06 November, 2008


November 6, 2008

Back in the recession of ‘01/’02, I saw the trends in the business climate that doomed my business of 18 years. Despite my previous success in the entrepreneurial arena, I realized that cash shortages, decreasing sales, and aggressive moves by my competition were moving my little empire to failure. Before things got really bad, I contacted individuals in the same business, and arranged a sale of assets, so that I could escape without disastrous financial harm to my family or myself. I gave it up. I walked away. And I’m guessing that many people, in many fields, are faced with that decision year after year, and those that DO walk away, are better for it.

Let’s take Al Davis.

Ok, let’s NOT take him, but let’s LOOK at him and his NFL franchise.

For thirty plus years, he’d lorded over the Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders, and built them into a perennial NFL powerhouse. Look at the LOOOONG list of NFL superstars and legends to wear the Silver And Black- Stabler, Plunkett, Branch, Hayes, Billitnekoff, Allen, Brown, Howard, Jackson, Madden, on and on and on.
Thirteen players that I know of that are now enshrined at Canton. SEVEN Heisman trophy winners that I can name right now wore the Raiders colours. Three Super Bowl WINS. 16 division championships. As recent as ten years ago, they held one of the HIGHEST WINNING PERCENTAGES of any sports franchise. Their success on “Monday Night Football” was unparalleled. The slogans, “Commitment to Excellence” and “Just Win, Baby” were TRADEMARKED by the Davis empire.

How hollow these credos are now. If the Schraiders weren’t so BAD, it would be laughable, but there seems to be no end in sight for the sucking that is now the norm for the Bay Area BarfBags. Since the 2002 Super Bowl that ironically enough, saw the Raiders lose to former coach Gruden’s Buccaneers, no NFL team has a worse winning percentage than these guys. Worse than even the Detroit Lions. What went wrong? Personally, I feel that 100% of the blame of the failures of the Raiders franchise fall squarely on the decrepit shoulders of Al Davis.

This man has had a long history of unsavory legal battles. His aggressive takeover of the team in the early 70’s was the start of his stranglehold on this team. While Davis was aggressive and boorish in his manner, you couldn’t argue with the success of the Raiders through the decades. But his increasingly unreasonable and impatient attitude to coaching has seriously hamstrung any chance of future success. He had pretty much forced his Super Bowl winning coach Tom Flores out. Mike Shanahan, who went on to win TWO Super Bowls with archrival Denver, was fired after four games! The Art Shell tenure was marked by the ostracizing of Marcus Allen, one of the greatest backs of all time, and by the disastrous drafting of Todd Marinovich. The ONE great coach he hires in Johnny Gruden gets away after only four seasons. The fact that Al Davis also acts as general manager dooms the coaching staff to deal with wretched draft choices year after year. When you finish in the bottom of the standings for the past five years, you should be able to stockpile top talent! Who’s on the Schraiders’ roster that’s Pro Bowl worthy? Look at the last two number ones – Jamarcus Russell couldn’t play dead, and Darren McFadden was widely regarded to be the inferior RB from the highly touted Arkansas stable. And THIS is the man who drafts A FREAKIN’ KICKER in the first round!!! Tell me, who in the respected annals of NFL OR NCAA coaching would want to work for Al Davis now?

That would promise to be a ridiculously short list.

If Davis could take a hard, hard look at himself, and realize that practically all decisions made by him for this franchise have been wrong, he could take the steps necessary to start turning things around. He could start by vowing to step back from his tyrannical control, and hire a sound football man in the mold of Bill Polian to start from scratch. Let THIS man hire the coach; let THIS man make the draft decisions, let THIS man set team policy. YOU, Al Davis, are simply required to sign the checks. And your fellow NFL tyrant, Jerry Jones, ought to look at the Raider Franchise as a bellwether for his OWN forecast. Better yet, Al Davis- Sell your stake in the Raiders. Sell your stake to someone who will nurture the fan base, someone who CARES in a SENSIBLE manner about winning, and winning with class. And walk away.

I’m not sure Davis feels like he’s hit rock bottom yet. He continues to believe that his team’s fortunes are about to turn the corner. They are not. If he doesn’t release his death grip from The Raiders, they are doomed to be the league’s laughingstock. And it’s sad. The stadium is now only half-full, and with that of the most unsavory of satanically-clad fans. Is Oakland Stadium the kind of place to bring a family? (Now, THIS is what happens when you don’ have the kind of standard that Jerry Richardson has in his stadium policy) I’m afraid that Davis remains stubborn to his last breath. And when Davis steps into The Great Beyond? His wife, Carol assumes total control of the team. One could only hope she exercises the sensibility to delegate to those who know what the hell they’re doing. So how long does Raider Nation endure the maniacal mismanagement of the once proud franchise?

Too long.

In that span, teams like the Detroit Lions, Kansas City Chiefs, Cincinnati Bungles, and Seattle SeaHawks will be on their way to improving their organizations. There’s hope for fans of these cities. Fans of the Schraiders have none.

You know, it sounds like I’m despairing quite vociferously about the Raiders, that’s because I am. I’ve always liked this team, and it’s exciting style of play, and it’s entertaining cast of characters. Tell me you didn’t like Tooz, and Lyle Alzado, and Howie Long, and Todd Christensen, and Ted “Kick ‘em in the Head” Hendricks? They were an NFL standard long admired and reviled, and they were always a good game to watch. Now?


So much more could be written, and in far greater clarity by those who are closer to the situation and have followed the team with more focus than I have. I’m just a schmo blogger. And I write about the team, obviously, because this is next on the mission of the Starship Panther. If we don’t RUN THEM OUT OF THEIR OWN STADIUM BY THE END OF THE HALF, there is something BAD WRONG with our own coaching staff. I just don’t see it happening. I just wish Brain a safe visit to the Black Hole with no incident. I understand it could get rough there.

In the meantime, the Raiders continue their downward spiral to go from one football’s greatest team, to one of it’s worst. Al Davis has to see this. And like I did in 2001, he should see the trends inexorably leading to catastrophic failure, and just-

Hang it up, Baby! Call it quits, Baby! Just Walk away, Baby!

For the good of the brand you built.

Gotta Comment?
E-mail me, The Cedar Street SeerCaptnTee@aol.com

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