Almanac NFL: The 2023 Rod Marinelli Cup – Week Eight


Greetings Tipsters

Raiders, everyone’s heard of the Raiders, one of the original American Football League teams from 1960. Al Davis became coach and GM in 1962, black and silver, angry attitude, “Just win, baby.”

Al was not a nice man, but he was smart and effective, had a lean, intense look. He took part ownership of the Raiders in ’66, was point man in the late 60s negotiations that led to the AFL-NFL merger because Lamar Hunt knew that he needed a loudmouth asshole to get it done. And who better than the man who ran a football team in a back paddock in the same town where Sonny Barger built Hell’s Angels.

1969, John Madden got the coach job and built the Raiders aura. Jim Otto and Gene Upshaw on the O line, covering Ken “How much sleep do you need to play football?” Stabler, back when AFC teams threw the ball and NFC teams ran it, Raiders won Superbowl XI.

Four years later, another coach, another quarterback, another Superbowl. Two years later, a contentious move to Los Angeles, which gave several lawyers the opportunity to buy mansions, and crowds that scared the hell out of any fan who wasn’t a gangster.

Back to Oakland, where the stadium collapsed, JaMarcus Russell proved to be one of the alltime classic draft busts, Al died mid season 2011 and his son Mark took over. Mark has most of his Dad’s poor attributes and buggerall of his good ones.

Granted, he did manage the move to Las Vegas and a state of the art stadium. He signed Jon Gruden to a ten year, $100M contract, which blew up, the DC took over and the team did okay, but Mark then hired Josh McDaniels…

Oh dear…

Josh is a Belichick disciple. He had one and a bit seasons in charge of Broncos, ruined them, got sacked, signed w Colts, backed out a week later, signed w Raiders for ’22, and was sacked late Tuesday night, him and the GM and OC. Josh has become a legend for idiotic play calls, stupid clock management and an all-round total dumbarse approach to everything.

Last year, Raiders signed Davante Adams, who had enjoyed several years of catching Aaron Rodgers’ beautifully lofted passes, he was looking forward to playing with Derek Carr, his ol’ college quarterback. Josh didn’t like Derek, he benched him in favour of some scrub whose name I have forgotten. Derek is one hotshit preacher and not a bad QB, he’s spreading the Word of the Lord in New Orleans this year.

Josh signed drop dead handsome Jimmy Garoppalo, who’d hung around the Pats for a while, then went to San Francisco, where he established himself as a semi-competent passer who got injured regularly and never played a full season.

Last week, Raiders went to Detroit, the Lions O played like crap but they never looked like losing. Davante threw his helmet at the ground – not at Josh, as one might’ve expected – he’s a fantastic reciever and knows that he is wasting his time on a craparse team that refused to trade him.

Ken Stabler and John Madden would never have taken that crap. Oh, sure, it was the 1970s when the game was defined by brutal violence and Ken’s team-mates would recoil at his bourbon breath in the huddle. But they played for him, they knew he was gonna do whatever it took.

There’s a beaut of a scene in ‘Any Given Sunday’ when the ageing, beat up quarterback gets back in the huddle, drops a joke and the players are with him, yes, we will die for you. Last week, eight quarterbacks copped serious injuries, none more so than Kirk Cousins tearing his Achilles tendon eight weeks into the best season he’d ever played, at 35.

Meanwhile, Deshaun Watson, on a fully guaranteed $230M, says “Oh no, I don’t feel too good, cannot play” and finds a young masseuse who hasn’t heard of the twenty two masseueses who sued him for being a wanker footballer who thought he could get away with it.

Kirk is good, not great, but you know his O line would do anything for him. Deshaun could be great, but never will be and that’s why the O line would rather bust a gut for a plucky backup than the wanker that can’t be arsed.

Cheers Tipsters

P&C, A 34K Production, a division of Trans Dementia Inc.


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About Earl O'Neill

Freelance gardener, I've thousands of books, thousands of records, one fast motorcycle and one gorgeous smart funny sexy woman. Life's pretty darn neat.


  1. Not so much a weekly report as an extended riff on human folly through the eyes of a football team. Great stuff.
    Lived in Los Angeles in 1988 (avoiding the bicentenary) and saw the Magic/Kareem/Riley Lakers and the Gibson/Hershisher/Lasorda Dodgers. And Santa Anita and Hollywood Park (regrettably). Never gave a moment’s thought to the Raiders. Legendary LA Times sports columnist (more notable than a reporter) Jim Murray assured us that Davis was a crook and the team a joke. Plus ce’ change,,,,,,,,
    Your mention of Lamar Hunt reminded me of his less savoury brothers Nelson Bunker (owner of legendary racehorse Dahlia) and William Herbert who cornered the silver market in 1979 buying a third of the world’s supply and bidding up the price 5x. They made $4B in a year (back when a billion was real money) before it all came crashing down like a Sam Bankman Fried prototype and the brothers had to file for bankruptcy. Nelson was also an early Trump prototype who funded the John Birch Society and George Wallace’s 1968 bid for the presidency.
    Lamar kept his nose clean – stuck to sports and played a leading role in American soccer and pro tennis as well as gridiron. His second wife Norma a former “hostess” for the Dallas Texans was the only woman to attend every Super Bowl from 1967 until her death in June this year. Lamar’s family still own the Kansas City Chies and Dallas NSL teams. Fortunate lives.

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