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Guest Writer: Pat Angerer

Method Behind the Madness

 

Al Davis runs the Raiders like we run our Madden teams. We don’t pay attention to stats like “toughness” or “route running,” we only care about the fastest, quickest players with the best hit power ratings.

 

Just like Al. Except while he’s doing it in real life with real people, we’re playing a video game that makes Reggie Bush look like an All-Pro. And yet, somehow, he’s enshrined forever in the Hall of Fame.

 

When Davis got his first and only head coaching gig in 1963, he was considered one of the more inventive and effective coaches of his time. Seriously, its true. He may have only coached “Da Raiduhs” for three years, but he finished with a record of 23-16-3 (yeah Donovan, ties even existed  in the 60’s) and a very respectable .590 win percentage, in a time when the regular season was only 14 games long.  He was even UPI’s Coach of the Year for the AFL in 1963 (seven years before the merger).

 

After he resigned from his position as head coach and a brief stint as the AFL commissioner, he became the Raiders’ general manager and the Al Davis we know now–the sunglasses-wearing Brooklynite who battles every word that ends with the letter “R” and looks like the Crypt Keeper.

Davis secured his position as a the savior of the Raiders’ franchise after spending three years with Sid Gillman’s San Diego Chargers (there’s a point to all this, I swear), revitalizing a team that, well, sucked. In the franchise’s first three years, from 1960 to 1962, Oakland had a record of 9-23 and three different head coaches. They were last in total offense in 1961 and 1962, but suddenly jumped to third in total offense and second in points scored in 1963.

What was Davis’ secret? How did he get an anemic offense to perform like San Diego’s offensive juggernaut only one year later? Simple: the Raiders got tougher, and Davis copied Gillman’s offense predicated on throwing the deep ball.

Yup, for over 50 years, Al Davis has been building his Raiders’ teams around the deep passing game, and it worked–mostly. In 1963, the Raiders were first in passing touchdowns, fourth in passing yards, first in yards per completion with an obscene 17.7 Y/C, and dead last in completion percentage (you gotta sacrifice something when you only throw Hail Mary’s). Davis took Gillman’s scheme–the original West Coast offense–and tweaked it to create a new Raiders offense.  The Raiders finally had a plan to move the ball down the field and score touchdowns.

The West Coast offense was innovative; routes became based on timing, receivers really started to stretch the field and coaches created mismatches with their receivers (previously, coaches just lined up receivers against the defensive backs and let the best man win). Davis saw results immediately, as his quarterbacks threw for more yards, Art Powell shined as the primary deep threat, and Jim Otto anchored an offensive line that developed a reputation as both tough and nasty.

The only problem was that teams were starting to figure out Davis’ vertical passing game (well that, and the Raiders had Tom Flores at quarterback. Having Tom Flores was slightly worse than not actually having a quarterback). Without the same offensive weapons as Gillman’s Chargers, his offensive started to sink in the AFL rankings, dropping to last in total passing yards in Davis’ last season as head coach.

When Davis returned as Raiders’ general manager, he acquired the Bills’ backup quarterback Daryle Lamonica. Davis gave Lamonica his first chance as a starting quarterback, and Lamonica was precisely what Davis was looking for. In his first year, Lamonica piloted arguably the AFL’s top passing offense to an AFL Championship game victory and a Super Bowl berth, where the Raiders were manhandled by Lombardi’s Packers (it’s Lombardi. Cut the Raiders some slack).

The 1967 season was the start of a legitimate franchise for Davis’ Raiders, with the acquisition of Hall of Famers Gene Upshaw and Willie Brown, and breakout seasons for Hall of Famer Fred Biletnikoff and Lamonica, or as he was known by the Raiders faithful,  “The Mad Bomber” (and deservedly so. Lamonica would throw the deep ball regardless of whether or not his receivers were open, and Al was ok with that).

Mad Bomber would not lead to Oakland to its first Super Bowl title however, as he would give up the starting job to Davis’ new golden boy: Ken “the Snake” Stabler (Come on. His nickname was The Snake! OF COURSE he was Al Davis’ starting quarterback).

**TANGENT** Lamonica had a bit of a problem. He couldn’t really read a zone defense, but that didn’t stop him from carelessly throwing the ball over the middle of the field. That would be like if I was driving, and came up to a red light at an intersection, but instead of stopping, I said “F*** THIS, I’m going anyway.” Eventually, Davis and coach John Madden got tired of every other pass getting intercepted, and benched him for Stabler.  **END TANGENT**

Snake led the Raiders to their first ever Super Bowl victory in his fourth and best statistical year, flanked by Biletnikoff, the tough-as-nails possession receiver, tight end Dave “Ghost” Casper, Stabler’s safety blanket, and Hall of Fame snub Cliff Branch, who’s one of the fastest deep threats of all time. It also helps to be protected by Hall of Fame offensive lineman Art Shell and Gene Upshaw.

That team was like heroin to Davis. He tried to copy its success for the next 35 years, trying to find players with similar skill sets. It makes the selections of Darrius Heyward-Bey, Jamarcus Russell, Jacoby Ford, Robert Gallery and countless other “workout warriors” make sense though. Er, well, make slightly more sense than they did before.

Davis won with strong, violent offensive lines, athletic defensive backs, lightning-fast wide receivers (who could actually catch the ball, though) and strong-armed quarterbacks who could make all the throws. But they were successful 30 years ago. He’s stuck thinking athletic skills are the be-all and end-all of coaching, while ignoring the intangibles of Shell, Upshaw, Stabler, Biletnikoff and Hendricks that made a group of individual Hall of Famers gel into a team.

Davis focuses so heavily on athleticism that he creates teams solely up on the idea that wide receivers with 4.3 40s win games and offensive lineman have to have a 34” vertical leap. He collects super-athletes, not football players.

He also collects his fair share of characters. But somehow, he made it work. He took the sociopathy of Jack “The Assassin” Tatum (he hit a Patriots’ receiver so hard he broke his neck. When you paralyze another human being during a football game, you limit your nickname options), the womanizing and hard-partying ways of Stabler, the bizarreness of Ted Hendricks and the rampant steroid abuse and ‘roid rage by Lyle Alzado and molded whatever the hell that is into a championship team.

*TANGENT* Lyle Alzado and Bill Romanowski are two of the most recognizable bullies in football history. What do they have in common? Steroids. Which is funny, because the two Raiders who acted like they had huge balls definitely had tiny steroid balls. *END TANGENT*

But that’s why it’s so fitting that Davis’ birthday is on July 4th. His teams represent what we love most about football: the breakaway runs, the bone-crushing hits and Hail Mary’s. You can’t have that with a bunch of slow, unathletic guys from Swarthmore. He helped turn modern football into the most popular sport in America, and made boring, run-laden offenses into high-powered, aggressive schemes.

Yeah, his drafts and team philosophies have become a punchline of sorts, but he’s not a bungling Matt Millen-type. He’s just a guy living in the “good ol‘ days”, where having the fastest guy on the field meant a whole lot more than it did today. But football evolved. Now, being a “football player” is just as important as how fast you can run and how high you can jump.

Eventually, all the athleticism and talent will come together for the Raiders, but until then, we should sit back and enjoy watching the fastest 300 lb. Davis could find. Happy birthday Al, I hope you finally get the present I’m sure you wish for every year: a 6-4, 235 lb. wide receiver who runs a 4.2 40, can bench press 39 reps, and can throw a perfect spiral 65 yards.

Who Is the Worst Human Being in Sports?

We are in the midst of one of the most interesting NBA Finals in recent history. The main reason for this is Lebron James. Love him or hate him, Lebron is one of the most polarizing figures in sports ever. And by love him or hate him, I mean probably hate him. What Lebron did to the city of Cleveland in “The Decision” and the ensuing after-party was despicable to say the least. While Lebron is surely the most hated athlete in all of American, is he actually the worst human being in sports? I am going to compare his actions to four of the other worst people in American sports, and see if he really deserves to be the most hated person in sports.

Lebron James

The Decision, the celebration in Miami before the season started, leaving his home city, quitting on his team in the playoffs. Lebron has done a lot of things in the past year to make people turn against him.

Marvin Harrison

When you think about NFL wideouts, Harrison has the reputation of being quiet and professional, especially compared to the likes of Terrell Owens, Randy Moss, Chad Ocho-Johnson and other receivers. What people often choose to ignore is the fact that MARVIN HARRISON MURDERED SOMEONE (probably). Seriously, how does an NFL superstar get away with that. The abridged version of the story is that a guy got shot at in Philly, and swore it was Marvin Harrison shooting at him. He recorded the story for an interview with ESPN, but before the interview even aired, HE GOT MURKED.  Seriously, how do more people have a bigger problem with Chad Ochocinco sending gift baskets with mustard to the Steelers (because they can’t catch-up) (lol) than MARVIN HARRISON SHOOTING SOMEONE. While this isn’t “proven” and we really don’t know if it was actually him, how was this not a bigger story? And that’s not even the only thing he’s done. He choked a Jets ball-boy because a football landed too close to him. He lifted this kid off the ground by his throat! On the jumbotron where everyone in the stadium could see! Marvin Harrison is a terrible person.

Antonio Cromartie

According to the New York Post, Antonio Cromartie has 9 kids. With 8 women. I’m sure Cromartie’s family has a hard time remembering all of those kids’ birthdays. Heck, I bet they have a hard time remembering all the kids’ names! I bet Antonio Cromartie himself has a hard time remembering all their names! Haha, good joke. Wait…

Doris Burke

Doris Burke terrible at her job. Nobody likes her at all. All we hear from her is her voice, and she has the butchest, stupidest voice ever. Not to mention she talks about shit and she’s wrong. And most of the shit she talks about nobody cares about. Even her name makes her sound like a butch warehouse worker. Please God let there be no NBA lockout so she doesn’t call every single Villanova game, and say things like how she really is impressed by the strides Dom Cheek has made in the past year, and is really impressed by the toughness Antonio Pena brings to the team. Eat shit Doris. The only good thing she has brought to the world is the enjoyment everyone got from finding out that the Mavs feel the same way about her as the rest of the world.

Eric Devendorf

Devendorf hits women. Plus he played for Syracuse. I don’t know which is worse. http://www.sporcle.com/games/gobosox3424/cusebball

So the question remains, who is the worst human being in sports?

10 Possible Explanations for Lebron’s Finals Performance

We’ve all seen what happened to Lebron this Finals. I’m sure everyone has read a million articles wondering how Lebron can put up such a bitchy performance in Game 4. We saw it last year in game 5 vs. Boston, so if you told me this would happen a year ago I wouldn’t have been surprised. But since then, Lebron proved that he does not get overwhelmed by the spotlight- particularly in the Boston series.  Lebron has spent the whole season trying to prove the haters wrong, and as he made it to the final step, he just stopped trying. We know he’s not a choker. We know when he really cares he can take over the game when it matters. Why wouldn’t he even try? Here are all of the possibilities I can think of.

Number 1: Lebron is being paid to throw the series

Real Life Example: 1919 Black Sox.

Doesn’t it just look like he got paid to lose the game? I mean, he’s not trying. Like at all. He doesn’t want the ball. HOW CAN HE NOT CARE?!? He spent the whole year saying that ALL HE WANTED WAS TO WIN RINGS. Maybe he would not try his hardest if he was being paid to not try. Or maybe they have his mom captive or something. Someone has to be controlling Lebron James, because I can’t imagine him actually not caring about this series.

Number 2: Lebron James has an evil twin.

Real life example: He is the Lebronde and somewhere out there is his LeTiki.

Lebron’s evil twin has one goal in life- to make good Lebron miserable. Good Lebron is a mild mannered athlete, who would have been happy earning a couple million a year putting up 15 and 5 in Sacramento or Minnesota, but evil Lebron wouldn’t let that happen. He went out and drew all this attention to Lebron, and this time left real Lebron to dry in the Finals. Nice Lebron isn’t used to this hate, and doesn’t have the balls to handle it. So he spends the game trying to hide in the corner, waiting for this nightmare to be over.

Number 3: Lebron James is the evil twin.

Real life example: Lebron is Jose Canseco, and he has a normal twin who is left to fill in for him when he doesn’t feel like doing what he is being paid to do (http://sports.espn.go.com/sports/boxing/news/story?id=6265329).

Lebron is insane. Like actually insane just like Canseco. He does things just because he feels like it, just because it will get him money/attention. Then, the next day, he just does something else. He has some mind disease that just makes him do things just as he thinks of them. Then, the day before game 3 of the finals, someone offered him some acid, so he did that, and now he’s bathing off the southern coast of St. Barts with spider monkeys and shit. Meanwhile, his less talented, but good hearted twin is left to fill in.

Number 4: Somebody entered Lebron’s brain and is controlling him like a robot.

Real life example: Plankton controlling spongebob to steal the Krabby Patty Secret formula.

Lebron only has the power to control his body for short periods of time, as David Stern has a remote control that has the ability to control Lebron’s power.

Number 5: Lebron is playing a joke on us, and just dominating the finals isn’t enough for him. They lose game 5 then he goes off for 50 and 10 in games 6 and 7.

Real life example: Some kid playing NBA 2K11 who simmed the first 5 games.

Number 6: Lebron James’ Dad showed up last week, and revoked his last words of wisdom to Lebron when he said “Winning is everything.”

Real life example: Ricky Bobby and his dad in Talladega nights.

Ricky lived his life by the words, “If you’re not first, you’re last.” Later in the movie, Bobby’s dad came back and said he was drunk, and that there is “second, third, fourth.” My theory is that Lebron’s dad told him that, “Winning titles is all that matters, no matter how much money you make and people hate him.” Then, he was waiting in Dallas for Lebron to inevitably take back those words, and send Lebron on a mental journey that kept him uninterested in the game.

Number 7: Divine Intervention

Real life Example: Buddha

God came and told Lebron to do nothing.

Number 8:Lebron magically gains his powers from an object or piece of clothing.

Real life Example: Lil Bow Wow in Like Mike.

He had something like that and he lost it.

Number 9: Lebron just now read a mocking article about his receding hairline.

Real life example: Some faggot 7th grade loser getting a pimple and pretending to be sick so he didn’t have to go to school and get made fun of by the cool kids.

Lebron didn’t want the camera on him because he is suddenly self-conscious.

Number 10: Lebron was watching tape, and saw haw stupid his face is after he makes a good play.

Real life example: The Lebron face is beginning to rival the Kobe lower jaw face.

It is becoming as trademark as the Kobe face, except it doesn’t look cool at all.

It has to be one of these explanations. I literally can’t think of any more. But which is it? We may never know.

The N-Word. What are the rules?

As most of you know, one of my best friends, Jax, is “black.” One of the most important things for a white person with a black friend is to know that you are not allowed to say the n-word, under any circumstances. This is pretty simple for me, as an Irish-Italian white kid, with a clearly black friend from LA. However, it is not always that simple.  There are many other races in America, and it often seems pretty unclear whether they are allowed to say the n-word.  The way I look at it, there are 4 ways to look at this conundrum.

1. People who are African or who have African Blood in them are allowed to say the N-word.
People who can under this criteria:
Jason Kidd
Landry Fields
Derek Jeter
Lindsay Lohan in Mean Girls, Matt Damon in Invictus
Michael Jackson

People who can’t under this criteria:
Vladimir Guerrero
David Ortiz
Fat Joe, Big Pun

While this sounds good in theory, the lists prove it is not feasible. First of all, for reasons I do not understand why, Fat Joe and Big Pun are allowed to say it. And really, Vlad Guerrero can’t say it? The man is as dark as anyone.


I am as dark as Fat Joe.

——#2. People who have dark skin are allowed to say the N-word.

People who can under this criteria:
Aziz Ansari
George Lopez
David Ortiz/Vladimir Guerrero
Indian Chief Sitting Bull

People who can’t under this criteria:
Jason Kidd
Fat Joe/Big Pun
DJ Khaled
Drake
T.I.

This makes a little more sense, but where the hell do we draw the line? George Lopez is far darker than T.I., let alone Fat Joe and Drake, but they are clearly allowed to say it but George Lopez can’t.  Also, I’ve been looking at pictures and T.I.’s skin is about just as dark as Snooki’s…

3. You have to be hood to say the N-word.
People who can under this criteria:
Jason Williams
Eminem
Fat Joe/Big Pun
Pitbull
DJ Khaled…?
T.I.

People who can’t under this criteria:
Obama
Nelson Mandela
Wayne Brady
Grant Hill
Tiger Woods
Drake
Akon
Mike Tirico

This sounds good at first, but ends up ridiculous. There are clearly white people who are hood, and clearly black people who are not.

4. The black community as a whole has to like you to be allowed to say the N-word.
People who can under this criteria:
Justin Bieber (only white person nominated for a BET award)
Eminem
Fat Joe/Big Pun/DJ Khaled
White Girls

People who can’t under this criteria?
Samwell (What What in the Butt guy)
Condoleezza Rice
Grant Hill

This seems like the most accurate list, but the criteria are least specific. It seems like the black community decides, and it is just true. Hence white peoples’ confusion. I am still blown away by Fat Joe being allowed to say it. How is he blacker than Eminem? They’re both light as hell, except Fat Joe sucks at rapping. It seems as half of it is being not white, and half of it is being black.  Any input anyone has would be greatly appreciated.

Other people to consider: Len Elmore? Aladdin? Skeeter from Doug? Cristiano Ronaldo? A-Rod? Rafael Furcal? David Stern (the leader of the most black-dominated sport in the world)? Sammy Sosa (can you lose the right to say it)? Nelson Mandela? Ghandi? Kim Kardashian? Jax? Blake Griffin? Daddy Yankee? Selena Gomez? Carl Lewis? Greg Gumble? Bill Cosby? Chris Andersen? Stephen Curry? Matt Barnes?

There should be an official authority on this. But who?

Dirk’s Debt to LeBron, Losing

It is generally assumed that if you are white and do not live in Miami, that you are rooting hardcore for the Mavs to win the NBA Championship.The reasons are pretty simple: 1. Lebron is clearly a prick and 2. Chris Bosh is clearly a pussy. Because of this, 90% of America has become a Mavs fan, and therefore a Dirk fan. Dirk is easy to root for now. He is one of a kind, is a veteran who has done everything but win a championship, and is viewed as never having a sufficient supporting cast around him. Let’s take a step back though, and imagine Dirk had managed to win that Championship in 06, and maybe one more in the past decade.

Dirk comes into the playoffs with a cast of boring, bland players. If you were to rank the top 20 coolest plays that the Heat or Mavs have made all year, the Heat would have 19 of them. They are led by Mark Cuban, the biggest, loudest, douchiest owner in the league, who constantly reminds everyone about the 2 championships he won. Then you have fuckin Dirk. Dirk HAS to be the most aggravating player in the past decade to root against. You can guard him perfectly, and he still makes that ugly-ass jumper right in your face. It seems like you’re dominating on both ends, but those fucking jumpers just keep going in, and when they don’t go in, it seems like he gets every foul call. That along with the fact that the only thing uglier than Dirk’s game is Dirk himself. Seriously, DIrk is the German Joakim Noah when it comes to looks.

ew

Not to mention he is European. And not only European but German. And not only German, but blonde hair, blue eyes German. Can you imagine how pissed off you would be if he hit a huge 3 pointer against you then fucking held up threes with his hand, except he used his fucking thumb instead of holding up 3 like a normal American. Fuckin Dirk. Even the name Dirk sounds like the name of a dumbass lackey to the real bad guy in Die Hard.

I could hate that guy so easily. Luckily for Dirk, he hasn’t won a championship. And he is playing against the least likable team in the history of the NBA. So we all root for Dirk’s ridiculous fadeaways to go in. And we laugh every time he gets a stupid foul call.  The stars really had to align for American to truly love Dirk. And they did- this Summer in South Beach.

Top 5 Banks of All Time

Bank Themed Blog

In honor of my first blog in what is now officially known as “The Bank” by all people under 7 feet tall, I will be ranking the top 5 banks of all time.  Without further ado, let’s begin.

Number 5: Ernie Banks

He was a really good hall of fame baseball player and shit. Solid guess on most historical baseball sporcles.

Number 4: Carlton Banks

Carlton Banks is a negro member of the Banks family, and resident of a rich suburb outside of Los Angeles. He attended a rich private school that is populated by mostly white students. He is best known for his ridiculous dance moves that are based more on the fact that they are ridiculous than the skill required. He often wears bright and ridiculous clothing. Currently, Carlton resides in Wayne, Pennsylvania on the Basement floor of what is now known as “The Bank.” He currently spends time trying to hook up with any female in sight.

Carlton at the Pi Beta Phi Formal

Number 3: TD Bank

TD Bank is one of the most versatile banks in the country. Not only is it a successful east coast bank chain that employs Maclick, but it is also one of the most effective and intimidating chants done by any fanbase in the country. Arinza Onuaku and Rick Jackson have been quoted saying that the echo of TD BANK!…TD BANK! in their ears has greatly hurt their concentration during free throws.

Number 2:  Tyra Banks

Proving black women can be hot. Even though they almost always aren’t.

Number 1: Banker’s Club

The driving force behind all of the greatest nights we’ll never remember. Thank you, Bank, and I look forward to spending the rest of my weekends this year with you.