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Jets at OAK Again in ’11? Yes and Here’s Why

Posted by Randy Lange on March 18, 2011 – 2:11 pm

There may be no there there in Oakland, as Gertrude Stein once famously wrote, but in any given NFL season, there’s a good bet there will be Jets there.

“Why are we making another trip out to Oakland?” our good friend Ira asked in a Radar comment this week. “I know the league has a schedule formula. Correct me if I am wrong, the last time we played the AFC West back in ’08, KC and Den came here and we went to Oak and SD. This year SD and KC are coming here and we are going to Oak and Den. Shouldn’t we be going to KC and Oak coming here?”

Ira isn’t the first to ask “What’s up with that?” But it is an interesting new wrinkle to the NFL’s new schedule format that I think is worth diving into today before EA and I hit the draft hard beginning next week.

The short answer is that no, there is no NFL conspiracy to send the Jets to Oakland every year, although it might seem that way. Here are the stats: In 2011, the Jets will be playing the Raiders for the 16th time in the last 19 seasons, with 11 of those coming on the road, and it will also be the 12th time since the 1999 trip out to Oaktown that the two old AFL rivals will have met, and 10 of those games amazingly will have been played in the Black Hole.

So if not conspiracy, what, then? There are three parts to that answer. Let’s start with that ’99 game at the then-named Network Associates Coliseum.

From 1987-2001, the NFL’s scheduling system began to be based on a common-opponent theme. For the AFC East teams in that span, it meant that each year they had eight games against their four division brethren, four games vs. the same NFC division, and two games against teams from the AFC Central and two against the AFC West.

Those four intraconference games were based on where all the teams finished in the standings the year before. And where those games were played was based on a rotating formula geared not toward specific teams but rather toward specific divisions.

So the Jets’ and Raiders’ three regular-season games in 1999-2000-2001 were all based on where they finished in their divisions the previous year, and the rotation called for all three games to be played at the AFC West team, in this case Oakland.

Then of course in ’01 and ’02 were the two playoff games. The Jets, seeded lower, played at the Raiders, both years.

In 2002 the new division alignments brought with them a new scheduling format, more common-opponent- and less standings-oriented. Every three years the AFCE teams play the teams in the other three AFC divisions. In ’02 and ’08, it was East vs. West and the rotation sent the Jets to Oakland, while in ’05 it brought the Raiders to North Jersey.

To Ira’s question, then, why aren’t the Jets hosting the Raiders in ’11? The culprit: alphabetization.

To make sure that every AFC team plays every other non-division AFC team once home and once away every six years, the NFL’s schedulemakers divided each division into two groups alphabetically by city/region name. In the East. Buffalo and Miami were paired and the Jets and Patriots were paired. In the West, it was Denver/Kansas City and Oakland/San Diego.

In 2002 and ’08, NYJ/NE played at OAK/SD and home vs. DEN/KC. In ’05, NYJ/NE played at DEN/KC and home vs. OAK/SD.

But the NFL realized this created a 3,000-mile-wide unlevel playing field every six years. Since the AFC West’s two true West Coast teams are Oakland and San Diego, the Jets and Patriots would always have two West Coast trips in those years, while the Bills and Dolphins would have none.

Then came ’08 and the perfect schedule storm: Since the NFC West’s pairings were Arizona/St. Louis and San Francisco/Seattle, the Jets and Patriots lost the continental lottery and got four West Coast trips that year. We and many others said at the time that that just was not fair scheduling.

The league realized that as well, and in 2010 it tweaked its Western pairings. Now the AFC West’s twins are Denver/Oakland and Kansas City/San Diego (and the NFC West’s are Arizona/San Francisco and St. Louis/Seattle). Never again will an East team have two West Coast trips against one division (and vice versa) in a given year.

This NFL tweak affects the Jets in 2011. The league could have given NYJ/NE two away games at DEN/OAK or two away at KC/SD. It chose DEN/OAK. Hello, Oakland, my old friend. But at least the Raiders and their fans seem to have mellowed somewhat, the Black Hole isn’t quite the formidable singularity it used to be (as the Jets’ 38-0 triumph in ’09 would suggest), and Rex Ryan and company seem to have a really good West Coast travel plan figured out.

Also, I don’t know this for a fact because the NFL’s scheduled opponents haven’t been spit out for 2012 and beyond, but I will wager a guess that Jets-Raiders in ’14 will be at New Meadowlands Stadium, as will games in ’12 and ’13 if the Jets and Raiders happen to finish in the same spots in their respective standings.

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Posted in Randy Lange | 30 Comments »

30 Responses to “Jets at OAK Again in ’11? Yes and Here’s Why”

  1. By IRA on Mar 18, 2011 | Reply

    10 out of the last 12 @ Oak is amazing. You are so right that the fans have mellowed out. Now they seem to leave early. Hope that trend continues when we make the trip out there again this year. And ref that 08 season those 4 WC trips were tough.
    Thanks for the info. Can always count on the Radar to provide great Jets info and insight.
    GO JETS!!!!

  2. By JetsManiac4Life on Mar 18, 2011 | Reply

    Thanks for the clarification Randy! :)

  3. By Randy Lange on Mar 18, 2011 | Reply

    A little long-winded, Ira and JetsManiac, but it’s all I had today.

  4. By IRA on Mar 18, 2011 | Reply

    Really looking forward to talk about the draft. I am tired of all the other talk. It will work its way out either sooner or later. We all hope ASAP if possible.
    I will start early and jump ahead to day #2 of the draft. I would like to see them get a chance to draft Vincent Jackson a WR from San Diego State or Ronald Johnson a WR from USC. Either would be perfect fits and Johnson could step in and contribute on ST’s. Plus if i recall the last time we drafted a WR from USC by the name of Johnson he turned out to be a pretty good player and how did that work out? Wink,wink!

  5. By Mark on Mar 18, 2011 | Reply

    I can’t wait to see the JETS in Oakland again!!!! West Coast Jets Fan

  6. By Jimmer on Mar 18, 2011 | Reply

    So, in other words, the rules get changed, and the Jets go to oakland, not once, not twice, but three times. We’re still gonna go there in another 3 years after they change it again.

  7. By Pranit on Mar 19, 2011 | Reply

    It does seem a few games every year don’t come from any slated division…

  8. By GaryC on Mar 19, 2011 | Reply

    Ira I believe the guy your talking about is vincent brown from san diego state, who will probably be third or fourth rounder, jets have to many other priorities to think about with so little draft picks.

  9. By WCO33 on Mar 19, 2011 | Reply

    I have attended all the games the Jets have played here in Oakland; 2003 was the only exception. Al Davis is the WORST host in the entire league. Leaving the fans out of it, I am so dissatisfied with the lack of announcing and replays of positive Jets plays that I am ready to blow this one off (I’ll be there).

    If the Jets wear Titan throwbacks I will not go. There is nothing about those uni’s that enhances my Jets gameday experience. Combine that with the way Al Davis puts the Jets in a WItness Protection Program every game and I am ready to throw up just thinking about it.

    Randy, I grew up going to Shea; I live in SF…if I say I don’t want to go, then you know it is horrible.

  10. By scjoe on Mar 19, 2011 | Reply

    Rule changes, schedule changes, alignment changes bla, bla,bla, no matter what the changes may have been it is absolutely ludicrous to see one team fly completely across the country 12 of 18 times to play an opponent, simply ludicrous! Someone should have intervened, someone should have looked beyond their noses and said “this just is not right” no matter what realignment or scheduling changes have been made, this is just not fair. Who can ever forget that horrendous 0-4 west coast record in 08? There was no excuse for losses at Oak, SF, AND Sea. That will never happen again!

  11. By Mike Jet Vet on Mar 20, 2011 | Reply

    Randy.. finally you heard someone make the point about us going to west coast so often, of coarse it was Ira our friend ..Since my self and a few others have been saying it for years that being said.. I don’t have fancy facts stats or records ,what I would be interested in knowing being your making it AFC NFC playing what I believe was invented for parity between conferences fair and balanced no single advantage.. What I do know we traveled at least 6 more times just to Oakland advantage Raiders.. now add in SF and Rams getting the picture like to know If NE Fish and Bills were at that same disadvantage NFL can spin it anyway they want its simple arithmetic doesn’t add up that’s the way I see it

  12. By IRA on Mar 20, 2011 | Reply

    While its in the past the Seattle trip and loss tied in with the snow storm they had prior to getting there had to be one of the worse road trips ever. Losing that game to Wallace and an o-line that was made up of 5 b/u’s was inexcusable and was one of the reasons EM was fired. The team looked like they quit on him. That season turned in SF. After beating NE and then Tenn who was 10-0 the week later a letdown loss in the rain to Den i could understand. But when they lost @ SF i got worrried. And if not for the play call by Jauron and the strip by Elam and return by Ellis they would’ve lost to Buff too. I wouldn’t mind them signing Elam if they lose Pool once FA starts.

  13. By Randy Lange on Mar 20, 2011 | Reply

    Mike, none of the other AFC East teams has had a West Coast road run like the Jets have had at Oakland. The Patriots played seven of their nine games against the Broncos from 1997-2005 in Denver and the Bills have played seven of their last eight vs. the Chiefs in Kansas City. In 2008 the Patriots had road trips to SF, SD, SEA and OAK, just as the Jets did.

  14. By IRA on Mar 20, 2011 | Reply

    Just looking back at the Sea game i forgot that J. Wilson had 2 picks and he is a UFA this year after playing for Balt. While i think the injunction will be granted and thats good for the Jets because SH and Cro would stay RFA with that high tender of 1st and 3rd picks sticking. No team is going to give up a 1 and 3 for either player. Both would have to play for 1 year for about 3.5 mill each. So then there won’t be an urgency to get a CB. If they lose Drew i would like to see them make a run at Wilson if the price were right.

  15. By Mike Jet Vet on Mar 20, 2011 | Reply

    Randy ..Thanks for the information that’s why we ask and I know your just the messenger not the culprit… hopefully west coast verses East coast will become one day 1 for 1 and what I believe to be right now in favor of the West coast teams.. As we all know hopefully you included parity has evened out the playing field tremendously for all teams since the days of old, so in my eyes home teams having 5-6 days of practice on their turf in their environment verses away teams traveling 3000 miles 3 hours time differential with 2-3 days practice tops kinda tipping the scale somewhat in their favor ..In my opinion

  16. By IRA on Mar 21, 2011 | Reply

    As long as Randy and EA are starting to hit the draft coverage this week it always amazes me how the draft is such a crap shoot for the most part. Look at Pitt and how 17 of their 22 starters in this years SB were all draft picks. Then take the [i hate to say this] Pats and how sucessfull they have been over the past decade. But they had a 2 year span in 06-07 that they drafted 19 players and only 2 remain on the team. Gostkowski and Meriweather who seems to have got himself in some big trouble and if found guilty probably will be suspended this year or possibly go to jail.

  17. By Jet Fan Since '64 Tom on Mar 21, 2011 | Reply

    The subtext that you miss in your analysis of PIT and NE, Ira, is that whether their drafts have been good or bad, those teams and other consistent winners have always valued draft picks and never been afraid of playing the guys they pick. By contrast, somewhere around the time we picked up, oh, Boomer the thinking started to become that we have to pick up vets who are sort of good because Jet fans won’t wait for a winner — kinda like as if a less-wealthy Steinbrenner was running the team. Mr. T and Rex have changed this culture somewhat by picking smartly, albeit with few picks, the last few yrs and trading mostly for younger vets. But we’ve still got aways to go in my view, as shown when Jets fans are thrilled to have a whopping 6 picks.

  18. By Gmany3k on Mar 21, 2011 | Reply

    To make the east vs west a fair game maybe both teams can play in the middle of the country so both teams travel .

  19. By IRA on Mar 21, 2011 | Reply

    Good point and yes the Jets have had the philosphy of quality over quantity since Mr T has taken over. It has worked for the most part but sooner or later it will catch up with you. They need a real solid draft this year and use all 6 picks and maybe an extra if possible. The 08 and 10 drafts for now really have not paid off yet except for Keller and Lowery. Hope Wilson can improve. Not having any OTA’s and mini-camps isn’t going to help. That we can thank the owners for. And this week the owners usually announce the week #1 primetime games. Reports say they won’t. I would be shocked if this season starts on time. Hope i am wrong.

  20. By IRA on Mar 21, 2011 | Reply

    While drafting Revis, Harris and Sanchez and giving away picks were great moves they really need to have a quality depth draft like they did in 06 when they had 9 picks and came away with Brick, Mangold, Leon [thank you Herm] both Smiths and Drew. Once again this lockout will hurt players because unless you are a RB or ST players without reps all spring and summer i just can’t see many rookies making much of a difference this coming season. Hope the owners come to their senses.

  21. By scjoe on Mar 21, 2011 | Reply

    Ira, couldn’t agree more about Elam. I thought it was a mistake to include him in any package to begin with. As for the draft picks? In retrospect, you can’t argue with the selections of Revis, Mangold, Brick, Harris, maybe even Smith and Smith. (Book still out on Sanchez in my opinion) But the cost may have been a little to severe with the trading up that cost multiple draft picks. I am a believer in building through the draft (see NE and Pit) and I fear what NE will be in just a couple of years with what they have done in the draft and what they will have in 2011.

  22. By Mike Jet Vet on Mar 21, 2011 | Reply

    Ira ..owners have come to their senses why do you think these proceding are going on.Not saying Owners are 100% right just saying at least their starting somewhere before it gets worse then it already is..Lord knows the players and their agents won’t solve the problem they only escalated it over the years..lets see how serious the players are in fixing this the Final result will tell the story ..Time for affordable games parking food NFL labeled products for the real major players vested in this fight us fans.. Hopefully then will smarten up I know I have and follow my lead.. That’s the way I see it

  23. By IRA on Mar 21, 2011 | Reply

    scjoe, respect your opinion and while Sanchez still has plenty of room for improvement he is a winner and when the money is on the line he gets it done.
    mike, Sad to say the only way things get done is when one side starts to lose money from their pockets.
    Getting back to the draft. How about this if the Jets sign Burress that will give them 6 picks who have played for them who were drafted in the 1st rd from 2000. Chad, Becht, Ellis, Abraham, TJ and possibly Burress.
    To come up with another team that has done that i think would be hard.

  24. By GaryC on Mar 21, 2011 | Reply

    this is something for the jet fan to chew on. would you offer revis to the patriots if in return you can get four of their picks within the first three rounds.remember that is how dallas rebuilt trading walker, No pain, no gain as they say.Of course the jets will have to get more out of wilson and resign cromartie but the jets need to make a splash,that is when things get back to normal.

  25. By Jet Fan Since '64 Tom on Mar 21, 2011 | Reply

    I’ll pass on Burress, Ira, but I certainly think we have to start getting more picks if we’re going to compete consistently well with teams like NE and PIT, as scjoe says. MJV, if I could vote for one single thing that the NFL needs, it’s “affordable games,” and you can include within that affordable parking, food, etc. like you say. It’s sheer lunacy to turn football, the grittiest and gutsiest of American sports, into a game watched live largely by clueless, pampered elitists who wouldn’t know Santonio Holmes from Sherlock Holmes. Frank, this is happening on Goodell’s watch, which is another big reason I think he’s wrong for the league and must go…as if I needed another…

  26. By scjoe on Mar 22, 2011 | Reply

    64tom, Love the Sherlock to Santonio analogy. Unfortunately it is true and I see it getting worse before it gets any better. How about the arrogance of some of the owners raising ticket prices when there is a lockout and no CBA in place? But you know what? The game will not only survive, it will flourish, and that is due to the loyal fans, you know, those same fans that have been left out in the cold, those same fans who are simply taken for granted by both sides, those same fans who will fill most stadiums and purchase the gear that the NFL machine puts out there, some at amazingly inflated prices. God help the NFL, owners and players, if these same loyal fans decide to stand as one!

  27. By Jet Fan Since '64 Tom on Mar 22, 2011 | Reply

    I was maybe gonna go with “wouldn’t know Mark Sanchez from Juan Valdez,” scjoe, but that wasn’t as football-centric.

  28. By Westcoast GangGreen on Mar 23, 2011 | Reply

    Jet Nation, Love going to Oakland to catch a Jet game..always alot of fun, if the CBA gets corrected in time.. Actually gonna make my first visit to the new Jet stadium this season, again , if the CBA gets signed in time and no missed games. IRA, agree that Sanchez is still improving, but he is a winner when the money is on the line. SCJOE, enjoy your daily post but, still taking little jabs about Sanchez, let it go, It’s going to be HIS 3RD SEASON ALREADY!!. He’s here to stay, done is done ,Jets gave up to get him.. Randy Radar, how you guys been? Rumor has it the union wants the rookies to be to boycott the NFL draft..?? If true Wow, lets these young men have their moment on the big stage, there Not union members yet..!!!

  29. By Tom Spicer on Mar 24, 2011 | Reply

    SCJOE, So you think the draft pick of Eric Smith is a solid one but the pick of Mark is not. Please stop it already “(Book still out on Sanchez in my opinion)” you are almost embarrassing yourself at this point the kid is a winner.

  30. By Jack's Tattoos on Mar 27, 2011 | Reply

    i hate oakland..def our biggest out of division rival

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