COLUMN: THEY CALL THIS FOOTBALL?

From Oakland, California

I’m not sure what Ralph Nader is doing these days but I think he should investigate and sue the National Football League in the name of anyone who paid money to see the Chiefs and Raiders play on Sunday.

To call what happened on the field at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum “professional football” qualifies as fraud, bait and switch, deceptive advertising and assorted other crimes against the consumer and humanity.

Of course, with two bad teams facing off, it wasn’t like we were expecting a brand of football that would remind anybody of the playoffs. It certainly did not. There were so many negatives in this game, so many mental errors, so many dropped passes, poor passes, bad decisions and penalties.

Positives, even for the winning Chiefs were few and far between. They won their second game instead of losing their eighth; that’s positive. Jamaal Charles ran for 103 yards and scored the team’s first rushing TD of the season; that’s positive. Dustin Colquitt had a net punting average of 47.5 yards; that was a positive.

That’s was it. There are so many examples to provide a picture into how poorly this game was played, coached and officiated. Here are just a couple examples. With less than five minutes to play, Chiefs DB Maurice Leggett was back to handle an Oakland punt. His team was leading by six points. Caution and ball security was paramount. As he settled under the punt at his own 30-yard line, Leggett mishandled the ball. Bending over to pick it up, he kicked it away. Reaching again, the ball slipped from his fingers again. Finally, just a few seconds before the Raiders coverage was about to engulf him and the ball, Leggett finally got hold of the ball. He ended up losing four yards on the return, but he kept the ball.

Here’s another: leading 13-10 in the third quarter, on the road and facing a 4th-and-1 at the Raiders 14-yard line, Chiefs head coach Todd Haley decided rather than take a fairly automatic 32-yard field goal, he decided to go for the first down. And, he didn’t call a running play; he called for a bootleg pass play. The Chiefs didn’t make it.

And a third from the guys in striped shirts: as the Raiders were coming down the field late in the fourth quarter, backup QB Bruce Gradkowski connected with WR Darrius Heyward-Bey on a 22-yard play with 39 seconds to play. The officials on the field ruled the play a catch. But the replay booth stopped play for a review. The replay clearly showed that Heyward-Bey did not get both feet down. It should have been an incomplete pass. But after reviewing the tape, referee Mike Carey decided it was a good catch.

The whole afternoon was like this. Play-after-play, series-after-series, four quarters in all, this was something far short of NFL football. They played a United Football League game down the road in San Jose on Saturday night. Wonder if this game looked any better than that one.

A large number of people in the Bay Area were smart enough to stay away from this stinker just based on pre-game scouting report. The Raiders were 2-6. The Chiefs were 1-7. One of Oakland’s two victories was against the Chiefs. There wasn’t a single superstar on the field for either team. That’s why the rest of northern California wasn’t subjected to seeing this game live on television. Everyone from Carmel, to Sacramento, to the giant redwoods to the north and ships heading to San Francisco in the Pacific Ocean found better things to do with their afternoons.

Supposedly there were 40,720 poor souls in the stadium, but that number itself deserves investigation. They could have easily had the few souls who populated the third deck move down to the lower and middle levels and still had some open seats there. Everyone who could produce a ticket stub should be given a complete refund and a little somethin’, somethin’ for their misery.

How these two teams managed to even score a total of 26 points is hard to figure. The game featured a total of 590 yards. That might make it should like it was a good offensive game. Let me assure you, it was not. With the exception of a handful of big yardage plays for both teams, this game was one mistake after another, one dropped pass after another, one negative play, one mental mistake … I’m figuring you’ve got the picture by now.

I wonder what Al Davis was thinking in the fourth quarter as his team lost for the seventh straight time at home to the Chiefs. In the last few years, he’s invested a lot of money in first-round draft picks like QB JaMarcus Russell, RB Darren McFadden and WR Darrius Heyward-Bey. By some accounting, he gave those three players alone $159.25 million, with $86.5 million in guaranteed dollars.

Russell was eight of 24 in the game, for 64 passing yards before he was yanked from the game for backup QB Bruce Gradkowski. McFadden ran the ball four times for 11 yards. Heyward-Bey had only that 22-yard non-catch catch. He also bobbled the ball on the next play and allowed Chiefs SS Mike Brown to grab the game ending interception.

There was a time when the AFC West was one of the best divisions in football. That time is not now. The question on this afternoon for most everybody was whether the Raiders dragged the Chiefs down to their level, or it was vice-a-versa.

But when you are the Chiefs, and you’ve won only three of your last 30 games, you could care less how the victory came your way. An Ugly Betty is better than not winning at all.


26 Responses to “COLUMN: THEY CALL THIS FOOTBALL?”

  • November 15, 2009  - mr awsome says:

    damn bob we won a game and your still being a jerk about it the most unpositive thing about the game is you probably got free tickets


  • November 15, 2009  - Jim Lloyd+ says:

    Let’s see a Minor & a Major league in football , like in Baseball .
    I’m watching N.E. & Indy and it’s so funny that I went and checked the Refig . and All my beer was there un touched . Different !!!!!!!!!
    And not just a little BIT . WOW–> Back to the cooler , These guy’s make it Too easy , it’s sad.


  • November 15, 2009  - ED says:

    Bob please stop with the hating. No it wasn’t the preetiest games but I’ve seen Steelers, Cowboys, and even Giants play horrible games. It happens sometimes with good team and sometimes with bad teams can you at least try to dwell on the positive.

    Like how Haley finally gave Charles enough carries to make things happen in the run game. Or how we finally got Bowe and Chambers going early in the game and not in the 4th quarter. Yeah he got too agreesive by going for it on 4 and 1 on the 14 yard line, but I doubt if he does it again. He knows that was a bonehead play but when you’re 1 and 7 I guess he figures he doesn’t have anything to lose. Either way we Go Chiefs.


  • November 15, 2009  - Stiv says:

    As I’ve already said, a win is a win.

    I also don’t think much of the over the top negativity. If I want to read something that’s negative just to be negative, I’ll read Whitlock’s nonsense.

    The Chiefs beat the Raiders today and for that I’m glad.


  • November 15, 2009  - colby says:

    Our performance was nothing to write home about but I’m just glad we got a win. My boy Savage was terrible, but I’m thrilled with Charles. Yes, the Raiders run D is garbage but Charles was making something out of nothing all day. We need to take him off of KR so all of his touches can come on offense. I don’t care if it’s Savage, Leggett, Wade, or whoever on KR. No one, including Charles has been very good for us this year. Nice game from Demorrio Williams as well. Chambers looks good. Succop and Colquitt are just about as good as Janikowski and Lechler and our coverage units were outstanding.

    And when Vrabel went out, Studebaker replaced him, not DJ. Nick Wright will be throwing a fit tomorrow morning!


  • November 15, 2009  - Blake Thomas says:

    Bob, Your description of the game was exactly right. Two bad teams, but one had to win. We could have just as easily lost this game as have won it. Sadly the Chiefs have taken a big step backward this year.


  • November 15, 2009  - el cid says:

    Josh Looney is a fine writer employed by the Chiefs which makes him a shill for patienc and the process. That is ok, Bob was the same for carl. Everyone needs a job.

    This game was not much but maybe a corner turner.


  • November 15, 2009  - Iowa Chiefs fan says:

    They wouldn’t have had to hold on for the win if he had kicked that field goal from the 14 yard line. They would have had a 19-10 lead. Bad coaching decision by Haley. Hopefully he learns from it and takes the points from now on.


  • November 15, 2009  - Jim Lloyd+ says:

    Seran Preto hooked up to the QB might work ???
    He’s easy to listen to , Maybe that’s it ?


  • November 15, 2009  - Mike in MO says:

    I was watching ESPN this evening, and they referred to this game as being “Triple AAA.” They showed exactly one highlight from it…or maybe it was a lowlight!


  • November 15, 2009  - Arrowheaded says:

    Yeah..it was ugly, SO WHAT! Is Haley done with Savage now? PLEASE? Did Todd catch Wade screwing his wife or something?


  • November 15, 2009  - BinSC says:

    Funny, but I feel just as digusted with the Chiefs play after this win as I have after all the losses. I guess it was very tough to watch Clancy call his soft defense on the final drive so Oakland could march down the field with ease (just like the last game). That guy is a clown.

    Pittsburgh will kick the crap out of us. Hopefully, our guys at least take notes on how to perform at an NFL level while getting beat on.


  • November 15, 2009  - Rodeo John says:

    Yeah, so it was ugly most of the time. But tell me that you weren’t sittin there at the end, screamin, hollerin, cheerin when Mike Brown finally showed up and got us not only our first, but our second (and game securing) interception. Some people stepped up in their play. Others didn’t. Learning has more than likely occurred at all levels.

    While I want an accurate report, I expect an unbiased report, and there is till a sense of loathing in the writing of Mr Gretz. And since he is supposed to be a staunch supporter and follower of the Chiefs, you would have at least thought he would have said “Congrats” on the win. Now go work on the screw ups and play smarter ball next week. Something. Anything. But nope. Nothing but a bunch of griping. Reminds me of a dog that used to hang around this place.


  • November 15, 2009  - Rodeo John says:

    Oh, and a couple other things. Yeah, I am done with Clancy callin in his “nancy” style defense tryin to go for “not losing” vice continuing to play smash mouth defense that had been keeping the Raiders from getting a ton of yardage and moving the ball with ease. Got to keep the Pressure Clancy.

    And as far as they should have kicked it on that 4th and 1…yeah, I thought so too…but hoped that since they didn’t they would be able to pull it off. But they didn’t. Oh well. They didn’t crumble like they could have. It also would have been nice had Succop not missed that 54 yarder…definitely had the leg for it…just pulled it a little. Had he not missed that one we woulda won by 9 that way too. Lots of coulda’s, woulda’s, and shoulda’s. Lets look objectively and make our armchair quarterback recommendations on what can be done to improve the team.

    NOT BE NEGATIVE. Jeesh…guess a win don’t mean nothin to some people anymore.


  • November 15, 2009  - Rodeo John says:

    Wow, my first post got deleted. Hmm, interesting.


  • November 16, 2009  - Hawaiianchief says:

    Stoked they won, but man it left a bad taste in my mouth. I know we are rebuilding, but I believe you should improve from week to week, and I just don’t see the offense improving. Week after week we are 1 of 15, 3 of 12, 4 of 16 on third downs.

    Please delete the draw from our playbook. You need to have a good passing offense for the draw to work.

    Matt Cassel is struggling, his protection was the best I seen all season, and he ran into a sack, and was inaccurate. Glad Haley finally decided to give Charles a shot and he didn’t disappoint. Chambers looks promising.

    By the way did anybody see 72 balling, he was a stud at the point of attack, and even flashed some pass rushing skills.

    All an all a lot to learn from, glad they got the win. Would like to see the offense turn the corner, and start improving. Matt needs to step his game up, seems like he has been in a funk since the San Diego game, and he doesn’t look comfortable when teams blitz him, which doesn’t bold well for this week.


  • November 16, 2009  - ThunderChief says:

    What else compares with:

    Flying flop flab, smelly and ugly as two giant seals attempt sex on the beach.

    Then there’s this game between the Raiders and Chiefs.


  • November 16, 2009  - Shoe says:

    The Chiefs lose two fumbles and Cassel throws a pick.

    And the Chiefs win. Only against the Raiders is this possible.


  • November 16, 2009  - SG says:

    “Bob please stop with the hating.”

    I would like for someone to confirm the author of this column. If it is BobGretz, Mr. Gretz, your grouchy tone seems to be counterproductive in writing to this audience who are mostly Chiefs fans. I’m sure your marketing research intern or whoever helps in such matters can verify this for you.


  • November 16, 2009  - dusty says:

    Did anyone else notice that when we try to tackle the other guy more often than not easily muscle out of it? How about their defensive players taking our guys down with a single hand on the shoulder? Our guys need to not only tackle better, but they need to get stronger, a lot stronger!


  • November 16, 2009  - True Red & Gold says:

    Bob,
    Great reporting. I am glad you are calling it as you see it. Most of us can handle it so keep it coming.

    I don’t know how anyone can feel good about this win. It was all but given to us. I saw very little improvement (where we need it) over last week. Cassel looked worse. The one bright spot was the play of Charles. I guess if it gives the players more confidence then this matters but I am not sure the players could even feel good about this one.


  • November 16, 2009  - TimR says:

    I like Haley, but making some of the decisions he made will get many coaches fired. He happened to win this one.

    Hopefully, we’ll get some continuity going on “O” now that the LJ distraction is gone.

    Brown needs to do himself a favor after the season & retire. He may have been in the right place at the right time on Sun., but much of his other play was not good.

    Bob’s article states much of the truth. Personally, I didn’t take it as negatively as a couple of other articles he’s written.


  • November 16, 2009  - gorillafan says:

    I dont think bob was negative, but it was reality.

    I dont feel good about the win either, but a win is a win


  • November 16, 2009  - arrowhead1978 says:

    Thank god that Heyward-Bey doesn’t have hands, that ball over the middle was thrown perfect. Then, thank god for the tripping penalty that negated Murphy’s catch that would have setup a TD. Finally, Thank god the chiefs were playing the raiders!!

    The chiefs safeties both need to play alot better this coming weekend!


  • November 17, 2009  - BigJimInWisconsin says:

    A win is a win. No style points in the NFL. Even better when the win is against the Raiders.

    Another positive (mentioned in the comments above) is that Glenn Dorsey had 5 tackles and a pass defensed.

    Haley will have an aggressive offense; just needs better personnel. Going for it on 4th & 1 is an example. I would have kicked the easy field goal, but I’m not the coach.

    Keep up the great work, Bob.

    Go Chiefs!




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