All But Raiders Share in the NFL Rites of January

Matthew LaChiusaContributor IJanuary 11, 2010

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 thier training facility on Septemer 30, 2008 in Alameda, California.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

NFL in January.

Harkening back to some Celtic yearly rite of fertility passage, the NFL sees an overhaul of coaching staff similar to transmission work on a 2009 Jetta.

As soon as the final gun goes off and closes another NFL season, rumors begin to circulate and "Black Monday" generates head-coaching vacancies in at least two to three teams. Within weeks of the Great Dismissal, speculation soon becomes fact when one team, then two, then three, and so on, announce their new head coach, GM, equipment manager, etc.

Apart from the excitement of the playoffs, this NFL ritual lends a certain enthusiasm for those fans whose teams failed to make the postseason. Admit it, everyone loves to tune into the NFL Network and hear the latest gossip (above the blather of Michael Irvin) on who's being fired and who's going to replace them.

Then there are the Oakland Raiders.

Harkening back to some ritual of Aztec human sacrifice, Raiders fans are left to speculate on who may be coaching the team in the following season. Rumors abound, calls for new front-end hirings, promises of fans not renewing their season tickets, and more mini-drama than a trophy-wife in Macy's await the loyal Raiders fanbase.

Finally, one cloudy afternoon, late-February in Alameda, Ol' Executioner, Al "Axeman" Davis gives the order and the Raiders are in search of a new head coach.

Yes, late-February and Bizarro world in Alameda continues when Al finally hires his coach in mid-March; long after any suitable candidate is snatched up by other NFL clubs or college programs.

The final monolithic zaniness in Al's head coaching ritual comes when the new (or retread) coach arrives at Raiders HQ, his staff will already be assembled for him.

Resembling roadside kill that has been picked clean to the bone, this staff will be castaways and retreads desperate for employment.

So as the afternoon Monday exit interview between former head coach Tom Cable and Davis commences, one thing is for sure. Raiders fans will have to wait until early March before they know who's on the coaching staff.

Head coach?

April 1st.