NFL Bias Against the Oakland/Las Vegas Raiders

When a negative bias targeting one entity persists inside a monopoly for 60 years uninterrupted, driven by a small syndicate of persons in succession, who coerce the media to protect rather than monitor its activities, so that it can further bilk victims across state lines by price gouging for its product – this is called a mafia.
Moreover, a mafia will punctuate such methods with instances of its willingness to enact cruelty to a very visible extreme, in pursuit of quiescence and silence on the part of its members and affiliates.

Reader please note that this article has not been ‘debunked’ by NFL hit man wannabe and supposed sports writer Josh Dubow. Josh holds a notorious reputation for his negative Raider-focused shtick.1 2 Every documented source, base calculation, assumption, full spreadsheet image, annotation, and chart derivation is shown for every contention in this article. To wit: Christopher Hansen, Raidersblog.com sports writer said on 19 Jan 2022, “[The Ethical Skeptic’s] Raiders penalty analysis is sound.”3 In contrast, I am not seeking attention nor a career boost over this matter. I paid $29,000 for a purposefully defective NFL product which specifically targeted Raiders fans for harm. As a result I am sounding the alarm for other prospective consumers.

The NFL’s Exploitation of Interpretive Penalty Call/No-Call Inflection Points

Our final example of The Cheat involves a circumstance which exhibits how The Cheat itself can be hidden inside the fabric of propriety, leveraging from the subjective nature of shades-of-color interpretations and hard-to-distinguish absences which are very cleverly apportioned to effect a desired outcome.4

Cheating is the spice which makes the chef d’oeuvre. Cheat through bias of omission not commission, only marginally enough to enact the goal and then no further, and while bearing a stately manner in all other things. Intimidate or coerce participants to remain silent.

Cheating is most scalable when it is latent.

Indigo point raison d’être: Interpretive Penalty Calls/No-Calls at Critical Indigo Points and Rates which Benefit Perennially Favored Teams and Disadvantage Others

I watched a National Football League (NFL) game last week (Week 10 of 2019 season originally) where the entire outcome of the game was determined by three specific and flawed penalty calls on the part of the game referees. The calls in review, were all invalid flag tosses of an interpretive nature, which reversed twice, one team’s (Detroit Lions) stopping a come-from-behind drive by the ‘winning’ team (Green Bay Packers). Twice their opponent was given a touchdown by means of invalid violations for ‘hands-to-the-face’, on the part of a defensive lineman. Penalty flag tosses which cannot be changed by countermanding and clear evidence, as was the case in this game. The flags alone artificially turned the tide of the entire game. The ‘winning’ quarterback Aaron Rodgers, a man of great talent and integrity, when interviewed afterwards humbly said “It didn’t really feel like we had won the game, until I looked up at the scoreboard at the end.” Aaron Rodgers is a forthright Tau Point Man – he does not hide (absent of political-extremist threats) his bias or agency inside noise. Such honesty serves to contrast the indigo point nature and influence of penalties inside of America’s pastime of professional football. Most of the NFL’s manner of exploitation does not present itself in such obvious Tau Point fashion, as occurred in this Lions-Packers game.

Fans pointed to the NFL as the sport in which officials have the most influence on results, with 81 percent saying they influence outcomes at least somewhat and 41 percent saying referees have a lot of influence on outcomes.

~ Morning Consult: Brand Intelligence: State of Sports Officiating

An interpretive penalty is the most high-sensitivity inflection point mechanism impacting the game of professional football. For some reason they are not as impactful in its analogue, the NCAA of college football. Not that referees are not frustrating in that league either, but they do not have the world-crushing and stultifying impact as do the officials inside of the NFL. NFL officials single-handedly and often determine the outcome of games, division competitions and Super Bowl appearances. They achieve this (whether intended or not) impact by means of a critically placed set of calls, and more importantly no-calls, with regard to these interpretive subjective penalties. Patterns which can be observed as consistent across decades of the NFL’s agency-infused and court-defined ‘entertainment’. Let’s examine these call (Indigo Point Commissions) and no-call (Indigo Point Omissions) patterns by means of two specific and recent team examples respectively – the cases of the 2019 Oakland Raiders and the 2017 New England Patriots (note: only the Oakland Raider analysis is presented in this extract from the original article and the analysis was expanded to cover NFL seasons 2009 – 2021).

Indigo-Commission Disadvantages Specific NFL Teams: Case of the Oakland/Las Vegas Raiders

Argument #1 – The 2009 – 2021 Penalty Detriment-Benefit Spread and Raider 60-Year Penalty History

Exhibit 1 – Raiders datum alone signals a violation of the Human-S bias detection curve.

As one may observe in Exhibit 1 to the right, The NFL’s Oakland/Las Vegas Raiders have consistently been the most heavily penalized-per-play team by far, over the last 60 years of NFL operations. Year after year they are flagged more than any other team, while in contrast their opponents are flagged in the bottom quartile of teams each week. For a while, this was an amusing shtick concerning the bad-guy aura the Raiders carried 40 or 50 years ago. But when one examines the statistics, and the types of penalties involved – consistent through six decades, multiple dozens of various level coaches who were not as highly penalized elsewhere in their careers, two owners and 10 varieties of front offices – the idea that this team gets penalized, ‘because they are undisciplined’, or ‘have rowdy/nasty fans’, or just ‘are supposed to be flagged more’ begins to fall flat under the evidence.

Of course it is also no surprise that the Raiders hold the record for the most penalties in a single game as well, 23 penalties and 200 yards penalized.5 To wit, the curve which is created by the flow of these blue bars in Exhibit 1 above is a very familiar curve inside systems theory. It is called a ‘Human-S’ bias detection curve, and relates to any system measure which is an outcome of human perception or performance. What is key to me as a human-systems professional is that 31 of 32 teams in this chart fall nicely on an expected Human-S ranking distribution. Only one team does not. This team on the right hand side of the chart is being dealt with by means of an organizational bias.6

However, it is not whether your team is the most penalized in any given year; rather, it is the spread between how often a team is penalized per play, as compared to how often their opponents are penalized per play. The differential spread between penalties-per-play-against and penalties-per-play-for the Raiders, during NFL seasons 2009-2021, can be observed in Exhibit 2 below. I created this through analyzing the penalty databases at NFLPenalties.com.7 The detailed data analysis for both the Exhibit 2 ‘spread’ and Exhibit 1 ‘bias’ can be viewed by clicking here. As one can clearly see, the Raiders fare much worse in penalty-per-play differential than any other team, a full 51% worse than even the #3 disfavored team in the NFL from 2009-2021. Amazingly, these years were not even as highly biased as were many of the prior years back to 1968. Seven decades of cheating on the part of the NFL and its officiating.

Exhibit 2 – Penalty-per-Play Differential: Raiders are simultaneously the most penalized team, while at the same time their opponents are not flagged highly. Take note of the #2 most favored team on the part of the NFL over this timeframe. No surprise there.

True to form, the Oakland/Las Vegas Raiders held the highest penalty-per-play differential again for the NFL 2019 Season. Through game 10 of the 2019 season, the disparity was obvious and particularly ludicrous. For most of the 2019 season, the Raiders were the most penalized team per game play in the NFL – while the least penalized team was whatever team happened to be playing the Raiders each week. That imbalance was the absurdity which became the impetus for this article. I just got tired of paying the NFL money for bullshit. One can view the supporting analysis for that assessment by clicking here. One can view another typical year’s bias against the Las Vegas Raiders in this Penalty Spread Differential Chart for 2021 as well. In this one the Raiders were only bumped from #1 ‘least favored’ team status to #2, after an 18 penalty Dallas Cowboys game on Thanksgiving day.

NFL cut 3 minutes out of game archive footage to hide the sideline phone call from league offices which overturned the correct ruling on the field.

More to the point however, for the 2009 through 2021 NFL seasons the greatest differential between penalties-per-play-against and penalties-per-play-benefit is held by the Raiders. What Exhibit 2 shows is that in general, it takes 7 less plays executed for the Raiders (1 penalty every 19.3 plays) to be awarded their next penalty flag, as compared to their opponent (one penalty every 26.2 plays). Or put another way, the Raiders were flagged an average of 9.1 times per game, while comparatively their opponents were flagged on average 6.7 times per game – inside a range of feasibility which annually runs from about 9.1 to 5.6 to begin with.  These Raider 2009 – 2021 penalty results are hugging the highest and lowest possible extremes for team-versus-opponent penalty rates respectively.

The bias induced here did not even begin with the infamous 2001 ‘Tuck Rule Game’, where a correct call was made on the field, yet a 3 minute intervention by league offices in the form of a sidelines phone call to referee Walt Coleman, served to overturn his already video-reviewed call on a deciding play, to the disfavor of the Raiders. The footage of the phone call was subsequently edited out of NFL archive films.8 Such is not the activity of an honest organization in the least. Thus, this penalty bias is not the result of mere incompetence – it is willful and malicious. Such bias and the resulting differential, as you will see later in the article, costs the Raiders two to three game victories per season, versus the average NFL team.

This differential in biased officiating costs the Raiders two to three game victories each and every NFL season, versus the average NFL team.

Nevertheless the bottom line is this, and it is unassailable:

The Oakland/Las Vegas Raiders are far and above more penalized than any other NFL team, leading the league as the most penalized team in season-years 1963, 1966, 1968-69, 1975, 1982, 1984, 1991, 1993-96, 2003-05, 2009-11, 2016, and most of 2019 – further then landing in the top 3 penalized teams every year from 1982 through to 2019 with only a few exceptions.9 10 11

The Raiders hold 70% of the records for all-time most penalized teams in NFL history, at ranking slots #1, 3, 4, 7, 8, 9, and 10.12

The notion that the NFL deals with the Raider organization in any kind of objective fashion, has long been put to rest. Most football fans just accept this as a quirk of the league and part of its overall theater.

Argument #2 – History of Drive-Sustaining Penalties Awarded to Opponent

Exhibit 3 – Not only are the Raiders the most penalized, but they are also penalized at the most critical points in the game – times when they have their opponents in ‘3rd down and long (10+ yards)’ situations.

In the case of the Raiders, the overcall/undercall of penalties is not a matter of coaching discipline, as one might reasonably presume based upon outdated team reputation – rather, in many of the years in question the vast majority of the penalty incident imbalances involve calls of merely subtle interpretation on the part of NFL officials. Things which can be called on every single play, but for various reasons, are not called for certain teams, and are more heavily called on a few targeted teams – flags thrown or not thrown at critical moments in a drive, or upon a beneficial turnover or touchdown. To wit, in the chart which I developed in Exhibit 3 to the right, one can discern that not only are the Raiders the most differentially-penalized team in the NFL – but as well, the penalties which are thrown against the Raiders are done so at the most critically-disfavoring moments in their games. Times when the Raiders have forced the opposing team into 3rd down and long circumstances and their opponent therefore needed a break and an automatic first down in order to sustain a scoring drive.

As you may observe in Exhibit 3, a team playing the Raiders in such a circumstance for seasons 2009 – 2021 (and 2019 in particular), bore by far the greatest likelihood of being awarded the subjective-call13 and critical break they needed from NFL officials.14 The detailed data sheet outlining this comparative can be viewed by clicking here. Yet here again, we observe a ‘Human-S’ bias detection curve violation, in terms of drive-sustaining penalty-per-play awards to Raider opponents. All NFL teams stack nicely throughout a reasonable unbiased Human-S curve. Only one team does not.

The net uptake of this is that across their 16-game 2019 season for example, the Raiders had 37 more drives impacted negatively by penalties versus the average NFL team on their schedule – equating to a whopping 96 additional opponent score points (by this Net Drive Points chart from Sports Information Solutions).15

Above and beyond their opponents’ performances along this same index, this equates to at least an additional 6 points per game (because of unknown ball control minutes impact) being awarded to Raider 2019 opponents. Thereby making the difference between a 7 – 9 versus a 10 – 6 record (3 game victories lost) – not to mention the loss of a playoff berth. One can view the calculation tables for this set of data by clicking here. So yes, this disadvantage versus the NFL teams on the Raider’s 2019 schedule was a big deal in terms of their overall season success.

Argument #3 – History of Coaching Discipline versus Referee Discretion Penalties per Play

Exhibit 4 – Raiders fall in a typical distribution group with the average NFL team in regard to team discipline-related penalties. In contrast, it is the referee discretionary penalties where the imbalance is occurring. This is not a discipline issue in the least.

Moreover, calls for objective violations, such as delay of game, too many players on the field, illegal motion/shift, etc., things which are not subject to referee interpretation – analyze these penalties and you find that the Raiders actually perform higher but reasonably so, inside these penalty categories as compared to the NFL average (see lower panel in chart on right). These are the ‘discipline indicator’ class of penalties. In this class of penalty, the Raiders rank in the top half of the NFL, however – and this is important – not nearly to the degree that they exceed the NFL in discretionary penalties. In other words, the Raiders fall on a natural human performance curve in terms of discipline calls (9.8% above the average NFL team), but are treated with severe human-S bias in terms of discretionary and subjective calls.16 

In contrast however, one can glean from the upper panel in Exhibit 4 above, that the Raiders are penalized a full 24% higher than the average NFL team for subjective-call referee discretionary penalties. The Raiders are penalized a full 12.8% higher than even the #2 ranked NFL team in this class of penalty – a ridiculous margin of exception, and once again an extreme violation of the Human-S bias detection curve. Given that the Raider excess in discretionary penalties falls 3.3 standard deviations above the NFL average, coupled with the fact that their excess in discipline penalties falls 0.5 standard deviations above the average NFL team – then Q.E.D. the excess in overall penalties is due almost exclusively to referee discretion, and not team discipline.

Therefore myth busted – Raider excess penalties do not originate from a lack of coaching or team discipline.

It is just a simple statistical fact that the Raiders are examined by League officials with more than double the scrutiny of the average NFL team,17 for the violations of defensive holding, unnecessary roughness, offensive and defensive pass interference, roughing the passer, illegal pick, illegal contact, player disqualification, etc. One can observe the analysis supporting this for NFL seasons 2009 – 2021 by clicking here.18

Accordingly, this renders bullshit the notion that the Raiders are more penalized than other NFL teams ‘because of shortfalls in coaching discipline’. If this were the case, there should be no differential between the objective versus interpretive penalty-type stats. In fact, inside the discipline indicator penalty class, the Raiders fare better than the average NFL team. But this broaches the question, do the coaching penalty statistics then corroborate this intelligence? Yes, as it happens, they do.

Argument #4 – Oakland/Las Vegas Raider Head Coach Penalty Burden

Exhibit 5 – Raider coaches are penalized less in their head coaching stints both before and after their tenure with the Raiders, by a whopping 26.1%.

Further then falsifying this notion that excess Raider penalties are a result of coaching and discipline, are the NFL penalty statistics of the Raider head coaches themselves. Such a notion does not pan out under that evidence either. On average Raider head coaches have been penalized 31.6% higher in their years as a Raider head coach than in their years as head coach of another NFL team. However, for conservancy we have chosen in Exhibit 5 to the right to weight average coach’s contribution by the number of years coached in each role. Thus, from the very first coach Eddie Erdelatz in 1960 through the end of Jon Gruden’s 2021 coaching tenure, conservatively a Raider head coach is penalized 26.1% more in that role as compared to their head coaching stints both before and after their tenure as head coach of the Oakland/Las Vegas Raiders.19

In 2020, head coach Jon Gruden was fined $150,000, and the Raiders organization was fined $500,000 and lost a 6th round draft pick, the largest penalty levied on any team or coach by far, for Gruden letting his Covid mask repeatedly slip too low on his face during a few intense communication moments coaching an NFL game.20 None of the players were wearing masks, and at times distant communication requires an ability to see a coach’s face. Such malicious and epidemiologically-ignorant retribution can only emanate from an organization with a mob mentality at play.

Accordingly, this significant disadvantage has been part of the impetus which has shortened many coach tenures with the Raiders, thereby helping account for the 3.4 year Raider average tenure, versus the 6.6 year average tenure on the part of the same group of coaches both before and after being head coach of the Raiders. One can observe this in Exhibit 5 above, which reflects a blend of eight NFL coaches over the 1979 – 2019 NFL seasons; all prominent NFL coaches who spent significant time – 16 years on average coaching both the Raiders as well as other NFL teams.21 Because of this, and partly because of the 2 to 3 extra losses per year attributable to officiating bias, the Raiders have turned over more coaches since 1995 than any other NFL team.22 This shtick is harming career professionals and their families through unfair mob penalization and look-the-other-way tactics. Stealing from one of their own franchises and its players and coaches.

I go into the Hall of Fame as a coach. I know that I go into the Hall of Fame because of my players and what they did. I’m so proud… Stand up [all of you], enjoy the moment. This is ours. They can’t take it away from us. They can’t ever take this away from us.

~ Former Raiders Head Coach, John Madden – Hall of Fame Enshrinement, 5 Aug 2006

Not even one of the eight multiple-team head coaching nor eleven other-team assistant coaching roles in the entire history of the Raider organization bucked this trend of being higher penalized as a Raider head coach. Not even one of nineteen coaches. Let that sink in. All of these professionals had their careers damaged by the NFL. There is no reasonable possibility, that all these coaches and their variety of organizations could be that undisciplined, almost every single season for 61 years. The data analysis supporting this graphic can be viewed by clicking here.

We insert here for future analysis, a placeholder regarding head coaching penalties (Exhibit 6 below), and the particular conundrum which the NFL faces for the upcoming 2022 season. New Raider Head Coach Josh McDaniels, will go from the least penalized offense in the league, during the 2012 to 2021 timeframe, to the most penalized offense for that same period.

This will be a test of the BS. Good luck NFL!

Exhibit 6 “It was a Fumble” – Josh McDaniels has the best offense penalty record in NFL history. The Raiders have the worst. An irresistible force meets an immovable object. The NFL faces a dilemma as a result.

Argument #5 – Oakland/Las Vegas Raider Player Penalty Burden/Lack of Benefit

Exhibit 7 – Derek Carr does not get elite quarterback protection on par with his peers from NFL referees.

Statistically this coaching differential has to impute to the players’ performances as well, through the association of common base data. As one may observe in Exhibit 7 to the right, since the Raider’s current starting quarterback Derek Carr has entered the NFL, he’s benefited from 14 total ‘Roughing the Passer’ calls in 4142 passing attempts in 118 games. Not one quarterback who has ever played 4,000+ passing snaps, has fewer ‘Roughing the Passer’ calls to their benefit (Avg = 31.2 in the modern era of quarterback protection).23 The analysis behind this can be viewed by clicking here.

Former Raider cornerback D.J. Hayden highlighted this impact as well in his recent contention that he was penalized more as an Oakland Raider than with other teams. In fact if we examine the Pro Football Reference data, indeed Hayden was penalized a total of 35 times during his four years as a Raider defensive back, and only 11 times in his three years with Detroit and Jacksonville. This equates to 35 penalties in 45 games played for the Raiders, compared to only 11 penalties in 41 games played for other teams.24 That reflects a 65% reduction in penalty per game played and 55% reduction in penalty per snap played during his tenure with a team other than the Raiders.25

Exhibit 8 – Raider defensive line careers are marred by their opponents’ permission to hold them more. As well Raider quarterbacks have their offensive linemen scrutinized for holding more than any other team – making them an easier target for pass rushers.

In the two panel chart in Exhibit 8, one can observe that the Raiders defensive squad suffers as well from a lack of holding calls being made to their benefit for 2021. The Raiders led this statistic up until the last few games of the season, wherein the Dallas Cowboys and Los Angeles Chargers were flagged 6 times for holding against the Raiders. Such detrimental impact constitutes a disincentive for players to want to play for a team which is penalized so often, and yet receives so little benefit from opposing team penalties – potentially marring their careers and negatively impacting their dreams for Pro Bowl, MVP or even Hall of Fame selections.

How are the Raiders going to compete for defensive ends and tackles on the free agency market, when every defensive lineman in the league knows that if they come to the Raiders (or in the case of Khalil Mack, stay with the Raiders) they will have fewer tackles, assists and sacks because offensive holding is fair game when applied to the Raiders defense? Defensive end Maxx Crosby was odds-on the most uncalled-held defensive player in the NFL during the 2021 season (ergo the upper panel in Exhibit 8). If you as a Raider defensive end or tackle do get through the holding, you bear a 40% higher chance of getting called for Roughing the Passer versus the average NFL team (see panel A in the image to below right in Argument #6).

For that matter, what about quarterbacks? Every free agent quarterback in the league knows they will be an injury target if they play for the Raiders, because of excessive holding scrutiny on their offensive line (lower panel in Exhibit 8), coupled with a dearth of roughing the passer calls to aid in their protection (see Derek Carr ‘Roughing the Passer Benefit Calls’ in Exhibit 7 above). Chargers defensive end Joey Bosa contended this year concerning Derek Carr that “once you get pressure on him, he kind of shuts down.”26 I do not think that this is the case, however were that indeed true he has good reason. Mr. Bosa, your quarterback Justin Herbert receives 22% more advantageous offensive holding and 60% better roughing the passer call protection by NFL referees as compared to Derek Carr.27 

This is part of the reason I believe, as to why the badge-of-honor tag-phrase has evolved “Once a Raider, Always a Raider”. In order to play for the Raiders, you pretty much have to acknowledge this shtick inside your career, and live with it for life.

Should we now highlight every player and coach in the NFL Hall of Fame with a ‘Played for the Oakland Raiders’ asterisk now? A twisted reverse form of Major League Baseball’s steroid-penalty asterisk?

Argument #6 – Lack of Natural Variation between The Big Nine Penalties

Exhibit 9 – Even if one team is undisciplined, that lack of discipline should show up as variance in the Big Nine penalties. The variance is not there. This is bias of ascription and not an intrinsic team trait.

In fact, if we examine the Big Nine penalties, the ones which cost teams entire games, seasons, and championships, we see a consistent bias confirmed inside their relative variance. The Big Nine penalties are bullet-pointed below, and are further then outlined in the series of charts in Exhibit 9 to the right.

  • A  Roughing the Passer
  • B  Defensive Holding
  • B  Defensive Pass Interference
  • C  Unnecessary Roughness (UR)
  • C  Personal Foul (PF)
  • C  Unsportsmanlike Conduct (UC)
  • C  Player Disqualification
  • D  Offensive Holding
  • D  Illegal Use of Hands

No single team in a league with parity such as the NFL, is bad at everything. Apparently the Raiders are bad at everything, and in equal magnitude as to how bad. All statistics with an absolute variation (minimum to maximum in each Exhibit 9 panel) equal to 100% or more of their base magnitude (chart minimum), should also feature a larger natural variation among statistical members. That variation should naturally exist – and glaringly, it does not. A single factor, other than the normal chaos of game play or even team bad habits, is causing the Raiders to float to the top of all these big-impact penalties types. Since we have falsified the notion that Raider excess penalties originate from coaching and player discipline, this flags therefore a consistent bias in the calling of the Big Nine penalties. The reader should note as well, the team in red highlight in Exhibit 9, panel C – this also, is a flag of that very same Human-S bias (albeit favoritism in this case).

In the end, all such systemic bias serves to do is erode NFL brand, cost the NFL its revenue – and most importantly, harm fans, players, coaches and families.

NFL, your brand and reputation has drifted since the infamous Tuck Rule Game, into becoming ‘Bill Belichick and the Zebra Street Boys’. Yours is a brand containing the word ‘National’, and as a league you should act accordingly to protect it.

And finally, the least valid thing one can do is to blame all this corrupt NFL activity on the colorful Oakland fan-base itself, as sports writer Christopher Hansen suggested in his 2012 Bleacher Report article on excessive Raider penalties:28 NFL-friendly, ‘Angles’ 1, 2, 3, and 4, in this article failed to be effective. The NFL bias against the Raiders only got worse after 2012.

Amy Trask did an excellent job last season of making sure CBS showed families attending the games in Oakland instead of the typical “guy in a costume” camera shots. More initiatives aimed at creating a positive image of the Raiders will go to helping clean up the penalty issue. The heart of the fanbase should remain unchanged, but it doesn’t hurt to sand off the sharp edges when presenting it to the world.

Yes, Raider fans are a rowdy bunch, menacing in appearance in some cases, and have resided for decades in a stadium complex that could be likened to a prison. But in no reasonable mind, would one contend that the “guy in a costume” Raider fan helped fuel a negative image which compelled an ‘understandable’ NFL bias against the Raider organization itself. In fact, every fan base in the league has emulated what the Raider fans started here. While I applaud what Amy attempted in 2012, this constituted nothing but kowtowing to the NFL and its shtick. Playing their game exactly the way they want it played – on an unlevel gridiron. This is assigning blame to the ‘sharp edged’ and ‘negative image’ Raider fans themselves and nothing more.

When you examine the history of the data outlined above, much of this patterning in bias remains consistent, decade after decade. It is systemic. It is agency. One can find and download into a datamart or spreadsheet for their own derivation, the history of NFL penalties by game, type, team, etc. here: NFL Penalty Tracker. Go and look for yourself, and you will see that what I am saying is true.

A Profile in Modern Mafia-Like Activity

Collectively, all this malfeasance is known inside any other professional context as ‘bias’ or could even be construed by angry fans as cheating – and when members of an organization are forced under financial/career penalty to remain silent about such activity (extortion, such as in the case of Jon Gruden’s past objections to NFL officiating), when you observe harmed coaches, players, and franchises; and more importantly members of the free press as well, biting their tongue over this issue – this starts to become reminiscent of prohibition era 18 U.S.C. § 1961 – U.S. Code Racketeering activity.

This condition has gone on for five or six decades, ostensibly since, but in reality much further back than the notorious ‘Tuck Rule’ AFC Championship Game. The video of this game can no longer be found in its original form because the NFL edited out over 2 minutes of original broadcast air time, in order to conceal the game’s overturning – by means of a league phone call intervention with the referees, who had just issued the critical fumble call in favor of the Raiders – and handing the game instead to New England.

It took me a while in order to come to this realization that the NFL is indeed a modern form of mafia. Remember, that the Soviet Union was simply a criminal enterprise (mob) who took over Russia’s government so it could have exclusive ownership of the nation’s oil and gas reserves. The NFL employs the same tactics as that resurgent mob uses to enforce their will on European trading partners even today.29 The NFL has refused to shake off this vendetta for more than 50 years now. Moreover, because of

  • the presence of closed-door threats and fines to its members in order to silence them regarding its torts,30
  • intimidation and defamation of those outsiders who have disclosed or monitored the NFL’s illegal activity,31
  • preplanned hit-jobs on disfavored members which sought to harm those targeted members in a context and to a degree beyond that of mere employment; essentially seeking to in-advance, maliciously/vengefully/publicly destroy their chosen livelihood, family, and life, and not simply ‘terminate them for cause’ (such as the case of NFL-officiating and Roger Goodell critic Jon Gruden in 2021),32 33
  • constraint of trade (trust activity) in player contracts/draft selection/marketability,34
  • constraint of trade (trust racketeering) for the sole intent of an implicit threat, and harm to coaches’, sportswriters’, and players’ careers (see Arguments #3 and 4 above),35
  • monopolistic overcharging for services,36
  • constraint of trade (trust activity)/business tampering against a franchise,37
  • predatory market control and blocking of access/promotion (monopoly) activity,38
  • contract fraud with customers (see below),39
  • the NFL’s admission in a court of law that NFL games may at times indeed be fixed (Mayer v. Belichick/NFL, 2010),40
  • the revenue gained through under-the-table and malicious manipulation of the success of specific football teams/games/seasons,41

and finally

  • the incumbent manipulated flow (from all of the above) of grey market money (gambling fraud),42

the National Football League is actually not a cartel, rather they are therefore more akin to a modern mafia by definition.43 44 Apparently, some bad blood developed between power silos back in the NFL-AFL merger, and that acrimony has persisted to this day – just as is characteristic of any mafia.

Three years is a business quality control issue.
Sixty years is a mafia issue.
Businesses forget, mafias however do not.

This as much as anything is indicative of the NFL’s mafia mindset. To wit, the NFL had to be forced by the US Supreme Court in a 2010 case, to admit its hidden contract terms outlining that fans are not purchasing viewing rights to a ‘fair’ event in the first place.45 The NFL tacitly admitted in this legal case that any particular game might indeed be fixed (no stipulation as to ‘by whom’).

The NFL argued in Mayer v. Belichick, 2010 in essence, that since it cannot guarantee that players, coaches, stadiums, or officials will not cheat, therefore it cannot guarantee the paying spectator a ‘fair’ game – but rather merely, ‘entertainment’.46

However this principle has limits in the form of, “I cannot be held responsible for Acts of God. Oh, and I forgot to inform you as well, that I am God.”

There exists no legal permissive which allows the NFL to therefore regard itself as bearing defacto license to also cheat as it may see fit. In other words, the NFL has asserted successfully here in Mayer v. Belichick, that it cannot be held to account legally, for things which are not under its control. Therefore, entertainment. This is sound.

However, the NFL cannot also claim that 6 decades of demonstrated intent to harm business partners is ‘a form of entertainment’. The NFL had plenty of time to detect, measure, plan for, and take actions surrounding this harm, which was under its full and sole control. It was notified repeatedly of this shortfall and harm by the Raider organization itself.47

Did the NFL also not pay its vendors during these decades as well, and claim that it was exempt from contractual debt because it was merely a form of entertainment?

Let us change now the context of deliberation, to those things which are under the control, and sole control, of the NFL as a business, and not merely a form of entertainment. It is contract fraud to bill specific targeted customers48 who are being misled in a purchase of a product which is touted to be one thing, but is surreptitiously planned in advance to be delivered intentionally defective. Harmfully defective to only, and consistently only, those specific customers’ and businesses’ detriment – by means of a contract failure undertaken solely on the part of the NFL. Contracts, business, and their incumbent span-of-control, do not constitute a form of entertainment. They have teeth. They bite. This is an uncompromised legal principle inside of entertainment. Otherwise no one could successfully contract a cinematic or Broadway production legally.

I personally paid $29,000 to NFL Sunday Ticket and DirectTV over the last two decades of viewing NFL games, being misled by the false NFL claim that I was enjoining sporting league events wherein my preferred (or wagered) team, the Raiders, had a chance of success through skill, draft selection, talent, coaching, and ball bounces. I was not disclosed the NFL organization’s conspiracy to disadvantage the Raiders, when I entered into this agreement.

   Mafia Legal Litmus

The targeting of the Raider franchise is a materially different legal litmus from Mayer v. Belichick, 2010. The instance wherein an organization maliciously and consistently disfavors, inside its sole span-of-control, a single team (business) over decades (to the harm of many financially at-risk entities), remains

  1. consumer and business contract fraud,
  2. fraud in the inception, by failure to disclose hidden contract terms in a timely and suitable manner,
  3. knowledgeable delivery of a concealed-harm product, whose defect was designed in advance to harm specific financial entities, and did not originate in any way from influences not under NFL control,
  4. Item 1 – 3 failures to perform under contract were executed under scienter, and five decades of increasing scienter,49
  5. monopoly price gouging,
  6. conspiracy in restraint of trade (trust activity), and finally
  7. racketeering conspiracy to conceal Item 1 – 6 activities, by means of intimidation unto silence and quiescence, through implicit and demonstrated threats to employees, vendors, coaches, harmed businesses, players, media, analysts, announcing crews, and sponsors.

separate legal torts from the NFL’s ‘fair game’ argument disclosed in Mayer v. Belichick. Someone will eventually press this legal distinction and will win their case.

Finally, regardless of the NFL’s ‘fair game’ exclusion, if a Party withholds the terms of a contract they solicited to another Party, only later revealing those terms in the context of a ‘counter-argument’ in a legal proceeding regarding that contract, then a fortiori the contract was fraudulent in the inception. Those terms had to be disclosed prior to the agreement taking place. Disclosing those terms in a 2010 Supreme Court case, is far too after-the-fact to avoid contract fraud collective action brought by millions of financially harmed Raider spectators like myself.

If the NFL had subtexted in its ads promoting its network games or NFL Sunday Ticket, “The NFL reserves the right to influence individual game outcomes and moreover favor or disfavor various teams at its sole discretion.” well then they would have an argument.

The NFL failed to inform me however, that my preferred team would be surreptitiously and maliciously disfavored, to the point where they bore a lower chance of success.

This is a pivotal reason why I dumped NFL Sunday Ticket and DirectTV. I am not into being bilked of hard-earned household money by a mafia.

Update (Dec 2019): NFL is reportedly planning a “top-down review” of the league’s officiating during the 2020 offseason.

Update (Jan 2022): In the 2021 season this ‘top-down review’ served to do nothing. The Raiders once again for the 2021 season, bore the largest spread in penalties per play, only to be displaced to #5 at the end of the season after Cowboys’ (18) and Chargers’ (14) heavy penalty games.50 Notice as well, which team is far and above favored by NFL referees in terms of both low penalties for their team, coupled with high penalties for their opponents. Not saying I am predicting that Cincinnati will make it to and win the Super Bowl, but I would not be surprised.

Such shenanigans represent the everpresence and impact of agency (not merely bias). Bias can be mitigated; however, agency involves the power incumbent with such structures as the cartel, cabal and mafia. This case example in corruption regarding the NFL demonstrates how mob-Soviet-agency can manipulate inflection dynamics to reach a desired tipping point – after which one can sit in their university or league office and enjoy tenure, all the way to magnanimous victory. The only tasks which remain are to protect the indigo point secret formula by means of an appropriate catch phrase, and as well assign plant media figures such as Josh Dubow, to patrol social discourse and chastise anyone (like me) who steps out of line.

An ethical skeptic maintains a different view as to how people should be treated, and championships, ethical markets, as well as scientific understanding, should be prosecuted and won.

The Ethical Skeptic, “NFL Bias Against the Oakland/Las Vegas Raiders”; The Ethical Skeptic, WordPress, 20 Oct 2021; Web, https://theethicalskeptic.com/?p=53350