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Ask Sports: Was the Raiders’ third and 48 the longest conversion attempt ever?

  • Published Sunday, Oct. 20, 2013, at 3:05 p.m.

When the Raiders were third-and-48 against the Chiefs, was that the longest distance any team ever had to attempt a conversion?

If anything illustrated why the Chiefs are one of two undefeated teams this season, that series of plays against Oakland was it.

Oakland lost 10 yards on a holding call and then lost 12 more when Kansas City sacked Terrelle Pryor.

The crowd noise at Arrowhead helped cause a five-yard delay of game penalty before the Chiefs sacked Pryor again, bringing up the unfathomable third-and-48 for the Raiders. They didn’t make it.

But was it the longest distance in NFL history? Not by a lot.

That honor goes to the New England Patriots, playing the Dallas Cowboys in the inaugural game at Texas Stadium in October 1971.

The first overall pick of the 1971 draft, Heisman Trophy winner Jim Plunkett was in the middle of a mediocre rookie season.

But with a terrible offensive line, Plunkett took plenty of hits, getting sacked 36 times that season for 319 yards.

The Cowboys, the eventual Super Bowl champions that season, hammered Plunkett for five sacks in the game and three in the series. An offensive holding penalty pushed New England back to its own 9 after starting on the Dallas 38.

On fourth-and-53, the Patriots punted to their own 48, 14 yards behind their original line of scrimmage.

Dallas won 44-21 to break in its new $25 million stadium. Cowboys Stadium, which replaced Texas Stadium 38 years later, was built for $1.3 billion, or 52 times that.

Since 1999, the Raiders’ third-and-48 has only been eclipsed two times.

In last year’s game against the Bengals, Washington faced a third-and-50 as an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty ruined its chances to tie the game on the final play.

In 1999, a Jeff George lost 30 yards on sack and fumble recovery for the Vikings, setting up a third-and-50 against Green Bay in the first quarter of a 24-20 Minnesota win.

Joshua Wood

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