Dec. 18, 1976
AFC Divisional Playoff
New England @ Oakland
On the final drive, the Oakland Raiders were in trouble. It was 3rd and 18 on the Pats 28 and they were trailing the Patriots 21-17 with time not on their side. Ken Stabler drops back to pass as Ray "Sugar Bear" Hamilton applies pressure to cigarette smoking left hander. As Stabler lets the ball go Hamilton knocks Stabler to the ground. Incomplete pass, Pats Win!!! Wait a second, there's a flag on the field. Must be an offensive holding or something, right? Wrong-O! Nope, roughing the passer, a full 20 years before any rules were in place to protect the qb. Referee Ben Dreith made a horrible call at best, the Raiders took advantage of their new life as Stabler snuck into the endzone with 10 seconds left and they march onto the Super Bowl (the 76 Raiders may have been the luckiest team of all time, because not only did they escape that game, they got to face a Pittsburgh team in the AFC Title game with no Franco Harris or Rocky Bleier. I still believe this string of events is what gave us Madden Video Games). Final Score- Oakland 24 NE-21
Jan. 19, 2002
AFC Divisional Playoff
Oakland @New England
The Pats are down 13-10 and driving into field goal range in a driving snow storm. Tom Brady drops back to pass as former Michigan teammate Charles Woodson is coming on a corner blitz. Brady pumpfakes once and is drilled by Woodson, the ball comes loose and is recovered by the Raiders. Game over right? The Raiders got us again. I was watching this game at a local watering hole in Sabattus The whole bar just went in total silence. I made the grand statement "They will overturn on this replay, his arm was going forward". 6 or 7 people started laughing, and one guy told me "I will buy your rounds for the rest of the night if your right". I think it had been about 5 weekes earlier I was watching the ticket and the Jaguars had had the same type of play reviewed, it was called an incompletion and replay upheld it. The ref explained as soon as the qb's arm moved forward, regardless of weather he was tucking it away or not, the ball inmmediately became incomplete. I might have been the only Pats Fans in the world who felt confident. I knew the rule before it was known as "The Tuck Rule" and I could see visions of Raymond Berry sticking with a scared Tony Eason dancing in my head. When Walt Coleman awarded the ball back to New England, the place went nuts, and the Vinatieri field goals were a foregone conclusion. I of course sucked down some free pops and reveled in the fact that not only was I right but justice was served. Of course the seeds for Raiders fans, who forgot about 1976 by now, to start bitching started that night, as two of the Raiders fans in the bar refused to recognize it as a win. "That was so fixed. What crap." Blah, blah, blah. They ended up storming out like a couple of two year olds who got lumps of coal from Santa. I wondered what old Sugar Bear was thinking at that moment, and how many cigarettes Ken Stabler had smoked during the game.
So, as we prepare for tonight's Ring Ceremony and get ready for the replay of the tuck rule, remember that the Raiders were owed that one, and it least we got ours playing by the rules. Committment to Excellence my ass, it should be Committment to Whining. Oh and for those of you that feel bad, remember the Raiders got their Super Bowl shot the next year and got beaten by Tampa Bay!!! So have fun Al Davis, and remember, that Member's Only jacket was pretty cool back when you won your last Super Bowl.
Pats 27-17 tonight. Write That down...