Why Aren't the Oakland Raiders Prime Time? Look at Al Davis

Pigskin HeavenCorrespondent IDecember 8, 2008

On my daily browse through the Internet world, I found a video of Oakland Raiders cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha on NFL.com commenting on the Raiders and how they "aren't even close" to competing.

According to Asomugha, "We wonder why we don't get the prime-time games." He then goes on to cite the debacle of this past Thursday's game with the Chargers, a 34-7 loss, as well as the 41-14 loss to Denver on Monday Night Football in Week One.

The Pro Bowl cornerback also wonders how many people are "upset, or even care," about the Raiders misery this season.

One can't feel any joy at Asomugha's situation. Here is one of the best players in the NFL, who was franchised last year by Raiders and will likely get the tag again. He goes out there and plays well on a daily basis, and is a player who just wants to win.

The problem in Oakland is Al Davis. Davis himself has created this atmosphere of losing, of people not caring. While Davis himself might care a great deal, he's not making the right decisions for this team.

In Asomugha's five seasons in the NFL, he has played under five different head coaches. No doubt he's not all that happy about the current situation, with Lane Kiffin axed a few months ago in a controversial decision and replaced by Tom Cable, who has not fared much better than his predecessor.

No team can exist in that environment. Only one coach lasted for two years during his stay—Norv Turner and during Asomugha's rookie season, Coach Bill Callahan was in his second year, which turned out to be his last. With a continuing change in philosophy and coaches, no team can rise above mediocrity.

Davis also likes his power over personnel decisions. In this position, Davis has forced draft picks on his coaches, such as JaMarcus Russell, and has spent lavishly on questionable players, like Tommy Kelly, DeAngelo Hall, and Javon Walker.

Look, giving out the money that Davis did to Kelly ($18.125 million guaranteed,) Walker ($16 million guaranteed) and Hall ($24.5 million guaranteed) was bad. Kelly and Walker have had injury histories with their knees, and Hall was known to be an enigma, one who would make just as many mistakes as big plays.

I wouldn't argue giving Kelly a deal with half that guaranteed money, over three or four years. I also wouldn't argue with giving Walker a one or two year deal for $1 million a season, but loaded heavily with bonuses. Heck, half of Hall's bonus would be fine with me.

Now, you see buyer’s remorse with Hall, who was released after eight games. Yep, eight. Walker is on Injured Reserve, and it wouldn't shock me to see him a free agent this offseason.

Coupled with his draft decisions, Davis doesn't have much of a clue in this NFL. He wouldn't let his coaches have much of a say on his first round picks, forcing Russell and Darren McFadden (oh, where is he this season?) on Kiffin, and Oakland hasn't produced much from drafting in recent seasons.

Above all, I think that Davis doesn't know how to handle people. Kiffin was rudely dismissed, and for this whole year, it's been a circus act from Davis towards Kiffin, starting with rumors about writing his coaches resignation letter to that joke of press conference in which Kiffin was fired.

He was also sued earlier this decade by the family of a deceased co-owner, who claimed Davis miss-managed the team and withheld financial information from them. Regardless of how this suit ended up (it was dismissed and the family later sold their shares back to Davis) it should never come to suing a co-owner.

Davis should've handled that situation much better, but again, he does not know how to handle people.

Former players, such as Warren Sapp, have been critical of Davis' methods after they have left the team. Sapp himself said that Davis has phoned in offensive plays and thrown out defensive systems at the last moment.

Maybe this is why he does not have a General Manager, or someone controlling football operations. Maybe Davis knows he cannot work with someone because he's not a people person, or he likes to do things on his own.

Heck, with the stories that come from guys like Sapp, why would anyone take this job?

The Raiders are one team in all of sports where I wouldn't even want a job. Who wants the entire thing dictated to them, when they are supposed to be the ones in charge?

It's like being the manager at a restaurant, but having no keys to open and close the store, power to count money, or even control where employees are positioned. Who would take that job? Not me.

I won't say Al Davis does not care about the Oakland Raiders. I'm fairly certain he does, and is on record saying he wants two more Super Bowls before he retires.

But, until he decides to step away from football and let a football person do the job, the Raiders are going nowhere. Great players like Nnamdi Asomugha, who could contribute to a successful Raiders era, will come and go and Davis will suffer for it because things need to be done his way.

Even if that is what Davis wanted to do, there's no guarantee he's going to get the guy he wants to do it. He's dug himself quite a hole, and there's no short way to get out of it.


This is an original article by Pigskin Heaven Writer, Tom Tereshinski. You can read it, more of Tom’s articles and more from the Pigskin Heaven staff, here.