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News » Curse of Qualcomm haunts Raiders

Curse of Qualcomm haunts Raiders

Curse of Qualcomm haunts Raiders
SAN DIEGO Only four players remain from the Raiders team that played in Super Bowl XXXVII against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers six seasons ago.

Sebastian Janikowski, Shane Lechler, Ronald Curry and Marques Tuiasosopo are the only current Raiders who know what it's like to win a game at Qualcomm Stadium in an Oakland uniform. That came on Dec. 8 of that Super Bowl season when the Raiders beat the San Diego Chargers 27-7.

Many of the current Raiders have experienced the feeling of winning at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, considered by many the loudest venue in the NFL. Some were around in 2005 for a victory over the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field, the largest NFL stadium in terms of seating capacity.

They thrashed the Denver Broncos at hostile Invesco Field at Mile High less than two weeks ago.

Yet, for all their efforts, the Raiders haven't been able to win at Qualcomm Stadium since before their colossal meltdown there against the Buccaneers in the Super Bowl. A few former players suggested there's a curse involved.

Tonight, the Raiders once again visit the site that they would just as soon never see again.

"It used to be another home game for us," said backup quarterback Marques Tuiasosopo, who remembers the days when the Raiders enjoyed a crowd made up of half Chargers fans, half Raiders fans. "Then San Diego got better, the fans kept their tickets, and we can't seem to win there anymore."

Tuiasosopo said Qualcomm Stadium isn't a difficult place to play as a visiting player. Larger stadiums, louder crowds, worse-weather sites and better teams can be found across the league.

Yet, every game here seems to feature something memorable, even if the Raiders would rather forget the experience.

Center Barret Robbins disappeared the Friday night before Super Bowl XXXVII, returned almost 24 hours later and was suspended for the game. It was later learned that he suffers from bipolar disorder and alcoholism.

Many players from that team cited Robbins' vanishing act as a contributing factor to their 48-21 loss to the Buccaneers in a season when the Raiders often appeared unstoppable.

Also, the Raiders' current drought can be traced to San Diego. The Raiders are 22-71 in the 93 games since the 2002 AFC Championship game. Six of those losses came at Qualcomm.

In fairness, the Chargers have been almost as successful against the Raiders at the Coliseum during this period. They are 5-1 in Oakland since 2002, including a 28-18 victory there Sept. 28.

In 2003, the Raiders allowed 243 yards rushing to running back LaDainian Tomlinson in a 21-14 loss at Qualcomm made more memorable by then-coach Bill Callahan's suspending cornerback Charles Woodson and running back Charlie Garner for missing curfew the night before the game. Callahan was fired two days later.

Chargers quarterback Drew Brees added another ugly chapter to the saga in 2004 when he directed scoring drives on six of his team's first seven possessions. At one point, Raiders defensive tackle Warren Sapp exchanged words with then-Raiders coach Norv Turner on the sideline.

The Raiders outgained the Chargers in 2005 but were outscored 34-10. Last season, Tomlinson scored all four of San Diego's touchdowns in a 28-14 victory.

Perhaps the most bizarre game in San Diego during this stretch of Oakland futility came in 2006, when the Raiders lost 21-14 thanks to a controversial play that went the Chargers' way.

Chargers wide receiver Vincent Jackson spiked a ball forward at the end of a 13-yard reception on a fourth-and-two play in the fourth quarter, with the Raiders leading. Jackson did so despite not being touched by a Raiders defender. The Raiders recovered what appeared to be a fumble.

However, the officials ruled that Jackson was guilty of an illegal forward pass. The Chargers were penalized 5 yards, retained possession, scored the game-tying touchdown four plays later and the game-winner with 3 minutes, 39 seconds left.

"What is it about this place?" Sapp said afterward. "Every time we come down here, something weird happens. Even when we win, we lose. I hate this place."

Contact Steve Corkran at scorkran@bayareanewsgroup.com

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: December 4, 2008

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