Rich Gannon's Personality Is The Issue?

Steve LudwigContributor IJanuary 9, 2010

OAKLAND, CA - SEPTEMBER 19:  Quarterback Rich Gannon #12 of the Oakland Raiders scrambles with the ball during the game against the Buffalo Bills at Network Associates Coliseum on September 19, 2004 in Oakland, California. The Raiders defeated the Bills 13-10. (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

I guess I’m pretty amazed at the negative press on Rich Gannon about his offer to help Jamarcus Russell.

To summarize, former Raider Quarterback Rich Gannon left a message for Al Davis offering to help mentor current Raiders Quarterback Jamarcus Russell, who is now widely considered the biggest bust since Ryan Leaf. Gannon let his listeners know about the call on his radio show, which prompted Raiders senior executive John Herrera to comment that neither Davis, Russell, coach Tom Cable nor the Raiders needs any help from Gannon and that "maybe it's Rich that needs the help."

Since then, Gannon’s motivation has been the focus of attention, meaning that the Raiders diversionary tactic seems to be working.

In a subsequent radio interview, former Raider and Buccaneer Tim Brown commented that "Even hearing a guy like Gannon say something negative about the organization is really wrong. Gannon knows that he came there with that `I hate the Raiders' type mentality. He came in there with that, and showed that to all the players. Gannon wasn't a very well-like player his whole time with the Raiders. In fact he was downright hated, and if not for my intervention, a lot of times, there would have been times he would have been sure-enough jumped on, almost. So for a guy like Rich to say something just isn't fair to the organization, I don't believe."

The question on the table has now successfully been switched from “How do we improve the Raiders’ dismal performance over the past 7 years?” to “Does Rich Gannon have a good personality?”


Personally speaking, though I think highly of Tim Brown as a player, I have more questions about his motivation for commenting on Gannon’s personality than I do about Gannon’s motivation. Mind you that, before Gannon’s arrival, the Raiders were basically Tim Brown’s team. He spoke for the players to management, and was widely regarded as the leader on the field. Gannon’s arrival made Brown second fiddle.


You might recall that it’s Tim Brown that left the Raiders for the Bucs when he was asked to take a secondary role in the receiver corps rather than stick around and help younger receivers. Brown then discovered that he really wasn’t a number one anymore, even with the Bucs. Like many great players, his ego eventually outmatched his ability.


In the same interview cited above, Brown also offered to help the Raiders, stating that “I do think, not just my presence in Oakland, but in some of the decision making as far as what's happening with coaches and players that come in, I think I could be very instrumental in helping in that area" Yet no one questions Brown’s motivation.  


For the sake of argument, let’s assume that Rich Gannon wasn’t well liked as a person when he was with the Raiders. That doesn’t in any way discount the fact that he was the most effective Raiders QB since Jim Plunkett, he was a league MVP, his “Phili Cab Driver” persona was always geared toward making the Raiders a better team, and at the time, no one was commenting that he should be pushed out of the organization because of his personality. Even if you assume that he didn’t like the Raiders organization, he realized that this was his one opportunity to show what he could do, and he made sure that everyone else on the field did their job as well. No one ever questioned his preparation, toughness or his direction when he played. And most importantly, in this instance, he’s simply RIGHT.


Russell is a bust as a QB, and whatever is going on to get him up to speed isn’t working. Everyone realizes that Russell has a cannon arm, but he seems to completely disregard his coaching once he gets into a game. Basically he’s another Jeff George, with a $36 million arm, and a 10 cent head. Gannon was doing his job as an analyst when he broke down Russell’s play and outlined the problems with his mechanics. To date, I have heard of no one actually disagreeing with his analysis.


I don’t understand why we’re spending this much time questioning Rich Gannon’s motivation and tearing at him, when the Raiders have become a shadow of its former self.  Every other team, even the lowly Lions, Bengals and Browns, have outplayed the Raiders these past 7 years. Anyone over the age of 16 has now grown up with the Raiders being the laughing stock of the NFL. I’d think that they’d be more than happy to have Rich Gannon help, regardless of his motivation to do so.