San Francisco 49ers

Why 49ers-Raiders coin toss is neither heads nor tails

Oakland Raiders coach Rod Woodson visits on the sidelines before an NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Sunday, Nov. 8, 2015, in Pittsburgh.
Oakland Raiders coach Rod Woodson visits on the sidelines before an NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Sunday, Nov. 8, 2015, in Pittsburgh.

When the Raiders and 49ers met for a coin toss in 2006, the personnel chiefs from the squads met in an empty hotel ballroom and someone fished into their front pocket and produced a quarter.

The 49ers' Scot McCloughan, who called 'tails' that day, said that when the coin was flipped, it bounced off a wall and everyone had to chase it down to see how it landed.

Luck favored the 49ers. They ended up with the sixth-overall pick, which they used on tight end Vernon Davis. With the seventh selection, the Raiders took safety Michael Huff.

"Tails never fails," McCloughan said.

Friday's rematch – this time to determine the ninth and 10th picks – will be considerably more elaborate.

For one, there's no heads or tails. Instead of a quarter, the teams have a specially made coin with the Raiders logo on one side and the 49ers symbol on the other. If it lands with the 49ers side facing up, they pick ninth and vice versa.

Raiders coach Jon Gruden and 49ers general manager John Lynch will represent the two teams. ("He's more athletic than me," Kyle Shanahan said when asked why Lynch got the nod). But there's an official flipper – former NFL cornerback Rod Woodson, who played for both teams.

Whereas the 2006 flip occurred in an empty room of a hotel, this year's will take place in the Indiana Convention Center and may even be televised. The NFL Network will have a camera on hand and will cut to the flip if there is not anything more compelling happening as players run the 40-yard dash and are tested in the broad jump and other abilities during Friday's scouting combine.

One final difference: You can place a bet on who wins the toss. For some reason, the Raiders are given slightly better odds to win the 50-50 proposition.

The teams must flip a coin because they finished with identical 6-10 records. They will alternate draft position after the first round.



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