at Foxboro Stadium and it's a winter wonderland for this AFC divisional playoff game, being played in a blizzard.The Raiders are clinging to a 13-10 lead with 1:50 to play and New England is at the Raiders' 42-yard line on first-and-10 when Tom Brady drops back to pass. Charles Woodson comes in on a corner blitz, hammers Brady, the ball pops loose, Greg Biekert recovers and the Raiders are headed to their second straight AFC title game.Then, it happens. Because the play occurred with less than two minutes remaining, it was automatically reviewed by the Review Assistant and the Tuck Rule is invoked, despite there being no clearcut evidence to overturn the original ruling on the field of fumble. The Patriots retain possession, drive to the Oakland 28-yard line and Adam Vinatieri boots a 45-yard field goal through the snowflakes to tie the game with 27 seconds left in regulation.The Raiders sit on the ball on their ensuing possession and never see the ball again. The Patriots win the toss, drive to the Raiders' five-yard line and Vinatieri's 23-yard field goal not only ends the game, but jumpstarts New England's dynasty of the new millennium. Helped, of course, by the Tuck Rule and SpyGate. But that's a different topic for a different day.From the Raiders' perspective, the Tuck Rule Game was Gruden's last as Raiders coach as Oakland would not see him until a year later in Super Bowl XXXVII, when Gruden's Tampa Bay Buccaneers walloped the Raiders, 48-21, and Oakland has not been back to the playoffs since.

Raiders finalize five-year contract extension with Derek Carr

Raiders finalize five-year contract extension with Derek Carr

Derek Carr is now the NFL's highest paid player. The Raiders quarterback agreed on terms of a five-year, $125 million contract extension a source confirmed on Thursday morning, keeping the franchise's public face in silver and black through the 2022 season. 

Carr confirmed the agreement on Twitter early Thursday. 

"Now it's done!" Carr wrote. "From the jump I've wanted to be a Raider 4 life. One step closer to that! Blessed!!! Business done! Let's just play now!!!"

Carr was set to make a $977,515 base salary in 2017, the final year of his rookie contract. Carr's raise is significant, and underscores his value to the franchise. Carr's $125 million extension includes $70 million in guaranteed money and $40 million fully guaranteed at signing -- the portion not fully guaranteed is guaranteed for injury -- a source said. The deal features $25 million in the first year -- there's a $12.5 million signing bonus -- with $67.5 million over the first three years, according to ESPN's Dan Graziano.  

Carr's deal resets the quarterback market -- Matthew Stafford may do so again soon -- with an annual value above Andrew Luck's previous record extension. The Colts quarterback signed a five-year, $122.9 million extension last year, which Carr has now exceeded. 

The complete contract structure is not yet known, but a somewhat delayed payout plan is expected due to two key factors. The largest is Carr's desire to see other star Raiders receive extensions, and his deal gives the team some flexibility to keep important players in house. The Raiders will also move to Las Vegas by 2020 at the latest, where there is no state tax. California residents max out at a 13.3-percent tax rate, meaning his money will be worth more later in the deal.  

The 26-year old's ultimate goal was to maximize earnings without handcuffing the organization, and that's setting up well. His deal will help the Raiders that regard, though the team has also budgeted to extend several members of their young core. They have financial flexibility in future seasons and upfront salary cap space, though productive drafts are required to remain competitive as the cash gets gobbled by Carr and others in coming years.

The Raiders were always confident the Carr extension would get done this offseason, and the deal was finalized well before the quarterback's self-imposed training camp deadline. Carr's camp had discussed parameters of an extension months ago, but talks heated up in the last few weeks and ended up with an agreement that locks Carr down. 

The Raiders also hope to extend two more members of a star-studded 2014 draft class. Right guard Gabe Jackson is next in line, and could get a new deal this offseason and edge rusher Khalil Mack will get a massive contract at some point in the near future. Jackson's entering a contract year, but the team exercised a fifth-year option that creates more time to get a Mack deal done. Amari Cooper has some time under his rookie deal -- it could last through the 2019 season -- but the Raiders want to pair him with Carr for several seasons. 

Carr, Raiders both win with soon-to-be mega-deal done at right time

Carr, Raiders both win with soon-to-be mega-deal done at right time

If Derek Carr gets his $25 million deal from the Oakland Raiders and becomes the richest quarterback in National Football League history, the Raiders will have gotten a bargain.
 
Unless he gets hurt.
 
Or unless he turns lousy.
 
Or unless the NFL’s defensive coordinators decipher a way to strip him of his powers and render him McCown-tastic.
 
Or unless football happens in a hundred other ways, because of all the sports ever devised by wealthy man to amuse sedentary man, football taught cruelty to the landmine discus.
 
But the same can be said for any football player at any salary. Carr, on the other hand, is a qualified practitioner at a sport that has very few of them – maybe 10 if you’re looking at football, 119 if you’re trying to tot up all the quarterbacks who got contracts so Colin Kaepernick couldn’t.
 
That means he is a rare commodity, and the Raiders did the right thing by tying him up. The alternative, you see, is Kirk Cousins and the Washington Supreme Court-Mandated Native-American Heads.
 
Cousins was not signed when the Washingtons could have gotten him at a high but still reasonable rate, and now he is one year away from being franchised a third time at the hilarious figure of $34.47 million per year.
 
The lesson is clear. Nothing pays like procrastination, and by waiting to give Cousins what they knew they’d have to give him eventually for choosing him over Robert Griffin III, the Battling Snyders will pay through both nostrils, ears, eye sockets and mouth to keep him.
 
By signing Carr now, the Raiders have as much cost certainty as they can have at the position, and all they have to do now is (a) keep him stocked with supporting players and (b) keep him safe from opposing ones.
 
This isn’t easy, of course; most quarterbacks eventually end up in a fiery crash in Turn Two, and their ability to escape the mangled wreckage is the only thing keeping them from becoming part of the mangled wreckage.
 
So yeah, luck. Lots of luck.
 
On the other hand, the Raiders could have guaranteed that they would have had to overpay by a factor of 1.5 or maybe more by not signing him now, or they could have saved millions more by losing him entirely, which would have been just the gift for the discerning Las Vegas ticket holder who wanted an excuse not to buy tickets.
 
Essentially, Carr played the system brilliantly, and good for him since under most circumstances the system plays the players. Football players have a short enough career, and a shorter than average quality of life, so the rule of thumb should always be getting everything available and as much guaranteed as possible.
 
In fact, were I Derek Carr, I’d ask for ALL the money to be guaranteed just to set a standard for those who come behind me.
 
But if he’s happy – and let’s wait to see how much of this deal is actually guaranteed and how much is placed on a rug that will be pulled out from beneath him – and the Raiders are happy – and why wouldn’t they be? – then there’s nobody to complain, now, is there?
 
Now the Raiders of old would have screwed this up, and somehow Carr would have done so as well. But this team hasn’t done anything regally boneheaded since . . . well, trying to go to Los Angeles . . . or maybe hiring Dennis Allen . . . or . . . 
 
Oh, never mind. The point is, Carr was done at the right time, at the right number, for the right reasons, and both sides should be delighted.
 
And in nine or twelve or seventeen days when Matthew Stafford gets a deal that makes him a dollar more than Derek Carr . . . well, we’ll let the amateur accountants who think NFL contracts define players sort out that level of idiocy.