Oakland Raiders: The Curious Case of Art Powell; Stickum and Cheating

Ever since the New England Patriots were outed in 2007 for stealing signals, I have had to ask a simple question:

What is cheating?

Don't worry Pat fans (aka, Patsies), I'm not here to rip the Patriots again.

I would however like to discuss the broader issue of cheating in professional sports, and cite as an example the use of stickum by the Oakland Raiders.

Amongst other famous plays (or infamous, depending on how you look at it), stickum serves as an indelible image of the Raiders attitude of doing anything to win.

If you ask me, the primary reason why people have labeled the Raiders as cheaters is because of stickum, even though the substance was not banned at the time it was used by the Raiders. 

In every article I have read about the Raiders and the question of cheating, nothing other than stickum (pads, hits, etc) has amounted to anything unique to the Raiders.


Cheating is in the Eye of the Beholder (and Those who Make the Rules)

As economist John Maynard Keynes once said, "Worldly wisdom teaches that it is better for the reputation to fail conventionally than to succeed unconventionally." 

Because if you succeed unconventionally, people will think that you were just lucky, or perhaps a, "cheater." 

Al Davis and the Raiders intentionally instilled paranoia in their opponents, which has in turn created an irrational perception of the Raiders that has spurned invalid accusations of cheating.

Often because, Davis and the Raiders would invert the narratives by the sheer act of winning.

Throughout much of the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s, the modus operandi of Raiders owner Al Davis was to get under the skin of his opponents in order to disrupt their confidence in their schemes and plans.

As former coach Herm Edwards once said of the Raiders, "When they came...

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