Friday, December 16, 2005

Al Davis Must Go?

Why am I reading more “Al Davis Must Go” columns than “Dr. York Must Go” columns these days? Why is this? Yes, Dr. York has had his share of bad press, but Mr. Davis – three rings and five Super Bowl berths over five decades – is the one being asked to step aside. Click here for the latest example.

In fairness, I must note that much of the media scrutiny revolves not around Mr. Davis as a mere owner such as Dr. York, but as a true football man who exerts his presence on the team from top to bottom, right down to teaching technique on the field. But watch the 49ers and tell me this: do you not see Dr. York’s fingerprints all over that team from top to bottom as well? It looks like they could use Mr. Davis to teach them some technique.

The interesting twist is that, if you read the comments on this blog or visit the chatrooms, you will see that there are many in the increasingly restless Raider Nation who also feel that Mr. Davis should step out of the way. These are loyal and informed Raiders fans who have come to the conclusion that the best thing for the Raiders would be for Mr. Davis to hire a true general manager and to bring in a proven coach with promises of ultimate authority and independence. It is their collective voice, not the media’s, that brings credibility to the argument.

I don’t want to get into all the speculation about what goes on upstairs in Alameda, and how it filters downstairs, through the coaching staff and onto the field. There is plenty of that elsewhere. It's no secret:
I love Al Davis. That is my bias, and I’m not hiding from it.

The above referenced article cites Dan Snyder and Mike Brown, by comparison, as owners who have gained by letting go…My question: Who are you to compare the likes of Dan Snyder and Mike Brown to Mr. Davis? That's like comparing Bugs Bunny to Winston Churchill. According to the Pro Football Hall of Fame: Al Davis is the only person to have served pro football in such varied capacities as (1) a player personnel assistant, (2) an assistant coach, (3) a head coach, (4) a general manager, (5) a league commissioner and (6) the principal owner and chief executive officer of an NFL team.

If that doesn’t buy a guy a break, then how about five Super Bowl berths in four separate decades, including the 2000s?

But let me pose something else, something that some may view as heresy: it’s not all about winning. Hear me out…Why are you a Raiders fan? Is it because you love the bandwagon of three Super Bowl rings? Of course not. It is the means to the end that ultimately differentiates the Oakland Raiders from other teams, and their fans from other fans. And the essence of that means is Mr. Davis, and the legacy, authenticity and uniqueness that he brings to this team. Is there anything remotely like it in the NFL? Yes, we want to win. But win or lose, we are the Raiders. When you see yet another of these billionaire wannabes sitting in their skyboxes, these new-money owners high-fiving their wives as “their” team scores a touchdown, aren’t you proud that your team has a Hall of Famer in charge, with the credentials and cojones to stand above and apart?

Before you kick Mr. Davis to the curb, consider the alternate reality of the Oakland Raiders without his dominating presence through the decades, including this one. Consider not just the past three seasons, but the past six seasons. Consider the hope that he brings to us each year by reloading, when necessary, instead of pinching pennies.

If that comes with some meddling, then so be it. If that’s Al Davis being Al Davis, that’s fine with me. I’ll take him over anyone else.

P.S. For another like-minded take on this subject, click here to view a great article by Stick 'Em on

P.P.S. For another like-minded take on this subject, listen to the latest Raider Nation Podcast by Raider Greg.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

RT- right on the mark. We have history and tradition because of Al. I wrote yesterday about all the teams with sorry coaching--but do they have the tradition of the Raiders? The current problems we have are a blip on the Raider timeline. Al will find the right guy--look at the changes from last year to this--Moss, Jordan, Washington, Burgess, Morrision, Carr...

11:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the love. I have always enjoyed your Take on things as well. You and I might just be the only Raiders known to write and enjoy haiku...

Yes, the Raiders and Allen Davis are more than just rings and HOFers and bandwagons. It is about an identity.

Al Davis is colorblind. Literally. He will give ANYONE a chance on only one condition: They just must prove they can win, baby! The rest is details...

George said it best:

"In football, I root for the Oakland Raiders because they hire castoffs, outlaws, malcontents, and f'ups; they have lots of penalties, fights, and paybacks; and because Al Davis told the rest of the pig NFL owners to go get f'ed.

Someday, the Raiders will be strong again, and they will dip the ball in $h!+ and shove it down the throats of the wholesome, whitebread, heartland teams that pray together and don't deliver late hits."

1:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brilliantly put.Every fan gets frustrated,but the Raiders would have been just another NFL franchise without the GREAT Al Davis.The history,the pride in being a Raider fan is because of Al.

2:42 PM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

As usual, your viewpoint is right on the money. Most die-hard Raiders fans fell in love with the team because the Raiders were different the rest including their original, iconic owner. I love Al Davis because he is so involved & totally dedicated to the Raiders. Nothing would please me more than to see Mr. Davis hoist another Lombardi Trophy over his head.

5:14 PM  
Blogger Doobie said...

I knew there would come a point where I would disagree with the masses. I suppose this is it.

I'm sorry guys, I just can't drink the Al Davis Kool-Aid.

Here's the thing. I don't dislike Al. The Raiders ARE Al. Al IS the Raiders. Unlike other owners, you know his commitment is to winning and not necessarily to the bottom line. In fact, the slogan is branded on everything silver and black.

The problem is that, much like many other people who are convinced that their way is right, he cannot see his own shortcomings. Unfortunately for Al, while the game hasn't passed him by, it's certainly changed. Unlike the seventies, teams are much more disciplined and better coached. He can't just place the most physically intimidating specimens on the field any more and expect the opponent to soil their pants when they line up opposite them. Other teams have used their lack of discipline against them and have learned that if they wait long enough, the Raiders can beat themselves in a game. The Raiders had a 19 year drought between Super Bowls and one of the main reasons they went in 2002 was the discipline that Gruden had instilled in them from the previous years. And the following year they fell apart. The Raiders were thatclose to another Super Bowl trophy and personality conflicts between Al and Gruden the prior year ultimately doomed the Raiders.

The best organizations and management can see their own faults and can take steps to improve them. If a company doesn't feel they're as successful as they can be, boards of directors can fire their CEOs. CEOs can make changes to their infrastructure to move in a different direction.

But Al Davis cannot fire himself. He is the main person providing vision to this team. So, for better or for worse, the ship goes in the direction he steers it.

But, as Raiders fans, we know this. We accept it. We know that Al isn't going to hire a GM to do his duties. It's not his style and you know that a part of Al would die if he ever did do that.

But just because I accept it, doesn't mean I agree with the direction he's taking the team. I can't just sit back and say, "well, it's the Raider Way" and convince myself that his way is the best.

So what I hope for is that some day Al will understand that "Commitment to Excellence" can also mean acceptance of his own failures and the courage to allow others to run the team with minimal interference. I don't mean hiring a GM, I mean simply hiring the best coaching personnel possible and then letting those people do their jobs. If they fail, let them fail by their own methods. If the players complain, don't let them subvert mangement and redirect them to the coach instead.

That's all I ask.

Well, that and another championship before I die.

6:36 PM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

LK and Calico Jack: I wish you were here to raise a pint to Al with me.

Stick'em: You know how to bring it (folks please check him out on

LeighRaider: You are the UK bomb. I'll bet you could find us a good pint (PS: Thanks for your comment on the Coliseum take).

Doobie: you exemplify what I meant when I said that loyal and informed members of the Raider Nation bring credibility to the other side of this argument. You make good points. We may diverge in our conclusions, but we at least agree that Al Davis IS the Raiders, and that the Raiders rule.

7:15 PM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

In today's NFL, the head coach & QB have the biggest impact on winning or losing. Unfortunately, both Turner & Collins don't have the necessary leadership abilities to give the Raiders any reasonable chance to succeed. It was Al's decision to bring these 2 losers aboard. His must face up to these mistakes and move forward.

Al needs to find a head coach & QB that command respect. Over the past 20 years the only 2 head coaches that commanded respect were Art Shell & John Gruden. The only 2 QBs that commanded respect over the past 20 years were Rich Gannon & Jeff Hostetler.

Clearly the most important decisions Al makes this off-season will be the selection of a new head coach and QB.

At age 76, Al knows the clock is ticking. I love Al because his focus on the Raiders is so singular. Everything he does revolves around his quest to capture another Lombardi Trophy. However, Al needs to look in the mirror, review his own methods, hiring decisions, and vision.

My best guess is that Al will need to find another diamond in the rough like Gruden. Whoever he selects will need to share his overall vision BUT be allowed the authority to instill discipline and accountability. Proper execution & technique & mistake free football comes down to 2 things; excellent coaching AND discipline.

I'm fine with Al making an unconventional decision on the head coach hiring. I'm fine with Al hiring an unproven coach who doesn't have head coaching experience in the NFL. I have the utmost faith in Al's ability to evaluate talent. The key to this decision is to find a head coach who has strong leadership skills & a fire in his belly to win. No more NFL lifer retreads.

My hope is that Al will do whatever is necessary to bring glory back to the franchise. This would include changing his ways where necessary, correcting his mistakes, and giving his new head coach the freedom & authority to maximize the team's overall performance.

9:26 PM  
Blogger Doobie said...

I think that Al's style has so poisoned the water for good coaches that he'd have to make a clear commitment to them not to interfere, otherwise no good coach is going to want to come here.

Now as to whether or not Al can evaluate talent is another story. He did see good in Shanahan and Gruden, which goes to his credit, so coaching talent I'd say yes.

Now as for evaluating PLAYER talent and the lack of success of the last decade or so of draft picks...well, that's a whole other post altogehter.

5:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with Doobie in that the NFL has changed. Al Davis (AD) cannot simply line up the latest yeti sighted in the Himalayas--see Ben Davidson, the 'Tooz, Charles Philyaw, and friends--and dominate any longer.

I remember when Art Shell (listed at a playing weight of 285#s, but one would guess at least 300#s) was an anomaly of gigantic proportions. Now every NFL lineman is at least this size...better living through chemistry?

The same can be said for speed. No way in '06 you simply find a guy as fast as Clifford Branch, turn him loose, score, and repeat. It is just not that simple, as James Jett found out in between calls to his stockbroker. If this formula always worked, Carlos Francis and Justin Fargas would be in the Pro Bowl by now, instead of being the Danger-Prone-Daphne, track-star wannabes they are.

The competition has undoubtedly caught up to Al Davis. Now NFL organizations as a whole, never take a day off, just like AD. The combine makes almost all college prospects available for all teams to scout, and free agency makes veteran players equally available to be non-Raiders.

Where I disagree is when folks think Al Davis cannot adapt to his environment. AD always thinks towards the future, the first to relocate his team to a bigger market, the first to hire a black head coach, establish his own Raider Image store so the NFL doesn't grab all his loot, and so it goes.

Davis has shown he currently is looking at other things besides size and speed, though those attributes are of great importance. A recent article by the Wall St. Journal shows the Raiders are the second smartest team in the NFL, as measured by the Wonderlic. It simply is not AD's fault the linemen repeatedly cannot remember the difference between "GO ON ONE" and "GO ON TWO" after hearing it in the huddle. AD has put intelligent players on the roster (with the noted exceptions of Radio Gibson, the semi-retarded, very unsafe safety, and Seabass, the semi-literate, partying Polish Popgun kicker).

I disagree with the perception Jon Gruden is the one who kept the Raiders in some semblance of discipline during the recent success. Gru's new crew, the Bucs, have consistently been in the top 10 in penalty yards given up this ’05 season. I firmly believe it was Rich Gannon who was the drill sergeant, and obviously KFC (Kerry F'in Collins) is not up to the task of being taskmaster.

I also disagree with the perception Al Davis cannot accept management input. Ron Wolf and Bruce Allen were both brilliant in their tours with the organization. They were not GMs in title name, and AD certainly did make the final calls, but there is no question both Wolf and Allen had a large influence on decisions made during their tenure. The question now is "Can Mike Lombardi live up to his name and get us a trophy?" I like what Lombardi has done so far--dump the baggage of morons like Pinetime Buchanon, and add gritty players like Kirk Morrison.

As far as Al's tinkering with the coaching staff, you hear differing points of view from former coaches. I realllly have a hard time believing AD is on the field these days coaching up the players with his walker, but then practices are closed to the public, so the actual extent of his "hands-on” ness is debatable. The mediots certainly like to amplify any sign of discord they can manufacture. But don't forget, AD was a head coach and a good one at that. Al knows coaching.

I would love to see Art Shell back (even Al admits it was a mistake to fire him) and it sounds like Shell would serve if called:

In the end, there will be changes to the coaching staff, it will get better, and AD will be in charge until the football gods call him to the Elysian Fields.

7:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gotta Love it. Al is not the problem with the team. He spends the bucks, always doesn't make the right decisions, but, wants to win. The last two years of watching the losses mount will stop. Have faith Raider Nation, as the article says...true Raider Fans are much different than any other team or organization's fans! Peace in Silver and Black- Raiderrider

9:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Doobie and Calico Jack said it best. There is no more to say on the subject of Al Davis. He is the renegade,and we love him for it. Now if he can just see the error in his ways he will get what he desires,the Lombardi trophy. Merry Christmas to all Raider fans!

12:02 PM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

To Arleigh Simon: There is a big difference from being blind and having faith and loyalty. Being a true Raider fan is never having to apologize to your strong allegiance to the organization. The history and renegade tradition, and yes, 5 superbowl appearances is largely due to Al Davis' anti-establishments ways. It also one of the sole reasons that many Raider fans fell in love with the team. As I said in my blog ( "I love Al Davis, warts and all". If being an eternal optimist is having "blind" faith, so be it.

12:47 PM  
Blogger Harold said...

Today on CBS' Chargers pre-game show the commentators agreed that Kerry Collins will probably be cut early next year. The Raiders are already millions of dollars over their salary cap, and some cut backs will certainly have to be made. What do you think?

Still Lamenting the Bruins in Los Angeles...

2:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Look, we all know that Al Davis is one of the giants in NFL history, but there is such a thing as staying to long. What if Ronald Reagan had had a 3rd term ? Would a young Muhammad Ali lose to a Larry Holmes ? Would a young Al Davis keep losing to the likes of Shottenheimer, and, Shanahan ? Of course not. In his younger days, Al, and the Raiders would have wiped the floors with these play it safe types. But the reality is, Al Davis cannot beat these bums anymore, and I just have a hard time watching it.

3:13 PM  
Blogger Jason Culley said...

This is Al Davis' team and will be his team until he is taken from this earth. I have a feeling he will still have some say after that also. It is not Al Davis on the field on Sundays getting called for PI on 3rd and 10 after an opponents incomplete pass. It is not Al Davis lazily walking to the line of the scrimmage with 5 minutes left in the game down by two touchdowns and getting called for delay of game. After the Raiders successful seasons in the first part of this decade and the trip to the Super Bowl all the whispers of Al being too old and the game pasisng him by got very quiet. Why is that? And why is it now during a rough patch in the Raiders raod back to GREATNESS that those whispers are returning? Lets put the blame where and with who it belongs, coaches coach, the players play, not Al Davis.


9:36 PM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

Anyone who thinks Al Davis is a capitalist whose primary motivation is to make as much money as possible to fill his pockets is way off base. If his motivation was just to make money for himself he would have cashed out his chips a long time ago and lived a very comfortable life. In order for the Raiders to be competitive, the organization needs to be more profitable. The additional revenue streams from ticket sales, luxury suites, sponsorships etc. are a much needed tool for being competive in recruiting free agents with large up front signing bonuses.

Al's only reason for breathing and the only thing that gets him up each morning is his quest to bring another championship for the Raiders.

As far as recent draft picks and free agents, I would say that he has hit the mark more than missed. Fabian Washington, Stanford Rout, Kirk Morrrison, Stuart Schwiegert, Robert Gallery are 5 recent draft picks who will be builiding blocks for the future. Randy Moss, Lamont Jordan, and Derrick Burgess are young, in their prime, star caliber pick ups.

The biggest issue to resolve with the Raiders taking positive steps foward is Al being able to attract a top notch coach by giving this coach the full authority to run the team. Al will always be intimately involved in the draft and free agent market. Let's not forget, Mike Lombardi for all pracical purposes is a co-GM with Al. If Lombardi had the official title 'GM' would it make any difference in how things are run? Probably not.

The last 3 years have been pitiful for the Raiders. This year I think the Raiders have hit rock bottom. However, let's not discount 3 divisional titles and 1 superbowl appearance this decade. The Raiders can quickly turn around their fortune with the hiring of a dynamic head coach and the signing of a new QB. I'm as excited as ever to see what 2006 brings. My silver & black glass will always remain half full regardless of what the media or naysayers squak.

10:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is in response to Jason Culley. Jason, you are right, it is the players, & coaches fault, but who drafts the players, & hires the coaches ? I think his name is Al Davis. The smartest thing AD did since 1984, was to hire Jon Gruden. But Al just couldn't stand the success. He couldn't stand winning 5 in a row against the Chefs. He couldn't stand sweeping Rottenheimer. He couldn't stand beating the jackass, Shanahan. He couldn't stand it that Gruden was young, winning, & fast becoming the new face of the Raiders. So he gave Gru the boot. He blew the whole thing up, and brought back the old time QB, and the puppet coaches. So here we are again, one big mess. Now, some want us to believe AD will lead us out of the darkness he has led us into. Given the FACTS, it's hard to believe.

11:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Al is all you want's and a whole lot more. But unless he learns his leason and give the next guy an openended ability to actually COACH!!! Then my fellow citizens of the Raider Nation... "LEARN TO LIVE WITH DISAPOINTMENT!!!"

2:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

AL has ONE STEADFAST commitment to absolutly winning and dominating his way.

Even if his way winds up being the losing way which makes him a stubborn bull headed loser who can't see the forrest because the
trees are in the way!!!

(Yes guys I said it, LOSER)

A winner Impovises, Overcomes, Adapts in order To CONQUOR...

A Winner will do what ever it takes to win!!!

And regardless to Al's usual mantra affirming this AL's brilliance is ultimatly his biggest weekness.

It allows his arrogance to get in the way and consecuently it takes him to do real STUPID things.

Example; Allowing Gruden to get away, (How the F**k you do that?)

Drafting clown players like Todd Marinovich, Darryil Russell (RIP), Chester Mcglockton, Trapp, Janabrewski, and tons of other players who are "Characters"...

Instead of drafting players who have "Character"!!!

Players like Shawn Alexander who we bypassed to get Janikowski (Huh??? Are you out of your mind???)

(Do I have to go on?)

I will ALWAY respect Al Davis!!!

But the dude's not GOD. Everything seems to be a pissing contest with him?!?!?!?!

He needs a Disciplinarian coach,(Yeah like he's gonna do that??!?!?!?!)

A dude in the same mold as a Parcells... who will be the coach that can finally tames a guy like let's say T.O. (just watch TO will be a Cowboy next year)

A guy who can go up to Moss and Porter and tell them in no uncertain terms that the next time they don't complete their routes or take a play off that they are going to sit out the rest of the game!!

Now a wossy who stands there like a bump in a log and couldn't tame a wild hair on the top of his head...

Look I'll be a Raider forever... But i'm tired of drinking the Koolaid for Al.

Not that Al cares 1 flying flip about what I think or that anything will come about this but at least, I got it of my chest.

Chucky V.

3:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Al is the Raiders whether we like it or now. And we all know he's done more for the sport and league than almost any other individual still involved with professional football.


As many have said on this thread the teams that win these days have coaches who have the absolute respect and attention of their players. More importantly, their players buy into the system.

Al has tried the "players coach and a big armed QB" formula twice since returning to Oakland. Bugel and George and now Turner and Collins. It flat out doesn't work, and never has since the salary cap came into effect. And ever sicne Gannon got hurt in '03 this club has not been competitive. They've had some moments but as far as consistency.

I don't really care who he replaces Turner and Collins with, but it's time he gets off of this concept and goes back to coaches and QB's who lead. Whoever said it's about players and coaches with character, not "characters" had it on the money.

And if he retains Jimmy Raye after canning Turner or drafts another strong armed statue I'll puke.

4:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Al Davis is the problem with the Raiders!! He micro manages his team to the point that the head coach is a nothing position. The Raiders are the laughing stock of the NFL. Who is their right mind would go and coach the Raiders? Think about it, at 80+ years old Al should be in a home, not making decisions about a football team!
“We don’t have a general manager; everything goes through the owner,” Kiffin said Wednesday. “That sets up a difficult situation at times. Knowing who the owner is, you know from Day 1 there’s no job security.” So you pay way too much in the free agent market have have very spotty drafts.Since making the Super Bowl following the 2002 season, the Raiders have gone an abysmal 19-62 and had three different coaches. Just suck, baby! WE CAN'T ALWAYS BLAME THE COACHES!! The Raiders have had some great coaches recently. And still have sucked. Do you wonder why Gruden is in Tampa? If Al wanted to win, he would be in Oakland!
I have loved the Raiders for years and am not blinded by Al Davis. I can see right through his crap. Get a pair and think for yourselves! Al is way to Old for the NFL!!!

6:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You guys are brain washed! AL DAVIS NEEDS TO BE PUT IN A HOME!!

10:17 PM  
Blogger Raider_pirate1 said...

Janakowski (Kicker) first round draft pick -- who was responsible? Brilliant!! Moving the team to L.A. - who was responsible? Brilliant!! It's Al scenile old man Davis. GET OUT AL -- your DAY in the sun is done and the 2000 draft proved that beyond all shadows of a doubt! GET OUT. Signed RAIDER_PIRATE1 (fan and wanna be player for over 40 years)

8:20 PM  
Blogger yanmaneee said...

lebron shoes
hermes online shop
red bottoms
nike lebron 16
reebok shoes
nike epic react
nike air vapormax
james harden shoes
curry 6 shoes

7:48 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home