The fallout from emails discovered during the NFL’s investigation of the Washington Football Team that resulted in Jon Gruden resigning as head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders on Monday night continues.
One of the emails Gruden sent roughly a decade ago included a racist comment about NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith, and Smith has since explained the NFLPA wants the league to release all of the reported 650,000 emails discovered as part of the probe.
Smith discussed his reasoning for that request during an appearance on ESPN’s “The Right Time with Bomani Jones” podcast.
“What I’m interested in — is there correspondence that suggests teams are making decisions about coaches based on the color of their skin?” Smith said. “Are they actively hostile to players that have chosen to self-identify in various ways? Are they denigrating of people based on sexual preference or religious identity?”
Along with the email about Smith, Gruden also reportedly used racist, misogynistic and anti-gay language in messages sent from 2010 through 2018.
Gruden said last week he had reached out to Smith, and Smith told Jones he responded to the former coach via text but before Gruden resigned following a damning New York Times story.
Earlier on Wednesday, Raiders owner Mark Davis seemed to complain to ESPN about Gruden being singled out in stories related to the emails since Friday.
“I have no comment,” Davis said in a brief statement. “Ask the NFL. They have all the answers.”
Subscribe to Yardbarker’s Morning Bark, the most comprehensive newsletter in sports. Customize your email to get the latest news on your favorite sports, teams and schools. Emailed daily. Always free! Sign up now ▸
NFL under pressure to release emails from Washington investigationNFL has ‘damaging’ emails from Jon Gruden?The ‘Most interceptions thrown’ quiz
Related slideshow: Forgotten playoff games that all NFL fans should know (Provided by Yardbarker)
Forgotten playoff games that all NFL fans should know
Each year, certain playoff games live on while others fade. As the NFL embarks on its latest postseason, here are some of the most underappreciated games from the Super Bowl era. No Super Bowl-winning teams are eligible here; they get their due. But several of these games produced a Super Bowl entrant.
Rams at Vikings, 1969 NFL Western Conference championship
Obscured because of its first-round placement and the Vikings’ one-sided Super Bowl IV loss, this frigid matchup pitted the NFL’s No. 1 defense against Rams MVP quarterback Roman Gabriel. The two Hall of Fame Purple People Eaters came through for the Vikes in sub-zero wind chills. Two Gabriel TD passes in the first half gave Los Angeles a 10-point halftime lead, but Joe Kapp’s 2-yard QB sweep staked Minnesota to a fourth-quarter advantage. Eller beat Hall of Fame right tackle Bob Brown for a safety, and a Page INT protected the 23-20 lead. The Vikings routed the Browns the next week, venturing to the first of their four Super Bowls.
Steelers at Broncos, 1977 AFC divisional playoff
Between the Steelers’ four-Super Bowl run between 1974-79, this was the only time they did not appear in an AFC title game. A pre-ESPN Tom Jackson had a lot to do with that. The Pro Bowl linebacker’s fumble return set up a first-half TD, and he picked off two Terry Bradshaw passes to give the Broncos their first playoff win. Pittsburgh, however, outgained Denver and forged a 21-all tie in the fourth quarter. After two Bronco field goals, Jackson’s second pick stopped a go-ahead Steeler march in a 34-21 victory. Denver’s Orange Crush defense produced a Super Bowl berth. The Steel Curtain exacted revenge in the ’78 playoffs, however.
Eagles at Falcons, 1978 NFC wild-card game
The NFL expanded to 10 playoff teams in 1978; these 9-7 squads began a new era at a muddy Fulton County Stadium. The Eagles held a 13-point lead with less than four minutes to play. It could have been more, but punter Mike Michel — asked to kick once Dıck Vermeil did not sign a replacement kicker after Nick Mike-Mayer’s late-season injury — missed a field goal and an extra point. The Falcons scored two TDs — on Steve Bartkowski passes to tight end Jim Mitchell and wideout Wallace Francis — in the final minutes to take a 14-13 lead. A Ron Jaworski-led drive ended with a Michel 34-yard miss with 17 seconds left. The NFC champion Cowboys eliminated the Falcons a week later.
Rams at Cowboys, 1979 NFC divisional playoff
The Cowboys and Rams faced off in six playoff games from 1973-80; Dallas won four of those. The defending NFC champions were favored to win this Texas Stadium encounter against a 9-7 Rams team, after Roger Staubach’s final comeback gave Dallas the NFC East title over Washington. The Rams nullified another Staubach rally. The Hall of Fame QB erased a 14-5 halftime deficit with a 2-yard TD pass to Jay Saldi in the fourth quarter. But the Rams escaped on a deflected 50-yard pass from Vince Ferragamo to Billy Waddy near the two-minute mark. Staubach retired after this 21-19 loss; the Rams parlayed this upset into a Super Bowl XIV berth.
Bills at Chargers, 1980 AFC divisional playoff
The Air Coryell Chargers blew their first playoff opportunity, losing to an undermanned Oilers team in the 1979 divisional round. They almost endured a reprise a year later. Despite the Bolts being the first team to deploy three 1,000-yard receivers — John Jefferson, Kellen Winslow, Charlie Joiner — they let the Bills take a 14-3 halftime lead. Bills QB Joe Ferguson played on a severely injured ankle and reinjured it during a three-INT outing, aiding a Chargers escape. Dan Fouts hit Joiner and Ron Smith — on a 50-yard strike with 2:18 left — for second-half TDs to preserve a 20-14 win. The Raiders beat the Chargers in San Diego in the AFC title game.
Bills at Jets, 1981 AFC wild-card game
While three 1981 name games — the “Freezer Bowl,” “The Catch” and the “Epic in Miami” — overshadowed this Shea Stadium contest, it nearly involved a historic Jets comeback. Behind two Frank Lewis TD catches during the ex-Steeler’s 158-yard day, the Bills led 24-0 in the second quarter. Despite trailing by 18 in the fourth, the Jets rallied to slash the deficit to four. Amid a 377-yard performance, Jets QB Richard Todd drove the hosts into Buffalo’s red zone. However, his fourth INT — to linebacker Bill Simpson — gave the Bills a 31-27 win. The Jets were, however, in the AFC title game a year later.
Chargers at Steelers, 1982 AFC first-round game
Though it came in a strike-shortened season, this game deserves more attention. Not only was it Terry Bradshaw’s final playoff game, but this matchup also pitted a Steelers team still starting nine Hall of Famers against the period’s most exciting squad. The Chargers, in what would be their Air Coryell years’ last playoff run, ended the Steel Curtain era. Bradshaw and Fouts each had 300-yard days at Three Rivers Stadium, and the second of John Stallworth’s two TDs gave Pittsburgh a 28-17 fourth-quarter edge. But two ensuing Winslow TDs — the second via final-minute screen pass — rescued the Bolts in a 31-28 classic. In a revenge measure, the Dolphins routed the Bolts a week later.
Falcons at Vikings, 1982 NFC first-round game
A two-month strike induced a one-time-only 16-team playoff bracket, setting up an NFC matchup of 5-4 teams. The Metrodome’s first playoff game turned out to be fun, with the Falcons scoring two special teams touchdowns — one on an option pitch to an Englishman (kicker Mick Luckhurst) — and returning an INT for another. After Bob Glazebrook’s 35-yard pick-six, Tommy Kramer piloted two TD drives to erase a two-score Atlanta lead. A Luckhurst field goal gave the Falcons a 24-23 fourth-stanza edge, but another Vikes drive ended in a TD — a Ted Brown 5-yard run inside two minutes. After this 30-24 triumph, Super Bowl champ Washington defeated Minnesota.
Seahawks at Dolphins, 1983 AFC divisional playoff
The only conference championship game appearance in the Seahawks’ first 29 seasons came in 1983, by virtue of a big upset in Miami. In a game that featured five Dolphin turnovers, the 9-7 Seahawks upended rookie Dan Marino in a 27-20 stunner. Fellow standout rookie Curt Warner upstaged Marino, totaling 151 scrimmage yards — the final two on a go-ahead touchdown run in the fourth quarter. Dolphins returner Fulton Walker, he of a Super Bowl return TD the year prior, then fumbled twice to seal Seattle’s upset. The Seahawks lost to the Raiders the next week, and the Dolphins avenged this loss in the 1984 playoffs.
Lions at 49ers, 1983 NFC divisional playoff
Not a 49ers Super Bowl year, but this game involved a flawless Joe Montana drive and a monster Billy Sims effort. It also featured five Gary Danielson INTs to hamstring an upset-poised 9-7 Lions team. A Week 16 injury to Eric Hipple sidelined Detroit’s QB1, and the veteran Danielson staked the 49ers to two first-half TDs after INTs. But Sims (140 scrimmage yards) scored two fourth-quarter TDs to give the Lions a six-point lead. Montana countered with a 6-for-6 final drive that culminated in a Freddie Solomon score and 24-23 margin. Danielson’s ensuing salvo ended with an Eddie Murray 42-yard field goal miss. The 49ers lost in a controversial NFC title game in Washington.
Seahawks at Oilers, 1987 AFC wild-card game
In the first of the Oilers’ seven straight playoff appearances, they needed to withstand a big Steve Largent day. The future pass-reliant Oilers outgained the Seahawks by nearly 200 yards. Alonzo Highsmith and Mike Rozier combined for 140 on the ground — including Rozier’s zig-zag 1-yard score — and Warren Moon threw for 273. But Tony Zendejas missed a 29-yard field goal that would have sealed a win, leading to Largent scoring a final-minute TD. The Hall of Famer’s 132-yard day was not enough, however; the Oilers won the overtime coin toss and prevailed 23-20. Houston won three wild-card games during this stretch but zero divisional-round games.
Bills at Browns, 1989 AFC divisional playoff
The Browns’ “The” games have endured; their action-packed wins from this period have not. Cleveland held off the future powerhouse in a 34-30 shootout. The Bills and Browns were nine-win teams in an NFC-tilted season, but this game included five 30-plus-yard TDs — including two from Browns wideout Webster Slaughter and a 90-yard kickoff return by rookie Eric Metcalf. But the Bills rallied to within four late in the fourth quarter, and Jim Kelly marched the visitors into the Browns’ red zone. This game, however, is most remembered for Ronnie Harmon’s ensuing end zone drop. Clay Matthews ensured a third Browns-Broncos AFC title game — without a “The” — with an interception one play later.
Rams at Giants, 1989 NFC divisional playoff
Despite the NFL steadily making receiving yards easier to compile, Flipper Anderson’s 336-yard single-game standard remains 32 years later. Two months after that electric night, the Rams wideout tacked on a signature playoff performance. He scored twice in an upset at the Meadowlands. In the playoffs after missing the previous two fields, the Bill Parcells-Bill Belichick Giants could not contain Jim Everett. The thin-faced QB threw for 315 yards — 50 of those went to his second-year receiver. An Everett-to-Anderson 30-yard strike allowed the Rams to walk off, 19-13, in overtime. While an all-time 49ers team shredded the Rams a week later, Anderson’s ’89 season should not be slept on.
Chiefs at Dolphins, 1990 AFC wild-card game
The Chiefs have a diverse file of playoff agony; some losses ended up overlooked. The first Marty Schottenheimer-era outing qualifies as an “others receiving votes” letdown. Largely on the back of Stephone Paige, whose record Anderson broke, Kansas City held a 13-point fourth-quarter lead in Miami. The Chiefs’ No. 5 scoring defense wilted. Dan Marino threw two subsequent TD passes, the second a 12-yarder on which Albert Lewis’ INT gamble led to a Mark Clayton stroll-in to make it 17-16. A holding penalty stalled a Chiefs final drive, and Nick Lowery’s 52-yard game-winning field goal try fell short. The Bills beat the Dolphins in the snow a week later.
Steelers at Chiefs, 1993 AFC wild-card game
Moving from Steve DeBerg to Dave Krieg, the Chiefs could not voyage past the divisional round. They did in 1993, after trading for Joe Montana and signing Marcus Allen. Montana started 0-for-7 in this game and suffered an injury, leading to a Krieg touchdown pass. Steelers QB Neil O’Donnell also threw three. The 9-7 Steelers held a 24-17 lead late in the fourth stanza, but tight end Keith Cash blocked a punt to set up a fourth-and-goal Montana-to-Tim Barnett connection that tied the game. In Arrowhead Stadium’s Astroturf finale, the Chiefs won 27-24 on a Lowery OT field goal. The Chiefs upset the Oilers to qualify for their only conference title game between 1969-2018.
Dolphins at Chargers, 1994 AFC divisional playoff
Back from an Achilles tear, Marino nearly led the Dolphins to a second Round 2 win over the Chargers in three seasons. Marino threw three first-half TD passes to give Miami a 21-6 lead, but a Reuben Davis safety keyed a Charger comeback. Occurring in the 1992-98 window when the NFL ditched replay, this game was rough for officials, who deprived the Bolts a TD and gave them a phantom score. The last of Natrone Means’ 139 rushing yards, however, set up a Stan Humphries-to-Mark Seay go-ahead TD inside a minute remaining. Marino’s well-conducted final drive ended with a Pete Stoyanovich missed field goal and a 22-21 loss. The Chargers ventured to their only Super Bowl that season.
Vikings at Giants, 1997 NFC wild-card game
Overlooked because of what the Vikings did in 1998, their final pre-Randy Moss season included a late comeback. Brad Johnson’s season-ending surgery allowed an unretired Randall Cunningham to return to a QB1 role, and he directed a rare two-score rally inside of the two-minute warning. Officials had a shaky day here too, wrongfully giving the Giants and Vikings TDs. Replays showed a Jake Reed foot out of bounds, but after his score, Minnesota recovered an onside kick and turned it into a game-winning Eddie Murray field goal in a 23-22 rain-soaked win. The Vikings lost to the 49ers the following Saturday.
Colts at Dolphins, 2000 AFC wild-card game
A brutal Mike Vanderjagt playoff miss derailed the 2005 Colts, but the polarizing kicker cost the 2000 team as well. However, Jim Mora — in his final playoff game before making notable comments on the subject — set this in motion by declining a penalty that forced Vanderjagt to try a 49-yarder rather than give Peyton Manning a third-and-medium in overtime. His miss led to Lamar Smith punctuating a dominant day. Helping a Dolphins team limited by three Jay Fiedler INTs, Smith logged a playoff-record 40 carries (for 209 yards) — the last of which a 17-yard walk-off — in a 23-17 Miami win. The Raiders beat the Dolphins a week later.
Rams at Saints, 2000 NFC wild-card game
Later that Saturday, the Saints had the assignment of containing the defending Super Bowl champions. Although Drew Brees led New Orleans to eight playoff wins, its first postseason conquest should be better remembered. Journeyman wideout Willie Jackson dominated, hauling in six Aaron Brooks passes for 142 yards and three second-half TDs. Jackson’s barrage put the Rams down 31-7 with just under 12 minutes remaining. Kurt Warner led a furious charge, accounting for three TDs in seven minutes. The Saints, however, dodged a “Greatest Show on Turf” go-ahead drive when Az Hakim fumbled a late punt. A year after their 31-28 loss, the Rams went 14-2 and won the NFC.
Steelers at Titans, 2002 AFC divisional playoff
Bill Cowher fury represents the lasting image from this game, but the Titans and Steelers waged a shootout prior to a semi-controversial ending in the 34-31 game. The Titans overcame two early Eddie George fumbles to take a 14-0 lead, and after the Steelers scored three straight TDs, Frank Wycheck — amid a 10-catch, 123-yard evening — gave Tennessee a one-point lead. Hines Ward’s second score — from XFL 1.0 MVP Tommy Maddox — steered the game to OT. Cowher’s postgame explosion stemmed from Joe Nedney missing a 31-yard field goal but being bailed out by a Dewayne Washington running-into-the-kicker penalty. Nedney’s ensuing make sent the Titans to Oakland.
Titans at Ravens, 2003 AFC wild-card game
In perhaps the lowest-profile of the five Titans-Ravens playoff tilts, the teams were hardly less menacing. Tennessee rostered co-NFL MVP Steve McNair, while Baltimore employed 2,000-yard rusher, Jamal Lewis. The 12-4 Titans prevailed 20-17, holding Lewis to 35 yards. The Titans outrushed the Ravens 165-54, but Baltimore — perpetually dominant defensively — stayed in the game on a 56-yard Will Demps INT return score. A Todd Heap jump-ball TD tied the game at 17 inside of five minutes remaining, but McNair directed a final march that ended with 44-year-old Gary Anderson’s 46-yard field goal barely clearing the crossbar. The Patriots narrowly edged the Titans the next week.
Jets at Chargers, 2004 AFC wild-card game
Drew Brees’ lone Chargers playoff game included an overtime-forcing connection between two Hall of Famers, but kickers ended up deciding it. Months after the Bolts acquired Philip Rivers, Brees emerged with his only Pro Bowl season in San Diego. He and Chad Pennington combined for four touchdown passes and 598 yards; Brees’ second TD toss went to Antonio Gates with 11 seconds remaining. However, Marty Schottenheimer dropped to 5-12 in the postseason after Nate Kaeding missed a 40-yard field goal in OT. Doug Brien made a 28-yarder to give the Jets a 20-17 win and send them to Pittsburgh, though Brien’s issues in that game cost Gang Green.