Hell Freezes Over – Raiders are the Least Penalized Team in the NFL for the First Time in History
see “2023 NFL Season Weekly Tracking – Through Week 12 of 18” at end of Argument #1
Documented within this study in excruciating detail and recitation is the extreme level of bias applied against the Oakland/Las Vegas Raiders on the part of the NFL. A form of manifest and egregious unlevel playing field, which has malingered now for seven long decades.
The outcome of any one game or season is of course a matter of entertainment or belly-aching fans. Three years of bias is a product quality issue. What is documented in this article in contrast, are seven decades of bias (inside a wagering-promotion context no less) – a matter of organized mafia.
“[An anonymous] team executive told ESPN there is ‘a real groundswell of unhappiness with officiating that is much deeper than I’ve seen and frankly, I haven’t seen in this league in years.‘ “~ ESPN, NFL officiating under scrutiny, 13 Jan 2023
Syndicates cheat. After all, that is one of the primary reasons for their existence. One example as to how a syndicate bias works, involves a circumstance in which the bias itself is woven inside the fabric of propriety, leveraging the subjective nature of shades-of-color interpretations and hard-to-distinguish absences. Such an approach to bias employs shortfalls in official conduct which are very cleverly apportioned to effect a desired outcome. It exploits the systemic effect of individual and unconscious prejudices, which are selectively not challenged – a form of passive activity every bit as impactful as is proactive bias. A style of manipulation which is very difficult to detect at face value.1
Applied bias is the spice which makes the chef-d’œuvre. It delivers to its participant, a heady sense of power born of personal cleverness. Accordingly, a bias is most sustainable and effective when it is enacted through errors of omission not commission, is applied marginally enough to enact the goal and no further, and finally when it is exercised under a facade of otherwise rigorous diligence. Mafia activity in particular, is best conducted below the radar, while bearing a stately manner regarding all things in which the syndicate is involved. Ensure that your word is the only authorized and official one. Intimidate or coerce participants and journalists into remaining silent. Appoint pa-trolls which seek to discredit and attack any form dissent. This is how master syndicates go about their surreptitious and deceptive activity.
Bias is most scalable when it is latent, and does not necessarily require conspiracy.
Indigo Point raison d’être: Interpretive penalty calls/no-calls at critical Indigo Points and rates of application which benefit perennially favored teams and disadvantage targeted teams and their fan bases.
I viewed 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’.
Within this article, we seek to analyze this bias as it pertains to one organization in particular. Upon assimilation of this material, eight conclusions from the data will become crystal clear to the reader:
- The Oakland/Las Vegas Raiders are targeted for penalty by NFL referees far more than any other league team (Argument #1).
- On any given week, Raider opponents are among the least-penalized teams in the league (Argument #1).
- When the Raiders are penalized, those penalties tend to be ‘big ticket’ high-yardage penalties, as compared to all other NFL teams (Argument #6).
- When the Raiders are penalized, those penalties tend to arrive at the most disfavoring and critical moments of a typical game, as compared to all other NFL teams (Argument #2).
- The penalty excess levied upon the Raiders is composed heavily by referee discretionary calls as compared to all other NFL teams, and do not originate from the NFL-promoted myth of ‘shortfalls in team discipline’ (Argument #3).
- This bias has costs the Raiders 3.7 games each NFL season, a penalty-induced loss rate which is 350% higher than all the other disfavored league teams (Argument #2).
- This bias has been used to target specific organization members, players, coaches, and fan bases for tortious harm and retribution (Argument #’s 1, 2, 4 and 5).
- This bias has been tolerated, wilful, sanctioned, controlled, and sustained solely by the NFL organization itself for seven decades (Argument #’s 1, 4, 5, 6, and closing), and as such fails to meet the elements of a ‘mere form of entertainment’ legal defense.
NFL Targets a Specific Team and Fan Base for Harm: Case of the Oakland/Las Vegas Raiders
Argument #1 – The 2009 – 2022 Penalty Detriment-Benefit Spread and Raider Seven Decade Penalty History
As one may observe in Exhibit 1a 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 three (seven in actuality) decades 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 seven 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.2 To wit, the curve which is created by the flow of these blue bars in Exhibit 1a 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.3
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 2009-2022, can be observed in Exhibit 1b below. I created this through analyzing the penalty databases at NFLPenalties.com.4 The detailed data analysis for both the Exhibit 1b ‘spread’ and Exhibit 1a ‘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 92% worse than even the #3 disfavored team in the NFL from 2009 through the end of the 2022 season. Amazingly, these years were not even as highly biased as were many of the prior years back to 1968. Seven decades of bias on the part of the NFL and its officiating.
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 the majority 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. The fact that this coincided with Jon Gruden’s return as head coach of the Raiders was no accident.
That imbalance was the absurdity which became the impetus for this article. One can view the supporting analysis for that assessment by clicking here. Again, in similar fashion for the 2022 season, this same ‘fake it until you make it (happen)’ pattern on the part of the NFL repeated. As soon as the dirty deed was accomplished and the Raider season was fait accompli, the officiating bias suddenly faded for the final few remaining games of the season. Throughout this process of ‘minding the store’, I began to gain a sense that I was being consistently and cleverly swindled out of household entertainment budget by the NFL, through delivery an intentionally-defective product.
More to the point however, for the 2009 through 2022 NFL seasons the greatest differential between penalties-per-play-against and penalties-per-play-benefit is held by the Raiders. What Exhibit 1b shows is that in general, it takes 7.3 fewer plays executed for the Raiders (1 penalty every 20.2 plays) to be awarded their next penalty flag, as compared to their opponents (one penalty every 27.5 plays). Or put another way, the Raiders were flagged an average of 8.6 times per game, while comparatively their opponents were flagged on average 6.5 times per game – inside a relevant range of feasibility which only runs from about 8.6 to 6.0 to begin with. In other words, these Raider 2009 – 2022 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-confirmed call on a deciding play, to the disfavor of the Raiders. Let me say that again. Walt Coleman had already video-reviewed and made the correct call before the NFL intervened.
The footage of the NFL phone call was subsequently edited out of NFL archive films.5 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 around 4 games (3.7) per season, versus merely 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 – 2022 – further then landing in the top 3 penalized teams every year from 1982 through to 2022 with only a few exceptions.6 7 8
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 10.9
~ Ashley Anderson; The Most Penalized Teams in NFL History
[The Raiders] have been either the #1 or #2 most penalized team in the league a combined 23 times; or, 37% of the time. We have been in the top 3 in penalties a combined 29 times or 46% of the time. Which in turn means we have spent almost half of our time being in the top 3 in penalties in all of football. We have been in the top 5 in penalties a whopping 41 times out of 63 seasons. Which in turn means, we have spent 65% of the time in the top 5 in penalties. Top 10? 53 times in 63 seasons, or 84% of the time we have been in the top 10 in all of football. Or to reverse engineer, only 10 measly seasons in 63 have we played where we were not in the top 10.~ ’16 to 88′, at raiderforums.com
Now let’s set aside the fact that the NFL was sued by Al Davis in 1983, lost that much-heralded lawsuit, and had to pay damages to the Raider organization specifically for the complaint of biased officiating.10 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.
Current Season Supplement (Argument #1)
Therefore, we now track each season-week’s team ranking progress in Exhibit 1c below. To wit, for the 2023 season to date:
Hell Freezes Over – Raiders are the Least Penalized Team in the NFL for the First Time in History
2023 NFL Season Weekly Tracking – Through Week 12 of 18
The TES Article Effect – A dramatic exception has transpired in Raider team history (penalty and penalty differential rankings). Through week 12 of the 2023 season, the Raiders are the least penalized team in the NFL. In addition, Raider opponents have actually been penalized significantly more than have the Raiders.
Keynoting the absurd nature of this plummet, is the trend line in Penalties per Play (PPP – red line in panel 1 of Exhibit 1c), wherein the Raiders moved from a #4 rank, to #32 across the season thus far. Such a dramatic change, transpiring despite the fact that data inertia increases each successive week, does not happen by accident. This has also never happened in 7 decades of NFL football. Key notes:
Did you notice that the NFL is having NFL Senior Vice President of Officiating, Walt Anderson, do official on-demand explanations of referee calls/no-calls on Monday Night Football, October 30, 2023? Oh yes, they read this article.
For a team to move from seven decades of top-3 ranking (most at #1), to the #32 (red below) least penalized ranking in a matter of 8 weeks, suggests that a new damage control program is now underway in NFL officiating.
To Kansas City’s credit, they are the most heavily differentially-penlized (PPPD) team in the NFL (a rank usually met by the Raiders). They hold a sizeable lead by that measure at .0237 and still have a record of 8 – 3. Well done, Chiefs.
For the 2022 Season, the Raiders were ranked #1 in terms of PYPPD, and #3 in PPPD, PYPP, and PPP. Something has changed dramatically for the 2023 Season, when compared both to last season as well as the last 7 decades. An amazing turnabout which I am calling ‘The TES Article Effect’, simply because no one else has hit the NFL this hard over this issue (certainly not sportswriters):
Metric / Ranking 2023 2022
Penalties per Play = #32 # 3
Penalty Yards per Play Differential = #29 # 1
Penalty per Play Differential = #28 # 3
Penalty Yards per Play = #27 # 3
Yards per Penalty = # 9 #16
Argument #2 – History of Drive-Sustaining, Game-Winning, and Red Zone Penalties Awarded to Opponent
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 Exhibit 2a 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 and/or 4th Quarter critical break they needed from NFL officials.12
The reader should note that the worst year in terms of this type of egregious ‘third-and-long’ penalty impact against the Raiders, as shown in the upper panel of Exhibit 2a above, was 2019. This was the year Jon Gruden returned as head coach of the Raiders. Just as the 2019 Season penalty-per-play differential was no accident, this also was no accident. This should be used as part of the material discovery in Jon Gruden’s lawsuit against the NFL.
As well, in Exhibit 2b below two supporting perspectives on this bias are offered. The first depicts a query of penalties per play during 3rd and long and 4th and long circumstances in the 4th Quarter or Overtime of all games played between 2009 and 2022. The second offers an abysmal perspective during those same season years, regarding penalties per play anytime either team is in a game-critical short yardage situation. Just as in Exhibit 2a above, the Raiders lead in both these ignominious statistics as well. It is not uncommon to witness a defensive or offensive holding call against the Raiders, which leaves the announcers scratching their heads upon replay, during the last critical minutes of a tight game, on 3rd or 4th down, inside the red zone, far away from the play itself, or long after the passer has exited the pocket or the play has ended – which then indeed decides the outcome of the game.
As you may observe in Exhibits 2a and 2b, a team playing the Raiders in all these game-on-the-line circumstances, for seasons 2009 – 2022, bore by far the greatest likelihood of being awarded the 3rd and long, red zone, short-yardage, 4th quarter or overtime subjective call they needed. The detailed data sheet outlining this comparative for Exhibit 2a can be viewed by clicking here.13 The detailed data for Exhibit 2b is contained within the exhibit itself.
The reader should notice that while Seattle is ranked second in overall penalties-per-play differential behind the Raiders in Exhibit 1b, it is ranked as the most favored team in terms of game-critical penalties (Exhibit 2b). Exhibit 2c below demonstrates that the bias targets not simply the Raiders as a team, but also critical game-moments and season outcomes for the Raiders as well (average of both charts in Exhibit 2b above). To wit, examine below where this multi-factorial bias is seen most clearly in terms of games cost per season (3.7) for the Raiders. Notice as well, the most favored team in the league for the 2009 – 2022 seasons on the bottom left of the chart.
Yet here again in Exhibits 2a, 2b, and 2c we observe a ‘Human-S’ bias detection curve violation, in terms of game-on-the-line penalty-per-play awards to Raider opponents. All NFL teams stack nicely throughout a reasonable unbiased Human-S curve. Only one team does not. As well, in the left hand panel of Exhibit 2b and lower left side of Exhibit 2c, one can observe that the same particular perennially favored team, appears yet again at the very bottom of the list, as the most favored team in the NFL in terms game-deciding penalty awards.
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).14 This differential cost the Raiders 5 entire game losses during the 2022 season alone.
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 or more game victories lost, per Exhibit 2c) – 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 just the average NFL team is indeed a very big deal in terms of their overall success each season.
This bias costs the Raiders on average a 2 to 6 points per game and 3 to 4 games per season disadvantage versus just the average NFL team.
Argument #3 – History of Referee Discretionary versus Team Discipline Penalties per Play
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.15
In contrast however, one can glean from the upper panel in Exhibit 3 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,16 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.17
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
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 4 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.18
Two wit, the NFL conducted several “malicious and orchestrated campaigns” against Raider head coach Jon Gruden after his return to coaching the Raiders:
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.19 None of the players were wearing masks, and at times distant communication requires an ability to see a coach’s face.
In addition, the timing of the NFL’s persecution/termination of Jon Gruden over long-held cherry-picked emails to friends, was crafted so as to enact the maximum amount of damage possible to both Jon Gruden personally, as well as to the Raider organization, their fans, and their 2021 football season.20
Such schemed, malicious, egregious, and epidemiologically-ignorant retributions 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 4 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 3 to 4 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.
Argument #5 – Oakland/Las Vegas Raider Player Penalty Burden/Lack of Benefit
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 5a 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 (and now deceased) cornerback D.J. Hayden highlighted this impact as well in his 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
In the two panel chart in Exhibit 5b, 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 5b). 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 5b), coupled with a dearth of roughing the passer calls to aid in their protection (see Derek Carr ‘Roughing the Passer Benefit Calls’ in Exhibit 5a 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 Once Derek Carr plays for another team, you will notice how well he and other former Raider players perform, when they know the other team will get called for illegal play. They no longer have a price on their head.
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
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 6 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 6 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 6, 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.
In the end, the NFL did not seek Pete Rozelle’s 1970’s notion of ‘parity’ in order to make less-strong teams more competitive. Rather, the NFL sought parity in order to render the contribution of their officials a surreptitious but greater overall influence upon the outcome of the game than talent, coaching, or ball-bounces.
As we have seen herein, the NFL did not acquire this newfound power in order to benevolently spread the love around. Instead it used that power to punish and favor specific teams as its executive committee desired – over seven decades. There never existed any intent of ‘parity’ on the part of the NFL. The claim that ultimate power will by default, be wielded fairly by the power-holding entity, constitutes an extraordinary claim. To wit, we now address that notion with regard to the NFL itself.
Ultimate Power Corrupts Ultimately: 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. Such Racketeering activity has gone on for seven decades and harmed me personally in terms of a significant amount of monetary loss.
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 Russo-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 half a century 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 to the maximum extent possible, 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 34
- fraudulently forging archival video footage to obfuscate evidence of past malfeasance/corruption.35
- constraint of trade (trust activity) in player contracts/draft selection/marketability,36
- 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),37
- monopolistic overcharging for services,38
- constraint of trade (trust activity)/business tampering/biased officiating against a franchise,39
- tampering with a jury during trial deliberations against the NFL,40
- predatory market control and blocking of access/promotion (monopoly) activity,41
- contract fraud with customers (see below),42
- the NFL’s admission in a court of law that NFL games may at times indeed be fixed (Mayer v. Belichick/NFL, 2010),43
- the revenue gained through under-the-table and malicious manipulation of the success of specific football teams/games/seasons,44
- the incumbent manipulated flow (from all of the above) of grey market money (gambling fraud),45
the National Football League is actually not a cartel, rather they are therefore more akin to a modern mafia by definition.46 47 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.
Seven decades 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.48 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 possess a bias, therefore it cannot guarantee the paying spectator a ‘fair game’ – but rather merely, ‘entertainment’.49
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 are two legal principles here at play, not simply one. 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. No ‘fair game’, therefore ‘a game’ is entertainment, therefore finding in favor of the defendant. This is sound.
The NFL cannot also claim that seven decades of demonstrated intent to harm business partners and customers is also a consequence of ‘entertainment’, nor that it is congruent in context with a ‘fair game’ principle. 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.50
Did the NFL also decide to not pay its vendors or employees during these decades as well, and claim that it was exempt from contractual debt because it could not guarantee a ‘fair game’? The same protection afforded vendors and employees, is also afforded customers in terms of the product they are intentionally delivered in a defective state. There is no legal permissive which allows a company to abuse its customers at will.
By purposely abusing the Raiders, the NFL has failed to deliver a contracted product to a business partner, who paid money in good faith, inside a contract whose elements were under the full and sole control of the NFL – this is no different than paying a utility bill.
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 customers51 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. Not something outside the NFL’s control at all. 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.
No, the NFL still bears liability for shortfalls in service that reside under its direct and sole control. Seven decades of officiating and organizational corruption, is manifestly a matter of the NFL’s direct and sole control.
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 or season outcomes and moreover favor or disfavor various teams at its sole discretion over long periods of time.” well then they would have an argument.
The NFL failed to inform me however, that my preferred team would be surreptitiously and maliciously disfavored by their organization, to the point where they bore a lower chance of success for seven straight decades.
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.
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.
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
- consumer and business contract fraud,
- fraud in the inception, by failure to disclose hidden contract terms in a timely and suitable manner,
- res ipsa loquitur 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,
- Item 1 – 3 failures to perform under contract were executed under scienter, and five decades of increasing scienter,52
- monopoly price gouging,
- conspiracy in restraint of trade (trust activity), and finally
- 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.
The NFL has waged aggressive campaigns against those that have sought to ‘expose’ it’s more unsightly doings, Tuohy said. He brings up investigative journalist Dan Moldea, who alleged that NFL ‘security guards’ followed him during the press tour for his 1989 book, “Interference: How Organized Crime Influences Professional Football.” “The NFL went out of their way, as a smear campaign, to destroy that book,” Tuohy said. “They actually hired someone…to write a negative review of the book in The New York Times.” Tuohy said the league is guilty of employing the same tactics against ‘its enemies’ today.”~ Uncommon Journalism at November 24, 201353
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 to patrol social discourse and chastise anyone 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.
Update (Dec 2019): NFL is reportedly planning a “top-down review” of the league’s officiating during the 2020 offseason (Note: This ‘review’ had no relative impact whatsoever).
The Ethical Skeptic, “NFL Bias Against the Oakland/Las Vegas Raiders”; The Ethical Skeptic, WordPress, 20 Oct 2021; Web, https://theethicalskeptic.com/?p=53350