I have been a Raider fan all of my life. My memories over the years are filled with the days when every team in the league would circle the day they played the Raiders.
When the Raiders walked out of the tunnell there was a demand for respect. On the field the opposing team knew that every play would be contested and opposing players knew they would have to pay the price.
The Raiders did whatever it took to win, they fought, clawed, and sacrificed just to establish the respect of the Silver and Black. Every Raider fan who lived through the 70's and 80's have these memories. They hold those memories in a scrap book in their heads with the images, the articles, and the stats at our beckon call.
Lately we have had another ominous run. That being of six straight losing seasons with double digit losses.
Al Davis has been the face of the Raiders since the National Football League merger. He was labeled as the rogue owner and as for the team they were labeled the "Criminal Element" by Hall of Fame Coach and four time Superbowl Champion Chuck Knoll of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
In a time when teams were grabbing big bodied players to play defense to stop the running game and big bodied receivers to block for the running game, Davis at that time was hiring fast receivers, and throwing the long ball.
Instead of big safeties who could fend off blockers to make a tackle Al again hired faster safeties that delivered high speed collisions.
When a former #1 pick would get cut by a team, because they were too old, or maybe they didn't perform well, or perhaps had attitude problems every team would steer clear, while Al Davis was sending him a plane ticket bound for Oakland.
The NFL respected Davis and the players loved him for it. All of us fans loved him for it. The players wanted to play for him.
Davis was the pioneer of the vertical passing game, and punishing defense. The Silver and Black inspired players like former Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Rod Woodson and former San Francisco 49er strong safety Ronnie Lott to become the players they were. Al Davis was the man!!!
Now that free agency is here players have changed, but Davis hasn't.
He still expects players to feel privileged and grateful, but they don't. Davis still expects the players to hear and read the media's resentment toward the owner and the Raiders use it for fuel come Sunday, but they don't.
Instead there is a sound bite after sound bite about how they can't win. Not because he doesn't bring in quality guys, or because he is too stingy, or is not interested in winning.
The owner of the team has one major flaw. He thinks he's the owner of the team! Kinda redundant huh?
Jerry Jones and Dan Snyder win games under the same philosophy. They meddle even more than Davis does. They have coaches that are figure heads, but the teams go out and play every Sunday, and manage to make it too the playoffs.
However, not this team. Javon Walker gets his head kicked in by some guy in Vegas, and the team falls apart.
Cornerback Adam "Pacman" Jones gets his rear kicked in a bathroom, and the Cowboys move on, and aren't effected.
Shaun Taylor one of the best safeties in the league was shot and killed, but the Redskins make the playoffs.
The Raiders acquire wide receiver Randy Moss and can't make him happy enough to play anywhere near his potential.
The Cowboys acquire wide receiver Terrell Owens, and he puts up prow bowl numbers.
The examples go on and on. Is this really an owner problem???
Day in and day out I am hearing how, "the Raiders will never return to greatness until Al Davis is dead." I am fed up with that mindset.
Those are pathetic excuses Davis has brought in great players and they repay him by collecting a paycheck for nothing!
Another classic line is: "No one will take the coaching job in Oakland, because they have to deal with Al Davis."
That is ridiculous!
Jason Garrett is being groomed in Dallas by a meddlesome owner that will not leave things alone. One who walks the sideline, is involved in literally every decision, and if Garrett doesn't take the job then there is a line forming behind him.
I am sick of "fans" complaining and buying into those lies. I am sick of the players whining, and getting knocked on their butts every Sunday.
It is their choice every Sunday to show up and play, but they keep choosing to lose!
Davis didn't make that decision. He still shows up hoping to see their best, but they still show up and not give it.
Another line is that Davis can't make good decisions like, "Look at Javon Walker and Deangelo Hall. " Yeah lets look at them.
Two of Kiffins "Must Have's" that Davis acquired for him. Now, what about Kiffin?
A guy that has spent time in Jacksonville and at the University of Southern California that was hated, and deemed untrustworthy by his coworkers. A guy who wanted to risk NFL tampering charges to get daddy into Oakland.
In five years everyone will see Kiffin for what he is.
Since Al hasn't produced in six years, suddenly he is the most evil, vial, and a despicable man in football even some say a maniacal dictator or some say he is crazy,
The worst part of it is that it comes from Raider fans! In reality it is the team that hasn't produced.
The Raiders can't stop the run? Davis brought in defensive tackle Warren Sapp, but Sapp didn't produce.
Wide receiver Tim Brown, wide receiver Jerry Rice, quarterback Rich Gannon, and running back Charlie Garner, gone? What now?
Davis gets Moss, quarterbacm Kerry Collins and running back Lamont Jordan, and they didn't produce.
What more did Al need to do?
The truth is that I am sick of hearing that Davis is so much worse than every owner in football. The truth is their are plenty of team owners that sabotage success.
The truth is that there are a half a dozen owners in the league that have done a far worse job. No one shining the spotlight on them. Last time I knew we were in the Superbowl in '02 despite Davis, and his horrible decisions.
I grew up with Davis, and he is still the James Dean of football. Like him or hate him he is the owner of the Raiders. Call him names or wish him dead. He still will be there every Sunday watching the Raiders play.
I say God Bless him for never giving up and continuing to try to get this team the players they need to win games.
AL IS STILL THE MAN!!!