justifiably Unnoticed by Comrade Anantharaman at the conclusion of the Las Vegas Ice All-around Championship It was the presence of team owner Mark Davis, because when you talk about a playoff championship versus the second game of the season, there’s nothing to discuss. If nothing else, one has champagne.
But as an added bonus, the other game had a rich, buttery texture that only comes with a huge loss to an allegedly inferior team that only reminds you that Vegas is the City of Aces/Golden Knights until the invaders stop doing things like they did on Sunday.
So the question here is, what did Mark Davis actually know about this weekend, and how much of his choice was based on knowing the football team’s psychological weaknesses? Spoiler alert: The question is rhetorical.
However, the Conquerors cling in such a stunning manner against the Arizona Cardinals that one has to ask the hat question anyway, even allowing for the fact that the obvious answer is Mark Davis had no proof that one way lies in glory and the other unspeakable disgrace. He did the right thing. He just didn’t know how true this thing was.
The Raiders had a predictable 20-0 lead at halftime over the Cardinals, who are on their way to another year of ash-and-jam sandwiches, with the apparent goal being Daniel Carlson’s 55-yard strike at the break. The clincher in the Aces’ WNBA Finals for Connecticut can be displayed on the giant scoreboard, and everyone will be delighted that a second Vegas-based team has reached the ultimate level in their sport, completing one task.
But then there was the third team, who took a 20-0 lead and turned it into fun at the board games level. First, the Cardinals’ Raiders gave up more yards after the first half than they had won the entire game. Second, they conceded two eight-point goals in the final eight minutes, the first because Cardinals quarterback Keeler Murray defended 84.9 yards (Estimate NFL NextGen stats) to keep the conversion alive.
The second diversion came after Murray, who scored from three yards with a time out and pocketed, received a delay call in the transfer due to substitution confusion and still finds AJ Green with a demon tying the game.
But that was nothing compared to the way the Conquerors prepared for the end – by turning Derek Carr’s pass to Hunter Renfrew in overtime into a bar by Cardinals back Isaiah Simmons and recovering and landing by Byron Murphy Jr. A thigh punch for a throat kick, Murphy gleefully flipped the ball out of his hands at the goal line and it took a lengthy review by the restart locker to decide it was a touchdown rather than actually a massive final foul en route to the most shameful equalizer. In the history of the NFL.
And Davis missed all the crazy fun of starring and feeling soul-cleansing that something he had was doing just fine. This isn’t his story – all he really did was buy a growing worry and not get in his way, but he inherited the invaders over a decade ago and didn’t stand in their way either, unless you called to hire Jon Gruden and let him run as an example to stand in the way.
The point is, he had a choice to make on a Sunday and decided not to do it as most owners would have done. He played percentages, made the obvious choice regardless of gender biases, and appeared in the right place at the right time, rather than succumb to the unspoken peer pressure of the NFL-is-king. If he deserves the credit for anything, he ignores Holly Rowe’s softball starter question about investing in women, choosing to pass the mic quickly rather than engage in any self-aggrandizement. Somewhere his father is shouting curses, which is a testament to whether any proof was needed that Mark Davis did the right thing this time. The only thing he has to wonder is, was it the right thing based on the right instincts, or did he know something about the football team that made him want to be closer to the basketball team? As Tots Hebert sang that day, “It’s perfect thinking.”