It had to be the Raiders, didn’t it?

Jon Gruden’s Vegas gamble.
Jon Gruden’s Vegas gamble.
Image: (Getty Images)

For as much as the Pats get shit for it, mostly because they were the most successful, every football team loves to find ways to flout the rules. It’s what they do. If you ain’t cheatin’, you ain’t tryin’ as the saying goes. You have to be willing to do what the other guy won’t. That’s the defining moral imperative of every football coach. 18 hours in the office a day? Sure. Haven’t had a day off since 1994? Easily managed. And ignoring the NFL’s COVID-19 protocols is no different to these sociopaths. Just another bump in the road for this team’s journey. Gotta come together and get through it!


So of course it was the Vegas Raiders that the NFL backhand slapped. The Raiders have lived off their “outlaw” reputation that was outdated somewhere around the Carter administration. But they still fancy themselves that, and it was clear the rules the league set in didn’t mean much to them when head coach Jon Gruden was parading around the sidelines with something on his face like the friend you have who got way too into the stripper at your bachelor party. Or a group of them showing up at a charity event maskless. 

The league fined the team $500K, Gruden himself $150K, and took away a 6th-round draft pick. In the long run, these aren’t things that any one of them will notice that much, but at least it’s a gesture.

Maybe it’ll force the Raiders to go into even more defiance, and cost themselves a higher pick and more cash. Or maybe it’s just the league trying to make an example of someone when the virus is running rampant through multiple teams now and they want to appear as though they’re doing something. Their rules haven’t stopped teams from getting infected and turned this season into something orbiting around a farce. The Raiders make for a perfect stooge in either case.

While we’re making fun of coaches, we should send a word of commendation to MSNBC’s Steve Kornacki, who has been up for two straight days staring at various screens and breaking down information and laying out strategies. He’s mere weeks away from having a statue of himself in every NFL coach’s office, held up as their new god. “Look at that man study! That’s just the kind of dedication and focus this team needs!” You can already hear it, can’t you? See it too? It’s going to happen. Every coordinator everywhere is demanding whatever pills Kornacki is on.

Speaking of coaches that can’t be saved, Tommy Tuberville crashed through the door after tripping on the front stairs with a football comparison because it’s all he has. Like you would have guessed, he’s claiming all sorts of conspiracies and cheating, and really it’s kind of perfect that a college football coach can’t seem to take responsibility for anything. That’s been Tuberville’s shtick since he came on the scene, as when things got tough there was always an out for him somewhere else. Never that he wasn’t good enough.


This is what Alabama wants to represent them. Enjoy.

Back to the NFL, and actually on the field, the Packers destroyed whatever is left of the Niners on Thursday, 34-17. The Niners were out with pretty much everyone who matters on offense thanks to injuries and COVID-19, which led to an offensive performance that looked a lot like the first time you tried to teach your kid which base to run to after he hits the ball. The Packers were without most of their running backs, but they had Aaron Rodgers, and Davante Adams, and that’s more than enough when you’re playing a corpse of an opponent that some adolescents are poking with a stick.

We can't be too careful. Two guys in an airport...talking? It's a little fishy.