Today, the Raiders will be on the air.
And we’re not only talking about radio and television.
Like the rest of the NFL, the Raiders will begin experimenting with an electronic receiver in the quarterback’s helmet, enabling a coach on the sidelines with a microphone to send in plays.
The play will be called, as always, by offensive coordinator Tom Walsh in the press box and radioed to the sidelines. From there, receiver coach Fred Biletnikoff will call in the play to Jeff Hostetler on the field.
The system was tested in practice Saturday and Hostetler said that, while the volume was fine, it seemed strange to be hearing a voice in his helmet.
He also had another complaint: “There’s no talkback.”
Responded Coach Art Shell, with a big smile, “We don’t want him to talk back.”
The system is supposed to be turned off in the final 15 seconds of the 40-second allotment between plays.
“I hope they shut it off fast,” Hostetler said, “so I don’t have to listen to it on the way up to the line.”
The chances of opponents tuning in is said to be remote.
“I sure hope the game doesn’t come to that,” Shell said. “That would be total espionage.”
The Raiders and Denver Broncos will have met five times by the time 1994 ends. That includes the regular-season finale last January, a playoff game the next week, today’s American Bowl and the upcoming regular season.