In a season when the Oakland Raiders have either set or are about to set numerous milestones, there is one such record they are not eager to break – but they could anyhow.
Many games involving the Raiders are likely to involve more flags since the United Nations. Oakland was flagged 10 times Monday night against the New York Jets (a 26-20 win), three were for false starts -- all on the same first-half possession -- and one was for delay of game. Those infractions might stem from the fact that the Raiders shift more often than a '66 Rambler in order to confuse defenses. Instead, Oakland is creating as many problems for itself.
Raiders head coach Bill Callahan continues to state that penalties are unacceptable but they might as well be a part the game plan. Oakland has been tagged for an NFL-high 917 yards on 103 infractions and is challenging the franchise record of 1,274 yards in 1969. The 1998 Kansas City Chiefs hold the NFL record for most penalties (158) and yards (1,304) in a season.
"The mental penalties are the ones that bother me -- the false starts, the illegal formations," Callahan said. "A little bit of it's my fault, on the account that you try to do so much as an offense. You try to put as many formations in, you try to vary your snap count, you have so many audibles. So you've really got to manage that aspect of your offense carefully."
Of course, a few Raider players believe in not so many words that it's the NFL conspiracy theory.
"I'm not going to talk about penalties," Oakland left guard Frank Middleton said. "I'm tired and frustrated. We can't be the only team out there committing penalties."