Sunday, January 27, 2008

"Just Quit, Baby!"

The Raiders denied a report Friday that owner Al Davis had asked Coach Lane Kiffin to resign.
Citing unidentified sources, ESPN reported that Davis had drawn up a resignation letter for Kiffin two weeks ago but that the coach had refused to sign it. Kiffin, 32, has two years left on the contract he signed in January 2007."There is no issue here," Raiders senior executive John Herrera said. "There was never an issue here. There's nothing to it."

Yes, unfortunately, there is an issue here. In fact, there are a ton of issues here. The Oakland Raiders have long been the laughingstock of the NFL. Their “Commitment to Excellence” has changed into a “A History of Incompetence.” There are entire generations of Raiders fans out there who have known only losing year after year. The team’s long list of bad moves and stupid decisions goes on and on.

And everyone knows what – or rather who – the problem is. His name is Al Davis. The once brilliant owner has deteriorated into an old, bitter, litigious geezer who is incompetent, overbearing, stubborn and just plain cranky. His beloved Raiders have been out-of-control for so long that putting them on the right track is probably going to take at least a decade.

Long ago, George Steinbrenner, owner of the NY Yankees, pulled this same kind of guano. But, even Georgie Porgie eventually figured out that it was a better idea to hire good people and let them run the team. When he did that, he won a lot more world championships, and even though he can still be obnoxious at times, the Yankees are a much better team when he’s in the background.

No one in their right mind will want the Raider’s job now if Kiffin does indeed get the boot. Who wants to work for a boss who is constantly up your derriere? Anyone with any talent who wants to have a future coaching in the NFL will run from this job like the plague. Remember – Davis fired Mike Shanahan and John Gruden couldn’t get away from the man fast enough.

Davis doesn’t want a coach. He wants a bitch, a yes man and a lackey who will do whatever he says without displaying a backbone or voicing an opinion.

Speculation about Kiffin's status began three weeks ago when reports surfaced after the season that he wanted to fire defensive coordinator Rob Ryan. The Raiders dismissed those reports and announced that Ryan was staying on as coordinator.

There were also reportedly problems between Kiffin and Davis during the season. Kiffin was upset when Davis didn’t get JaMarcus Russell, the first pick in the 2007 NFL Draft, signed and into training camp. Instead, Al haggled with Russell and his agent, which meant the rookie was pretty much not available for the entire season. When Russell did get into a few games late in the season, he looked unprepared and overmatched. The team went 4-12 in Kiffin's first season in Oakland, doubling the team's victory total from the previous year.

Stand by to see how this plays out. The sad fact is that the Oakland Raiders will be terrible until Davis lets someone else run his team. The man should be forced to sell, but the NFL is afraid to get sued, so it will never happen.

The sadder fact is that you can fire a coach or cut a player. But, you’re stuck with an owner, whether you like it or not. And that is why the Raiders will suck until Al Davis decides to “Just Quit, Baby!”

(Portions of this article courtesy of

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