the sad thing about tooz-days with the raiders is what ultimately happened to him. death by heart failure due to drugs. and i thought those ‘north dallas forty’ type stories about him were overblown. in the end of the party, it was shocking to me to find out, if toomay is to be believed, that they kept him on the field in the afc championship game despite his being wasted, to the hindrance of the team and to save al’s reputation. and the shoe-shining bit is creepy and sad. it’s like a scene out of the sopranos or something.

that second piece also reminds me of one of my most heart breaking raider football moments. i was depressed for a week. i was only a kid when the rob lytle “non-fumble” turned a raider touchdown into a denver touchdown. and the nfl cover-up/excuses that followed remind me now of the “snow job” and the full court press by the nfl to use the tuck rule to falsely justify the crime perpetrated on the silver and black last season. admit when you make a mistake, bastards. funny how these seem to happen to the raiders more than any other team. listen to veterans from other teams…

Even the whispers of the officials having it in for the Raiders are familiar, except when they come from a new voice and one known for having good sense.

Thirty-seven-year-old safety Rod Woodson, in his first season with the Raiders and someone known as one of the league’s clearer thinkers, voiced some suspicion Monday. “The one thing I’ve learned in the short time I’ve been here is that if a call is close, it’s going the opposite way for us,” he said. “And I don’t know if that’s a conscious decision on the refs’ part. I hope it’s not.” He said that in previous years he was unaware of how the Raiders were treated by the officials. “I only played about a handful of times. And I never really noticed it,” he said. “But this year early, we’ve had a lot of penalties go against us.”

Linebacker Bill Romanowski, another newcomer, said the Raiders have to go into every game with an “us against the world” mentality. “I didn’t feel like that before I came here,” he said.

coincidence that the raiders again are among the league leaders in penalties? even with a bye week and one less game than many teams. even with the constant change in players and coaching staff this year and throughout the years. that’s not a coincidence. that’s a pattern. maybe not conscious on the part of the officials in most cases, but a pattern nonetheless.

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