All over the sports world there are greedy, self centered, maniacal, out of touch team owners. Every sport has one. But I must say that there is certainly one who rises above the George Steinbrenners and Jerry Jones of the world. I'm obviously talking about Al Davis. As self centered and arrogant as George and Jerry are, they still put a quality product on the field.
They still know how the game works. They have certainly managed to stay ahead of the curve. Whether it is Jerry Jones standing on the sidelines, breathing down his head coaches neck. Or George Steinbrenner declaring that nothing short of a World Series victory will be acceptable to him. They can get away with it because they know how to build a winner.
Then you take a look at Al Davis. It seems as if he has been stuck in the 60's. When the deep ball was something new that no one had seen. Even though the game of football has settled into the west coast offensive era. Al is stuck in the past and refuses to change. Yes, throwing the deep ball can help your team out.
But you have to keep it fresh. You have to implement other strategies on offense to keep the defense on their toes. When Jon Gruden was hired it seemed like there would be a changing of the guard in Oakland. He created an incredibly potent offense. Even though the short dump passes and quick slants were the opposite of what Al wanted.
There was nothing he could do because the team was winning. But soon enough Al couldn't take it anymore. Gruden was getting all of the credit for the Raiders success. Al couldn't stand that he was not the center of attention. So Gruden was soon traded to the Bucs.
That is when things started to unravel in Oakland. They went through about a coach a year for the next five years. But finally there seemed to be a sense of optimism that came along with the hiring of Lane Kiffin. A coach who reminded Al Davis of himself. Young, energetic, and strong willed. The next Jon Gruden some thought.
But every Raider fan knew that if he was really that energetic and strong willed then there was bound to be trouble with the owner. Al Davis can't stand when someone offers him an opinion that differs from his own. When someone takes objection with what Al says.
Lane Kiffin was promised complete coaching control when he was hired. But soon enough the whistle would be ripped from his neck as the real man in charge took over.
In his first season the team doubled their wins from the previous year. Though Art Shell didn't set the bar very high with only two wins the previous year. Kiffin also increased the team's terrible offensive output by a full touchdown. They stayed close in many of their games in Kiffin's first season. But once the season ended, the turmoil began.
Kiffin felt he needed to make some changes on defense as the raiders had the second to last run defense in the league under Rob Ryan. Thinking that he had complete control of his staff, he informed Ryan of his decision to let him go.
Al stepped in and said no. Soon enough Kiffin would receive a letter of resignation from Davis. But refused to sign it. That is when the train wreck began. It seemed to have started an all out war with the coach and the owner.
Competant owners are supposed the put the well being of the team before their own personal interests. The main goal of any competant owner is to do all that you can to put a winning team on the field. I guess that is where Al separates himself from all of the intelligent owners in pro sports.
He simply cannot put his selfish arrogance aside and let his coach do what he is paid to do. He has created his own version of a dictatorship, everything goes through him. He tries to undermine his head coach. He goes behind his head coaches back and has secret meetings with his defensive coordinator. He tells his defensive coordinator to go on air and talk trash about the head coach.
He is trying to pit his coaches against each other. It almost seems like he relishes the turmoil. Does he really want the raiders to be the biggest laughing stock in pro sports? Does he even care about the well being of his team and his own legacy? Everyday it seems easier to answer that question with a big fat YES.
The worst part about it is that this team has a great amount of potential. JaMarcus Russell is looking like a freakish hybrid with the grace and poise of Joe Montana and the arm strength of John Elway.
He can be a great player in this league if he is able to grow and mature with the same coaching staff around him. Why stunt his progress by hiring a new coach and a new system so he has to start from scratch all over again?
Darren McFadden is also looking like a future pro bowl running back. With his great combination of speed and field vision. When you add his versatility as a receiver and even quarterback, his potential is limitless. Why would Al Davis go and ruin that?
Because he is Al Davis. It is what he does for a living. How is he helping his teams confidence by making them think that every week their coach will be fired? It is obvious that the players actually want to play for Lane Kiffin. Look at how hard they have played for him the last two weeks against two very good teams.
The players have showed an excitement and tenacity I have not seen with the Raiders in years. But players need stability. They need to grow as a team. Why stop the process once it has already begun. At this pace we will be in rebuilding mode until the day Al Davis dies.
Why try and pin the last two losses on Lane Kiffin when it has heavily been Rob Ryan's fault they are 0-2 in their last two games. Why is a question you can never answer when it pertains to Al Davis. I just have one question for Al. Why do you have to make it so hard to be a Raiders fan? Please just let this team grow together. I know it is completely pointless to ask such a thing of Al Davis. But it's worth a try.
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