BlackJack Del Rio
Del Rio’s coaching prowess come Sundays has been evident since the beginning of the season. It speaks to a coach that is confident in both his knowledge of the game and confidence in his players. From Week 1, this has been abundantly clear. In the final moments of the Raiders season opener against the Saints, Derek Carr marched the team down the field with a game-tying score to Seth Roberts.
Rather than tie the game with an extra-point kick and have his already tired and lackluster defense possibly face Drew Brees’ potent offense again in overtime, Del Rio rolled the dice. With determination and calmness etched in his face, he stuck up two fingers to indicate he wanted the win. He wanted the win here, he wanted it now.
Thus, with a fade to Michael Crabtree, Del Rio’s reputation as not specifically a gambler like “Riverboat Ron” Rivera, but as a cool, swaggered ballsy coach was born. When ESPN questioned the statistical chances of that decision post game, Del Rio sprinkled some more swagger onto the delicious moment:
Aside from that moment, Del Rio was one of the more successful coaches in the league when it came to challenging calls on the field, especially earlier in the season. In fact, many felt that he shouldn’t have been charged with a timeout against the Chargers in Week 5 when he “unsuccussfully” challenged whether Amari Cooper caught a touchdown grab in the back of the end zone.
The questionable diction used by the referee’s in explaining the initial penalty on the play led to Del Rio (rightfully) challenging, when a proper explanation of the call and rule basis behind the referee’s decision, would have dissuaded him.