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Top Flight
By Dennis Ranahan

Working with the Oakland Raiders in the 1970’s I had an opportunity to learn from some of the greatest football minds in the business. I recall being present in meetings where the discussion would center between Al Davis and John Madden on what was the most important position on the field.

Most often, these debates would occur prior to the National Football League draft while the Raiders were plotting on where to focus in the upcoming selection of college talent. Davis contended that having great cornerbacks was essential to a winning team. Madden leaned on the offensive line as the top priority.

Now, what was true for both these football greats was that a top flight quarterback was as essential to win in the NFL as oxygen is to survival. During my years not too much time was spent on that part of the equation because the Silver and Black were secure during my tenure beginning with Daryle Lamonica, George Blanda and then Ken Stabler.

In their discussions Madden would contend that if he had a solid offensive line he could control the game, while Davis would cackle and say without a solid corner all your work on offense could be erased with one pass. Also at most of these meetings was Ron Wolf, player personnel director, who didn’t offer his opinion in the debate on most important position but was always on top of the next great batch of athletes available in the draft and it was he who was always at the center of the Raiders success.

Wolf balanced need and talent and guided the Raiders to be the first team in NFL history to make a special teams player the first pick in the draft, selecting Southern Mississippi punter Ray Guy in 1973. Guy is now in the Pro Football Hall of Fame after a spectacular 14 year career in Oakland that included three Super Bowl wins. Davis, Madden and Wolf are also enshrined in Canton.


HEADLINE PLAY ARCHIVES
Top Flight Headline Play Conference Championships
Time Change Gameday Divisional Playoffs
High Hopes Headline Play Divisional Playoffs
Defend This Headline Play Divisional Playoffs
Thy Be Done Headline Play Divisional Playoffs
That Perfect Headline Play Divisional Playoffs
Show Time Headline Play Divisional Playoffs
Follow the Leader Headline Play Wild Card Weekend
Follow the Leader Gameday Wild Card Weekend
Black Out Headline Play Wild Card Weekend
Good Cause Headline Play Wild Card Weekend
Double Up Headline Play Wild Card Weekend
Black Bake Headline Play Wild Card Weekend
For All the Marbles Headline Play Week 17
Last Hurrah Gameday Week 17
84 and Counting Headline Play Week 17

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YOU KNOW THE POINT SPREAD … BUT DOES IT OFFER VALUE?

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New England Patriots 14-3
New Orleans Saints 11-5
Dallas Cowboys 11-6
Atlanta Falcons 11-6
Green Bay Packers 11-6-1
Pittsburgh Steelers 11-6-1
PACKERS - FALCONS
Sunday, January 22 - 12:05 PM
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STEELERS - PATRIOTS
Sunday, January 22 - 3:40 PM
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New England Patriots 104
Atlanta Falcons 94
Pittsburgh Steelers 94
Green Bay Packers 86
San Francisco 49ers 0
Chicago Bears 0
The NFL

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Cause and effect.

It is not always what most people think. But it is consistent. On the other side of something happening, a cause can always be identified as if it was in the shine of a spotlight on an otherwise pitch black moonless night.

Often, affect hides the cause behind public sentiment.

Public opinion is swayed by bits and pieces of information that are assigned significance in an assortment of ways … none necessarily tethered to something that truly drives predictable results.

Going in, likely; coming out, certainty.

Even a contest yet to be decided that has a 99% probability of favoring one side in a two team race fails to offer an ironclad guarantee, but after a game is over one side is the 100% winner and the other a zero.

Certainty is only provided after a contest is decided.

The cause of something is most often tied to the need to perform at a higher level than recent outings. When a team in that sphere meets a team that has run a winning streak to it’s limits, an opportunity to cash a proposition most often comes with points on the spread.