Hue Jackson, now ex-coach of the Oakland Raiders, recently recanted his tirade against his former scatterbrained employer. In his previous life as head coach, Jackson chewed out his team after a Week 17 loss, which allowed Denver's defense to reach the playoffs. He even said he was "pissed."
If one thinks about the logistics of how Jackson’s tenure lasted, why the hell shouldn't he be pissed? His team is the proud recipient of the NFL's record for penalties and penalty yards in one season. Just imagine the psychological breakdown that had to have occurred to Jackson.
When I watch a game at home, one penalty against a team I’m rooting for inclines me to throw temper tantrums, sometimes resulting in the tossing of actual objects. These objects are generally nearby discarded soda cans. If one takes into account that the Raiders were on the receiving end of 163 penalties, Jackson had to throw an average of about 10 soda cans per game in 2011. Hue Jackson is what Al Gore is arguing against, and Jackson has every reason to be upset with the most undisciplined set of football players in NFL history.
There's a point where the coach can only do so much. Yelling only goes so far with what appears to be blatant stubbornness to the basic rules and guidelines of professional football. Jackson can scream until he’s bright red in the face, but yelling only does so much when the players appear to be so against following the axioms the NFL sets out.
The majority of these penalties the Raiders committed were personal fouls, infractions that usually stem from a lack of common sense. It’s more the players' fault in these cases rather than Jackson’s, as it appears the Raiders organization is making this out to be. If they didn’t believe this, Jackson would still be roaming the Oakland sidelines.
All Jackson is doing here is saving face. Most employers see it as bad when a person calls out their former employer, and if Jackson ever wants to hold an NFL job again, he probably thinks this will help his cause. Not that he even deserved to be fired in the first place, though, and I think Oakland fans will agree with this statement or become furious with. It may have been a blessing in disguise for Jackson to get fired, as he now doesn't have to deal with the potential catastrophe that is Mark Davis.
Davis, whose main priority appears to be to move the team to Los Angeles, appears to be attempting to gut the team in order to to make the Raiders gentler than the days of his father. Of course, this makes no sense, and getting rid of a man who had Carson Palmer as his quarterback is odd.
The fallacy in Davis’—or Reggie McKenzie, the new Raiders’ general manager—logic, is that this is a team that doesn’t need to be torn from the foundation up in the first place. They need a personnel check, as the players they currently employ appear to be concerned with sabotaging the team via unnecessary penalties and other boneheaded decisions.
Instead, statements like these are made, promising for a new era for what seems like the seventh time in as many Oakland years:
"There comes a time when change is necessary," McKenzie said last week. "For the Raiders the time is now. The Raiders organization, with respect and deference for all its tradition and history, is about to embark on a new era."
The only logical explanation for Jackson's firing is that Davis and McKenzie want to shape the team in his own, unknown vision. You would think last year would have been the beginning of a “new era” in Jackson’s first season as a head coach. How many new eras can one team have before the ownership can be compared to the term “political candidate?"
In sports, it seems that a lot of coaches get run out of town because of the actions that the players take. Terry Francona, the Boston Red Sox manager who got the kick because a Boston Globe report, said his players were goofing off during the playoff hunt. Just as Francona didn’t deserve his end because of the fact that every baseball player goofs off, Jackson should’ve been allowed to stay because of the fact that he can’t play the game for the players, and therefore, really can’t help if a player acts emotional and steps out of line.
It’s “football,” as we are always told, players are supposed to be charged and passionate. The fact that the two-headed monster of Davis and McKenzie do not understand this worries me about the future of the franchise.
Jackson's "outburst" was less Denny Green than it was George Bailey in the climax of It's a Wonderful Life. The fact that Jackson is trying to go back on what he said, by basically saying he was stressed, makes me mad. Why can't a coach be mad at his team without it turning into the heir apparent to whatever nonsense commercial Coors Light is mass producing? The media blows these events out of proportion through endless repetition on SportsCenter and the like, and it forces these guys to go back on their true feelings.
Don't renounce what you said, Hue. You meant it.
Follow Brendan on Twitter: @brendohare