Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 9/12/12

I already covered this game, but I recently learned something about NFL history.

On September 10, 1978, the Raiders won a game against the Chargers in the most amazing manner-- an offensive fumble recovery for a touchdown.

Even back then, NFL rules limited forward passes to once per play and only from behind the line of scrimmage.  If the ball hit the ground, it was considered incomplete and the play was ruled dead.

However, in the video (a look back at the play, maybe from the 1990s, was recently uploaded to Youtube), it seems pretty clear that Ken Stabler and Pete Banaszak were throwing the ball forward, and Banaszak did it down the field from the line of scrimmage.  Some Chargers fans are convinced that the Raiders intentionally fumbled the ball forward and have nicknamed the play "The Immaculate Deception."

The game ultimately cost the Chargers a shot at the playoffs.  They finished 9-7, one game behind the Houston Oilers, who clinched the wild card in Week 15, with a two game lead on the Raiders, Chargers, and Seahawks going into Week 16.

The Chargers and Oilers played in Week 16.  If San Diego had won the game against the Raiders in Week 1, the game against the Oilers would have been a virtual playoff game, with the winner getting in and the loser going home.

The opener this season between the Raiders and Chargers took place on September 10th, 2012-- exactly 34 years later.

It seems odd that such a strange game would take place on the exact same day of a wild play that could very well have been illegal.  Is it possible that the Raiders are getting divine retribution for cheating during that game?  Will we see the Raiders miss the playoffs by one game because of their long snapper?

Anything is possible in today's NFL.

The author missed this play by a decade, and loves the idea of karma costing teams a game here or there.

He can be found on Twitter (@RGDSports) or Facebook (RGDSports@yahoo.com), and can be followed by clicking the "become a fan" button next to his picture.  He will also give you twenty points and a backup long snapper if you can name the team on his hat.



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