Marty Schottenheimer, Rex Grossman, and the Snowplow Game all displaying up in a single article? It have to be time to proceed our take a look at the Dynasties of Heartbreak.

As our countdown continues, we start to enter the realm of the really devastated groups. So far, now we have not discovered any groups that really feel that they ought to have gained a Super Bowl, simply ones that might have. True, there have been some minor favorites right here and there, and groups grumbling about titles that slipped by way of their fingers. For essentially the most half, nevertheless, groups under this line have nobody guilty however themselves for his or her lack of final success.

Around these elements, nevertheless, we start to see groups which have reputable arguments that they have been unfairly disadvantaged of the possibility for glory. Questionable refereeing selections taking away big performs. Ticky-tack flags that modified the course of a number of franchises. Teams so poorly executed by the principles of the time that the league was pressured to alter how performs have been officiated going ahead. All of those groups might screw up completely wonderful on their very own deserves, however lots of them had an unfair quantity of assist from forces exterior of their management.

Of course, there’s greater than a bit of little bit of cursing star gamers, with the names of Elway, Namath and Brady being without end carved into our collective reminiscence banks. Let’s meet our subsequent 10 groups.

The Series So Far:

Part I: Nos. 41-44 and Methodology.
Part II: Nos. 31-40

No. 30: 1999-2002 Oakland Raiders

Total Heartbreak Points: 484.2
Playoff Points: 211.6
Win-Loss Points: 107.5
DVOA Points: 156.2
Record: 41-23 (.641)
Playoff Record: 4-3 (one Super Bowl loss, one AFCCG, one divisional loss)
Average DVOA: 22.2%
Head Coaches: Jon Gruden, Bill Callahan
Key Players: QB Rich Gannon, WR Tim Brown, T Lincoln Kennedy, CB Charles Woodson

The Raiders’ return to Oakland was lower than triumphant, with the crew failing to publish a profitable file of their first three seasons again within the Coliseum. That wasn’t what Al Davis had in thoughts in his return the franchise’s roots, nor was it what Alameda County had in thoughts once they had okayed the development of Mount Davis, the towering block of seats which elevated the Coliseum’s seating and destroyed its sightlines. Something needed to be executed.

It’s awkward at this level in 2022 to reward Jon Gruden, contemplating his ignoble exit from each the Raiders and the NFL on the whole. But Gruden, solely the second coach ever employed from exterior the Raiders group, helped flip an offense that had completed within the backside half of the league for 5 years straight right into a perennial top-five squad. 

Rich Gannon, longtime journeyman, turned a multi-time All-Pro and league MVP. At age 37 within the Super Bowl 12 months, Gannon was virtually a spring hen on this crew. We’ll be very good and name them “experienced,” with Tim Brown (36), Jerry Rice (40), Bill Romanowski (36) and Rod Woodson (37) all taking part in important roles at superior ages. Gruden had a status for preferring veterans over rookies all through his profession, however by no means did it work in addition to it did in his first run in Oakland.

Gruden’s groups handled some poor luck, nevertheless. They solely went 8-8 in 1999, however none of these eight losses have been by greater than a landing. They missed the playoffs regardless of being third in DVOA. They have been extra lucky in 2000, making all of it the way in which to the AFC Championship Game towards the Ravens. Unfortunately, dangerous luck struck once more—Gannon was knocked out of the sport after a Tony Siragusa sack, leaving Bobby Hoying to attempt to choose aside top-of-the-line defenses in NFL historical past. That went about as dangerous as you are presently imagining. Hoying’s very first cross was intercepted, considered one of 4 for Hoying and Gannon mixed on the day, because the Ravens fought to a 16-3 win.

And then you definately had the Tuck Rule Game in 2001—the divisional matchup between the Raiders and Patriots within the swirling snow and wind at Foxboro. If you are a Raiders fan, you probably declare to today that Tom Brady fumbled the soccer when Charles Woodson sacked him with 1:50 left within the fourth quarter. 

The ball definitely popped out and Greg Biekert definitely fell on high of it, there isn’t any query about any of that. But below the brand new guidelines put in in 1999, any intentional ahead motion of the arm began a cross, and even when management was misplaced when the ball was being tucked again to the physique, it was nonetheless an incomplete cross. It was the right ruling with the principles that have been in place on the time. It was a foul rule, which is why it was repealed in 2013, however it was the rule, and appropriately referred to as. That led to the Patriots tying the sport with a discipline aim and subsequently profitable in additional time, and everyone knows how that story goes from there.

Gruden did not protest the decision on the time, and the rumors state that this was the ultimate straw within the decaying relationship between him and Al Davis. Davis ended up buying and selling Gruden to the Buccaneers for a number of draft picks and putting in offensive coordinator Bill Callahan as head coach. 

Callahan did not contact something because the Raiders stormed by way of the common season and playoffs on their option to Super Bowl XXXVII—a method that has labored wonders for coaches coming into good conditions all through NFL historical past. But George Seifert did not find yourself dealing with Bill Walsh in a Super Bowl. Barry Switzer by no means needed to battle Jimmy Johnson. Callahan needed to go heads up towards Gruden and the Buccaneers.

The Raiders got here in with the second-best offense within the league by DVOA, however that does not assist a lot when the opposing protection is aware of every part you are about to do. 

The 2002 Buccaneers protection did not want any additional benefits, however Gruden was in a position to principally give them your entire Raiders playbook—John Lynch was calling out performs earlier than they started. Callahan allegedly hadn’t even bothered to alter the Raiders’ audibles earlier than the Super Bowl. Callahan had, nevertheless, drastically modified the sport plan simply 48 hours earlier than kickoff, beautiful the crew. To make issues worse, All-Pro heart Barrett Robbins vanished earlier than the sport, his psychological well being points overwhelming him. The Raiders entered the competition vastly underprepared. The Buccaneers entered it vastly overready, and that is the way you get a 48-21 blowout.

For most groups, a humiliation within the Super Bowl like that will cap off essentially the most painful 12 months in franchise historical past. The Raiders aren’t most groups. The Callahan Raiders have been by no means going to turn into a dynasty. There are a number of Raiders groups from the Nineteen Sixties and Nineteen Seventies who would have run circles round each Gruden and Callahan’s Raiders. They find yourself with considerably extra heartbreak factors and we’ll meet them sooner or later.

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