Let's develop a framework for this discussion.
Framework: An example
Someone wrote me on Bleacher Report and asked what my heritage was. I answered him in a general way, but I emphasized that in America, I am simply an African-American.
Looking at the census mail today, and thinking about the question on ethnicity or race, I know that in earllier history the classifications and rules for placing someone in one category or another were purely political. This type of labeling occurs in America, and it occurred in Germany, according to a German theologian named Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945).
The Power of Changing the Rules
The phenomena of defining something a certain way has destroyed many men, women, and organizations. Is it attempting to hinder the Oakland Raiders?
For example, if you want to destroy the potency of something, you can dilute it. Years ago, Al Davis was one of the few coaches to select a certain type of talented player. Today, Davis is one of many who do so, and his strategy is diminished or diluted.
If you can't beat 'em, dilute 'em
The Oakland Raiders have been hindered by that dilution. From one perspective, you can say that it is good that the many doors of opportunity opened to give certain guys a "crack at" success.
Now, however, the one thing that seemed to have strengthened the Oakland Raiders has now been copied by other teams. Is this "copy cat phenomena" sincere or deceptive?
Once upon a time
Some defined the Oakland Raiders greatest era to be between 1976 and 1983. During those years, there were 26 teams, and now there are 32 teams.
In that era, there was no concept called "free agency" or "salary cap." Now, the rules have changed.
Al Davis was known to find so-called renegades for his team. One article tagged John Matuszah, Ted Hendricks, and Lyle Alzado as renegades.
P. Patterson said, "Those near the end of their rope or had talent but seemed to fail in other systems" were often chosen by Al Davis. In the past, "Al Davis had no competition for signing these types of players," he said.
Research reveals the following changes:
1. Liberalized the offensive line's use of their hands.
2. Limited the contact that defender could make with receivers.
3. New rules of defensive backs.
4. The new rules for defensive backs virtually took the Raiders D-backs out of the game.
5. The new rules are cited as the cause for the Oakland Raiders getting a high frequency of penalities.
6. Davis lost the love of some of the members of the Raider Nation when the team was moved to Los Angeles. Regaining that love is a challenge to this day.
It's sort of like this example: If a woman cheats on a man, then the man has a hard time trusting her ability to be faithful. It seems that some folks in the Raider Nation felt betrayed, and re-building that trust and love has been difficult. This breach in trust can occur in all types of relationships.
7. The Humpty Dumpty in this situation is the belief in parity. Pete Roselle's philosophy about parity ruined and toppled the dynasties in the NFL.
It sort of reminds this researcher of what integration in the South did to some schools like Jack Yates High School in Houston, Texas. The good thing is that Jack Yates is returning to its glory in 2010.
So, it is a good thing to anticipate that the Oakland Raiders can and will return to their glory. Many "Humpty Dumpty" NFL franchise dynasties had a great fall, and they are having trouble being put back together again.
The Copy Cat Syndrome
The copy cat syndrome, combined with the "misfits became fits" to many teams, are what some experts believe are the reasons for the slump in the Oakland Raiders' achievement over the past seven years.
The simple, the complex
What can turn this around? The answer is conceptually simply, although it is operationally complex.
The passion to win, the commitment to excellence, and the belief that the Oakland Raiders can work their way out of the handcuffs and shackles of the new rules are a start. The Raiders can break loose like a Houdini who gets free even when he is underwater.
The synergy and teamwork put into motion through excellent coaching can break the shackles and get the team moving again in the right direction.
Go Raiders! Break free, and shake loose the shackles!