The Dysfunction of the Oakland Raiders Begins at the Top

Paul MacDonaldContributor INovember 2, 2009

ALAMEDA, CA - SEPTEMBER 30:  Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis speaks during a press conference to announce the firing of head coach Lane Kiffin of the Oakland Raiders at the thier training facility on Septemer 30, 2008 in Alameda, California.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

Another week, another loss.  Another loss that can be attributed to a system that never really worked when it "worked." 

Where does the blame lie? Even those fans who swore some type of blood oath know the reason, and secretly whisper it when no one is in earshot: Al Davis.

Let's go back in time, to a time when Lamonica was throwing bombs down the field and the Raiders were always a day late and a dollar short. 

Lombardi showed that this "throw the ball really far and hope some speedy guy catches it" method really wasn't the future. It sure wasn't successful in Super Bowl II or against good secondaries.

It changed when John Madden started Kenny Stabler.  This, more than any other element in the great teams of the '70s, shows who was in charge. 

Al Davis's desire to "stretch the field" went by the wayside and Madden went on to the greatest winning percentage of any coach. He did it with ball control and an accurate QB.

After Madden and Stabler left, he tried it again with Tom Flores and Dan Pastorini. Thank whatever you think is holy that Pastorini broke his leg.

That unfortunate happenstance gave us one of the greatest comeback stories in NFL history.  It also garnered us two world championships.

Tom Flores was replaced by Mike Shanahan.  Things rapidly went downhill. Certain patterns began to emerge.  These were destructive patterns.

Art Shell took Mike Shanahan's team to a 12-4 record, and was horrible after that. Marcus Allen was unceremoniously dumped. Bo Jackson was injured and the QB/coach carousel began.

The '90s were a horrible time. Strange choices at QB and coach.  Mediocre teams just getting by. Then, something happened.  A miraculous event.

The arrival of John Gruden. What was different about Gruden? He was, and is, a man who understood modern football. A new Madden for a new era.

How did Al repay the man who had, so I thought, finally buried the myth of the big-armed QB plus speedy receivers? What happened to the man who brought pride back to the fanbase?  Got rid of him. The horror that followed is well known.

Now, we have Al's latest choice for head coach mired in a new controversy. A controversy that could have been avoided just by vetting the guy.

One can only speculate, but I would think that Al saw a fat guy who coached the O-line and figured he found the second coming of Madden, only without the ability to stand against the all-knowing Al Davis.

Naturally, that was the only thing that any head coach of the Oakland Raiders actually needs.

There is no going back.  The notion that you could take a superior athlete and make him a decent football player died in the '80s.  A team of castoffs will no longer get it done.

Of all the things Al looks for that remind him of the past, he sure doesn't seem to remember that attitude was the key ingredient. They were already football players.

Enough of looking to what never really was.  It's time to focus on what is actually happening. We have, without question, the worst QB in the league.

That he's still starting has to be due to the meddling of Al Davis.  We have a defense that is built to blitz, and we aren't.  I'm not surprised, because that was the way they did it "back then."

There is no ending point for this article, because the madness ends when Al Davis does.  He can either pass away or step aside.

What he and his hand-picked cronies are doing now would be unacceptable in any business.  Why this lot gets a free pass is beyond me.