Both the Raiders and Broncos are trash this year. Neither team is making the playoffs, and fans have little to root for beyond victory over their hated rivals. So, despite pitting two teams with losing records against each other, Sunday's game in Oakland was bound bring some fireworks.
In the first quarter, it did. Raiders wide out Michael Crabtree and Broncos corner Aqib Talib made the Coliseum in Oakland look more like the one in Rome by setting off a massive brawl. Their fight began after Crabtree drove Talib to the ground with a block that he carried on a tad too long. After the cavalry arrived, Crabtree and Talib escaped from the scrum and found each other again to throw, and fail to land, a bunch of haymakers.
"I don't like it, and it's unacceptable," Broncos coach Vance Joseph said after the game. "We lose one of our best players because of a personal battle, and that's a personal battle. This is about the Broncos, so it's unacceptable. We can't have it. It's non-negotiable."
"[Crabtree] didn't come to play football. We came to play football,'' said Broncos corner Chris Harris Jr., who claims Crabtree punched him one play before the fight broke out. "He came to fight. We came to play football.''
He might be right. Crabtree was no doubt looking for to avenge he last run in with Talib, which came on New Year's Day earlier this year. In that game, the Broncos corner snatched Crabtree's chain from around his neck and recieved no punishment.
"You snatching chains on the field. What you accomplish? You hard? You tough? That make you tough? You snatching chains in front of the police and take off running? Childish, man," Crabtree said after that game.
Turns out, a chain snatching might have been at the root of their most recent squabble too. It was easy to miss as the melee broke out, but eagle-eyed observers caught Talib grabbing Crabtree's chain once again on Sunday before things got truly crazy.
Kind of makes you wonder why Talib doesn't just hit the jewelry store and buy a chain of his own.