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Raiders’ victory lap wasn’t first bus incident in Kansas City

The wheels on the Raiders’ bus go round and round.

Even, apparently, when the driver is not around.

When Chiefs coach Andy Reid tried to make a federal case — lot of those going around these days — about the Raiders taking a victory lap of Arrowhead Stadium in the team bus after their 40-32 upset of the Super Bowl champs last month, it was learned the Raiders were involved in another bus brouhaha in Kansas City nearly a quarter-century ago.

The year was 1996. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the Raiders had just finished practice at a Kansas City high school before a Week 2 matchup with the Chiefs. When the players returned to the bus, the driver was either missing or too sick to drive the Raiders back to their hotel.

Cole Ford, then a young kicker for the Raiders — if you recall the name, it’s probably because in 2004 he pleaded guilty to shooting at the home of Las Vegas entertainers Siegfried & Roy — volunteered to drive the team back to the then-Hyatt Regency.

“My parents have a 40-foot motor home,” Ford told the Chronicle at the time, “but the bus was a lot bigger.”

A Kansas City Star story said the Raiders and the bus made it back to the hotel but not before “more than a few curbs got in the way when Ford tried to turn.”

According to the report, Raiders coach Mike White wasn’t on the bus and jogged back to the hotel. Smart man.

Former Raiders star receiver Tim Brown retold the story to The Athletic this year, adding that in addition to clipping curbs Ford also took down a small tree.

“The bus is there, but the driver is gone and the bus is running. So, Cole Ford says, ‘Hey, I used to drive a bus before I came in the league,’ and we were like, ‘Well, hot dog it, let’s go!’ ” Brown said.

The Raiders over the years have become famous for slogans such as “Commitment to Excellence” and “Just Win, Baby.” But it now can be said with certainty that “Leave the Driving to Us” was totally somebody else’s idea.

Around the horn

— Raiders uberfan“Gorilla Rilla” will be among the pro sports super supporters featured on “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel” that premieres Tuesday on HBO.

Mary Carillo’s report will focus on how Rilla and other supercharged spectators such as the Atlanta Falcons’ “Bird Lady” and the NBA’s “Clipper Darrell” are coping without being at their teams’ games amid COVID-19 attendance restrictions.

— The Washington Nationals are moving their Triple-A affiliate from Fresno, California, to Rochester, New York. Because Fresno is a lot closer to the Bay Area than Las Vegas, it has been speculated the move also could impact the Aviators’ arrangement as the top affiliate of the major league Oakland Athletics.

“To be determined,” Aviators president Don Logan said about the news and a power struggle between Major League Baseball and its minor league affiliates that has been complicated by the pandemic.

— One more sign you’ve accomplished a lot as a racing driver is when the sanctioning body chooses you to put an experimental car through its paces. NASCAR had Kurt Busch (and Martin Truex Jr.) perform the honors on its much anticipated Next Gen car at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

After he was done using technical jargon that only a Pep Boy would understand, the 2004 Cup Series champion from Las Vegas got down to brass tacks to which we can all relate.

“The sound was very cool,” he said.

“I don’t get to hear cars a lot because I’m in the car racing. But to hear Truex go around and to hear the split exhaust — pipes out the left, one pipes out the right — that’s an old school, Trans Am-style, thundering power feel.”


If Miami of Ohio was the “Cradle of Coaches” for having produced Red Blaik, Paul Brown, Woody Hayes, Bo Schembechler, Weeb Ewbank, Sid Gillman, Ara Parseghian, et al., the 1991 UNLV football team should at least be known as The Bassinet.

Despite going 4-7 with Jim Strong (offensive coordinator under Lou Holtz during Notre Dame’s 1988 national championship season) as coach, the staff produced NFL head coaches in Chuck Pagano (Colts), Tom Cable (Raiders) and Scott Linehan (Rams). Two more assistants (Steve Hagen and Greg McMahon) served in the same roles in the NFL.

So that was one time you probably couldn’t blame the Rebels’ futility on the coaching staff.

Contact Ron Kantowski at rkantowski@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0352. Follow @ronkantowski on Twitter.

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