During my weekend downtime, something occurred to me regarding the Oakland Raiders. It seems like for the longest time, the Raiders and the NFL have been head-butting each other in a power struggle. I know they had a little run of success during the Gruden/Gannon era, but other than that stretch, the team has found very little success. Some say the NFL holds a grudge against the Raiders for all the courtroom maneuvering done by Al Davis over the years. Some say that every team has to overcome the bad official calls and injury bug. I think both sides are probably right to an extent.
However, the question remains to be answered: How will the young Raiders deal with the bad calls, actual committed penalties, and injury bug?
Louis Murphy had to get over a mental hurdle last year after two plays in which the ball may have been called a catch for a different team. After the second bad call against Houston, Murphy went through a string of dropped passes and missed opportunities. Therefore it is logical to say that the bad calls can get to an individual. And it is common sense to say that an individual's performance affects the entire team around him.
How about the no-calls that should've been penalties, like the time Hines Ward grabbed Chris Johnson and pulled Johnson into him in order to get around him and score a go ahead touchdown? How will the young Raiders deal with that kind of thing this year? Obviously, it did not have detrimental effects on the outcome of that particular game, but inevitably there will be a call that does affect the outcome like the aforementioned calls against the favor of the young wide receiver Murphy.
Bad calls, no-calls, and the injury bug can be the difference between a winning record headed into the playoffs and sitting at home on the couch watching the playoffs wishing you could partake in the excitement. The question that must be asked is if this team is good enough to overcome the inevitable in 2010.
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