Friday, January 25, 2008

Raider unrest

I can't imagine why anyone would want to coach the Oakland Raiders while Al Davis is still in charge.  He is reportedly pushing for the resignation of head coach Lane Kiffin after going 4-12 in Kiffin's first season at the helm.  I understand that 4-12 is not something to be proud of, but after one season???

I can understand Cam Cameron being fired in Miami after going a dismal 1-15.  The biggest reason he was let go is the fact that Bill Parcells took over that franchise and wanted to bring in his own coach.  But Kiffin was brought in by Davis last season.  Kiffin isn't facing the front office going through changes like the Dolphins franchise down in Miami.  Kiffin still has the same boss that every Raider coach has had since the 1960s.

The biggest problem for anyone who coaches Oakland is that they must coach in the shadow of the man who hired them.  Al Davis went 10-4 in his first season as head coach of the Raiders, and now he expects that from every other coach he brings in.  Anything else will result in the immediate termination of the man in charge.

Just look at recent history.  After John Gruden left the Raiders to set sail on a pirate ship in Tampa, four men have captained this sinking vessel of a franchise: Bill Callahan, Norv Turner, Art Shell and Lane Kiffin.

Callahan was fired after going from Super Bowl to Super-Bust.  One year after losing to Gruden and the Bucs in Super Bowl XXXVII, the Silver and Black went 4-12.  Callahan was relieved of his command.  Enter Norv Turner.  The Raiders went 5-11 and 4-12 the next two seasons.  Exit Norv Turner.  Raiders retread Art Shell assumed head coaching responsibilities only to guide this so-called Commitment to Excellence to an NFL-worst 2-14 record.  Davis made sure to let Shell know not to let the door hit him where the lord split him on his way out.

So now Kiffin faces the same problem as his predecessors.  And while I am not a huge Kiffin fan (I wish Reggie Bush had at least been on the field on 4th & 2 in the Rose Bowl against Texas), I respect his refusal to sign any letter of resignation.  A head coach in the NFL must be given some time to build a franchise.

What if Jimmy Johnson had been fired after going 1-15 in his first season?  What if Tom Landry had been fired after the Cowboys began 0-11-1.  What if Bill Belichick hadn't been brought in by the Patriots because of his track record in Cleveland?  What if Bill Parcells had been fired after going 3-12-1 in his first season with the Giants in 1983?  What if Bill Walsh had been fired after going 2-14 in his first season as 49ers head coach?

All of those are great coaches with multiple Super Bowl titles.  All of them were given time to build great teams.  It takes time to do.  Unfortunately that is the one thing Raiders owner Al Davis won't grant any of his head coaches.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree with you more.

I believe I remember from our "Feldman and Foley" days predicting that Lane could possibly be the worst coach in the NFL. Well, I stand by that statement, but I also feel like the guy deserves a shot. Clearly that's something Al Davis won't give anybody.

The Raiders may never be good again till that old fart croaks. Here's to Al Davis living to 200!

(On a sidenote, I hope you are doing well Feldy and Happy Belated B-Day. Your framed photo of TO crying at the Boys-Gnats postgame is in the mail).

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