Poor Al, What Now?

Is it really poor Al?  Maybe I should say Rich Al, What Now?  After all, Al Davis, majority owner of Oakland Raiders is rich.  Rich with money, poor with progress.  Poor with understanding fans.  Poor with team management.  Poor with knowing what’s required to run an NFL team.  Poor with pulling together the right player personnel.  And, above all, poor with finding, placing, and keeping a coach in this modern NFL era.

Oh yea, sure, he was great Al at some point in Raiders history.  Over a 40 year period, form 1963 to 2002, the Raiders only had 7 losing seasons.  Won 3 SuperBowl titles.  Yup, the Raiders have one of the greatest histories in the NFL.  A whole story line of favorites:

  • Ken Stabler, Dave Casper, John Madden, Fred B., Cliff Branch, Lester Hayes, Mark van Eegan, Marcus Allen, Jim Plunkett, John Matusak, (enter your favorite here)

Now, take a moment to reminisce thru all the ups and downs of this growing laundry list of Raider coaches.  Particularly, the post Gruden years…

Head coach       Season(s) Record  Playoffs
Eddie Erdelatz     1960-61     6-10        0-0
Marty Feldman    1961-62     2-15        0-0
Red Conkright     1962           1-8          0-0
Al Davis                1963-65    23-16-3   0-0
John Rauch           1966-68    33-8-1     2-2
John Madden        1969-78   103-32-7  9-7
Tom Flores            1979-87   83-53       8-3
Mike Shanahan      1988-89   8-12        0-0
Art Shell                1989-94    54-38       2-3
Mike White           1995-96    15-17        0-0
Joe Bugel               1997          4-12         0-0
Jon Gruden           1998-01   38-26         2-2 
Bill Callahan        2002-03   15-17         2-1
Norv Turner         2004-05    9-23          0-0
Art Shell                2006         2-14          0-0
Lane Kiffin           2007-08    5-15          0-0
Tom Cable            2008          0-0            0-0

At what point, can Al stop blaming someone else for all the blunders that the Raiders have encountered.  Why is it that by the time these coaches leave, which means waiting until the inevitable event of getting canned by Al, there’s so much ill will between the head coach, his coaching staff, the players, the management, and with Al.  Every time.  It’s the same story.  Even 45 years ago, when he placed himself in the coaching spot, he generated a “write home and tell mama” 55% winning rate.  Compare that to Madden’s 73% winning rate, and you can quickly deduce why Madden is where he is.

At some point, you need to start to wonder.  Ok, forget it.  We’ve known for years.  We’ve stopped wondering.  It’s time for action.  Al Davis stinks.  The Oakland Raiders deserve better.  Raider Nation deserves better.  The City of Oakland desperately needs the Raiders and deserves better.  At 79 years old, do you really think Davis can handle this situation?

Let alone the knowledge that it takes to run an NFL team.  It’s a business.  And, businesses need leaders and structure.  It’s not just a head coach that makes a successful franchise.  Look at all the successful team that won championship or had great runs with winning records.  The winners have strength up and down the organization – from the front office management, the scouts, the coaching staff, the players, and great fan support.  It’s simply the worse kind of management that when something goes wrong for you to point fingers.  Who the hell hired Lane Kiffin anyway?  You’re not going to take any responsibility for putting someone in a position that they were not qualified to do.  And, poor Lane.  Probably a good guy, probably a good coach.  Now, he’s damaged goods.  Hopefully, Kiff will get a spot with an NFL or NCAA coaching staff where he can rebuild his career.  He’s only 33 or 34 years old, so plenty of good times in front of him.  Look at Coach Gruden.  He went on to great things in Tampa Bay — the team that Al traded his coach to.

So, a shout out to Al.  I always admired an owner who could were white sweats and sit in the press box on Sunday afternoons. But look at where things are now.  Give it up.  Sell already.  You don’t have the brains, the capability, or the knowledge of managing an NFL franchise in this era.  You’ll never get it.  You’ve made so many poor decisions (don’t get me started on Jeff Hostetler or Jeff George – oh man, stop me).  And, you’ll never know it, cause your way out of every situation is to blame everyone else but yourself.  Now, the Raiders are off to a new exploration for that dream coach.  How long until this one blows up?

Go U Raiders.  Take a hike Al.


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