Raiders

Goodell turning NFL into a drag

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Goodell turning NFL into a drag

In the good old days when the NFL was better at selling and not so interested in bullying its customers and employees, it would have found a way to make its officials lockout more . . . well, fun.

Celebrity officials would have been the start, or lucky fan officials, or Vote For Your Favorite Ridiculous Call. They might even have had one game where the players and coaches called their own penalties, although Jim Harbaugh would not have been involved in that because he would be too busy trying to swindle the other side on every play.

In short, they would have monetized their labor problem by making it interactive, and monetizing the hell out of it. And because they are the best at doing those things, theyd have been great at it.

Instead, they have done what is the hallmark of the Goodell-Taking-Orders Administration. They have decided their marketing campaign would be him frowning and snarling, This isnt about what you want. Its about what we want. Bow to your corporate overlords.

Thats not the message you, the customer, wants to hear, but it is the message his 32 bosses want to give. In fighting so stridently and arrogantly for so little money, they are upholding a principle that is near and dear to them -- their right to win everything, every time.

Hey, its a nice philosophy if you can pull it off, but in America, where the culture runs on the myths and whims of entertainment, the audience likes to be jollied along while its being taken for its walk. They want the purveyors of the entertainment to pretend they care, and theyll buy almost any stupid premise if they think the boss is at least trying to play along.

But the NFL in the Goodell-As-Front-Man Era is defined by the notion that the owners entertainment comes first, and their entertainment is not about anyones fun but their own. And their fun seems mostly to be derived by letting everyone know that their fun crushing employees who want a raise, mostly -- comes first.

Thus, the latest spate of officiating failures will be filed away with all the others, wrapped in a nice press release that says, Theyre doing a GREAT job, damn it, and thats an order.

As always, inflexible, bullying, and tone-deaf. The three things that sell poorest in a consumer economy.

RATTO: To NFL brass, fans are simply wallets with feet

What happened to the good old slap-and-tickle the NFL used to be so good at? The warm and fuzzy feature about this line judge who used to sell insurance and work at Kinkos to put his kids through high school? A Rich Eisen essay on the Lingerie Football Leagues officiating school? A Football Follies episode on Ed Hochulis guns in repose?

What happened, in short, to the NFLs willingness to laugh at itself while still having the wit and reach to find your wallet? Its gone, replaced by two middle fingers and a Take It Or Leave It, And Then Get Screwed On The Other Side motto. It has replaced the game on the field with the game in the boardroom as its raison-detre. Its given us months upon months of Whats best for the owners in their constant struggle to make more money than God?

They have, in short, embraced the idea that the owners are the reason for the season, and owners are notoriously poor at finding the humor in anything that involves labor relations.

So Goodell gets his twice-monthly check and juts his jaw out, reminding everyone that what they are seeing every Thursday, Sunday and Monday is actually not bad officiating, but good officiating, and then trying to bully compliance with fines or other punishments.

This wasnt his M.O. when he took the job. He was going to be warmer and fuzzier than Paul Tagliabue, an admittedly subterranean bar to clear, and he is somehow managing to fail at it. Not because he is having an argument with officials over compensation, but because hes been so deadly dull, dry and humorless about it.

Roger Goodell has committed the unforgivable sin. In being the front man for the owners, he decided to model their behaviors rather than soft-focus them. He has become a dean of students. Hes turning the NFL into a drag, and himself along the way.

Instant Analysis: Ugly loss to Pats in Mexico City sums up Raiders' season

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USATSI

Instant Analysis: Ugly loss to Pats in Mexico City sums up Raiders' season

BOX SCORE

MEXICO CITY – There was a point this summer when the Raiders were a fun, sexy selection to challenge New England for AFC supremacy.

That hot take hath frozen over.

The Raiders have meandered through a disappointing season in the middle of the conference. And, in case there was any doubt, the Patriots proved Sunday that they’re still king.

They flat whooped the Raiders in Mexico City. The Silver and Black got outplayed, outcoached, outschemed, out-everythinged at Estadio Azteca, looking like a team unworthy of playoff consideration.

NOTE: The paragraphs above were written at halftime. That’s when this game was over.

The Patriots took a three-score lead and a shutout into the break. The Raiders offered little resistance then or later on, killing themselves time and again with inexcusable mistakes.

All that resulted in a 33-8 beat down.

This was Week 3 in Washington all over again, maybe worse. The Raiders haven’t played this bad in years, maybe in the entire Jack Del Rio era.

Despite all that, the Silver and Black are still in it. The Kansas City Chiefs are in a free fall, and dropped to 6-4 after losing to the lowly New York Giants.

The Raiders remain two games back in the AFC West and are still in the wild-card hunt, though their margin for error is officially nil. They need to go on a run there’s zero indication they can make, with Kansas City, Philadelphia and Dallas among those left on the slate.

Mathematically speaking, the Raiders can still finish 10-6.

We all know they won’t. The Raiders haven’t been on a winning streak since Week 2 thanks to maddening inconsistency and, at times, simply awful play.

They surely can’t compete with the NFL’s elite, a point the Patriots made crystal clear.

New England dominated from the outset, with a long touchdown drive the Raiders never answered.

The game formally turned late in the second quarter, with the Raiders driving down 14-0. They were marched toward the end zone when receiver Seth Roberts left the ball away from his body and got it knocked free. The Patriots recovered, worked downfield in no time and set up Stephen Gostowski’s 62-yard field goal.

That gave New England a three-score lead extended to four on the Patriots’ third play of the third quarter. Tom Brady connected with Brandin Cooks on a 64-yard touchdown. The conclusion was forgone, but that play was a dagger to the heart.

It also negated the one thing the Raiders did well. Marshawn Lynch ran effectively throughout, but the score eliminated his opportunities. He had xx yards on xx carries, and looked ready to take over a game. When you’re down so far, you gotta throw.

That posed a problem. Derek Carr was passing to receivers with a case of the drops that routinely stalled drives.

The offense never found a rhythm, the defense got beat soundly by Tom Brady’s brilliance. All that coming off a bye.

Each part of the Raiders organization deserves blame for this loss and this disappointing season. The personnel department failed to address voids on the roster. The coaching staff got outschemed despite having extra time to prepare, and the players failed to execute well.

And yet, as we stated earlier, the Raiders are still in it. The only way they stay there is by playing far better than they did on Sunday, and there’s little confidence the Silver and Black are capable of that.

Inactives: Raiders forced to face Brady with just three healthy cornerbacks

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AP

Inactives: Raiders forced to face Brady with just three healthy cornerbacks

MEXICO CITY – The Raiders can’t get healthy at cornerback, David Amerson in particular. The Silver and Black’s best cover man will miss a third straight game on Sunday with a foot injury that can’t get right, meaning the Raiders will face New England with just three healthy cornerbacks.

TJ Carrie, Sean Smith and Dexter McDonald will take most of the snaps, with safeties Karl Joseph, Obi Melifonwu and Shalom Luani able to assist in the slot should go with four or more receivers.

The Raiders chose not to sign a cornerback off the street despite Amerson’s ailments and Gareon Conley being moved to injured reserve.

They reinstated Darius Latham and then made him a healthy scratch due to their abundance at defensive tackle.

The Raiders are down an offensive lineman, with right tackle Marshal Newhouse unable to play with hip and quadriceps injuries. Vadal Alexander will start in his place.

In addition, defensive tackle Jihad Ward, quarterback Connor Cook, edge rusher Shilique Calhoun and offensive tackle Jylan Ware are also inactive.

The Patriots will play without starting center David Andrews and right tackle Marcus Cannon. Receiver Chris Hogan is also out with injury.