The Oakland Raiders have a storied tradition of not following the NFL’s rules. Under Hue Jackson the Raider’s managed to set records for finding ways to piss off the zebras. Of course Mr. Davis would have said that it was due to the NFL’s feud against him and his franchise, but then again here is a quote (a personal favorite) from former Raider, Monte Johnson.
The number one rule for the air hockey tournament was ‘Cheating is encouraged.” “Number two was ‘It’s only cheating if you get caught.’ What the air-hockey tournament revealed was how we played football. There were rules, but there weren’t rules.” – Excerpt from the book Badasses by Peter Richmond.
So according to Mr. Johnson it appears that the Raiders have been, getting caught. The truth is, the NFL just isn’t what it used to be. Rule changes are constantly being applied to the game in order to appeal to a larger audience. Proof of this is obvious. Everybody loves a high scoring shootout between explosive passing offenses. Watching a 12-12 tie in the NFL has gone from normal to being as rare as catching Jabba the Hutt on a treadmill. Bottom line is, the Raiders need to be able to adjust to the flow of Roger Goodell’s rule changes. The newest of which is being applied to running backs (relax James Harrison).
The rule was passed last month and states that runners may not use the crown of their helmet to contact defenders outside of the tackle box. It has drawn its share of criticism from players and fans alike including Marshall Faulk, Ray Rice, and Earl Campbell. So how does this affect the Oakland Raiders?
The Raiders are one of the few NFL teams who base a game plan around a tough and physical running game. Glimpses of Darren McFadden prove him to be a dangerous back to take head on. His ability to pick up speed allows him to mow through defenders like Charlie Sheen through a kilo of Columbian bam bam. The injury prone McFadden relies on the ability to lower his shoulder and deliver deadly blows, and at full speed unintentional use of his helmet (specifically the crown of the helmet) happens. Even with the chance to lower his shoulder McFadden can barely squeeze out a six game season. What is going to happen when the running back must also be concerned about how he hits.
The NFL has already abolished the days of Jack Tatum and Ronny Lott. Must they also banish the likes of Bo Jackson and Napoleon Kaufman? At what point will the rules stop? Player safety is one thing, but these grown men are completely aware of what they partake in and are repaid with more wealth then most people see in a lifetime. In ten years will Goodell outlaw linemen? In twenty years will it even be football any more? Without a Delorean there will be no way of knowing for sure. So for now Raider Nation must deal with the absurd transition to a game missing plays like some of the ones seen in this video. Bo Jackson – YouTube.