Oakland was in a shootout with the New Orleans Saints on Sunday afternoon. The Raiders scored a touchdown with just over 40 seconds left to get within one point of a tie game. Kick the extra point, get the tie and head to overtime, right?
Not if you’re Jack Del Rio. The Raiders’ coach elected to go for two and the win, and Del Rio’s gambit paid off. Oakland converted after Derek Carr connected with Michael Crabtree, and New Orleans couldn’t make a game-winning 61-yard field goal on its drive to give the Raiders the win.
According to ESPN’s win probability metrics, Del Rio made the wrong call, but he obviously didn’t see it that way. In fact, Del Rio made it known on Twitter that he doesn’t see eye-to-eye with the worldwide leader’s calculations.
The best part was that a quick reading of ESPN’s article explaining why he made the wrong call makes it pretty clear that in this situation, he actually probably made a very sound decision based on a few factors, including the fact that the Raiders had already gone for two earlier and converted. And Del Rio agrees!
Regardless, the best part of all of this is that in today’s NFL, coaches largely never express any personality or say anything besides boilerplate PR quotes. To see Del Rio burn ESPN with the quick retort is like a refreshing gulp of haterade.
Keep gambling, Del Rio. Carolina head coach Ron Rivera is often called Riverboat Ron for his propensity to go for fourth down conversions, but maybe it’s about time we actually gave that nickname to a coach whose name literally means “from the river.”