The NFL is better when the Raiders are good, and the NFL is great when a good Raiders team is embroiled in a quality controversy involving an NFL game.
Raiders fans are noted conspiracy theorists — hello, Tuck Rule Game — and the latest one is a doozy, because it involves a potentially game-tying pass from Derek Carr to Amari Cooper at the end of Thursday night’s 21-13 Kansas City win.
The pass in question was wild, because Cooper appeared to lose the ball completely despite him being open and the ball hanging in the sky. Many people believe it hit one of NBC’s SkyCams.
Cooper said after the game he lost the ball.
“That’s why it looked like I might have stumbled,” Cooper said, via Awful Announcing. “I was running in the right direction and it kind of moved inside at the last minute and I didn’t have time to get it.”
Amari Cooper says he was unable to make the catch, when he was wide open, because the ball changed direction at the last second.
— Henry Wofford (@HenryWoffordCSN) December 9, 2016
If you watch the play in question it’s really bizarre because the ball does just suddenly move.
Looking at slow-motion replays it does look like something odd happened.
And at least one man close to the case — David Carr of the NFL Network and brother of Derek — believes in the conspiracy.
I watched that play about a dozen times last night and could not wrap my head around what happened., woke up to spiderwire, mystery solved https://t.co/w3PznNaqUx
— David Carr (@DCarr8) December 9, 2016
However, NBC Sports says that wasn’t the case.
“The overhead camera is positioned behind the line of scrimmage, so the cables would not be in play,” NBC Sports spokesman Dan Masonson told Sports Video Group.
Additionally, Fred Gaudelli of NBC Sports (who produces “Thursday Night Football” and “Sunday Night Football”) told Deadspin’s Barry Petchscky that there’s “no way” the ball hit the SkyCam.
“No way, Barry — the camera is always behind the play and cables are really high over the surface. Look at the replay we showed from SkyCam – if anything hits the wire it would effect a bump in the camera and you would see that on the air,” Gaudelli told Deadspin. “Also look at the replay after the commercial — look how the ball comes off of Carr’s hand and his follow through — not his normal delivery.”
Plus, as pointed out at Awful Announcing, the broadcast actually showed an angle from the SkyCam.
So here’s the basic conclusion: The football did something very bizarre in the air. There’s no way to tell for certain that it didn’t hit the SkyCam except that NBC would have footage of the camera moving and they certainly would’ve shown that during the game, not to mention alerting the NFL about the issue.
After all, if a football hits a wire, the down is over and the ball is dead. From the NFL rulebook:
“If a loose ball in play strikes a video board, guide wire, sky cam, or any other object, the ball will be dead immediately, and the down will be replayed at the previous spot.”
So, in the immortal words of Officer Barbrady, move along people, nothing to see here.