Thursday, March 30, 2006

News You (Almost) Can't Use

I hate to sound repetitive. I hate to criticize a rare column that tries to be positive about the Oakland Raiders. But I will not relent until the media stop casually dropping lies into articles about the Raiders.

From the column in question: “The reality is the greatness of the Raiders has been missing since Al Davis fired Shell and his .586 winning percentage after the 1994 season. Try eight losing seasons since.”

Try...getting your facts straight.

Question: How many NFL teams have won their division three straight years in this very decade, culminating in a Super Bowl berth? And how do you characterize the greatness of these three seasons as less than what was achieved under Art Shell’s previous tenure, which was indeed solid but did not result in a Super Bowl berth? How?


I know how: Because the recent success of the Oakland Raiders does not fit into your worldview or your bias, so you compensate by making insupportable statements that don’t square with the facts.

Another question: What kind of twisted math characterizes 8-8 (.500) seasons (1995, 1998 and 1999) as losing seasons? Do facts matter anymore? I guess I now have ESPN's permission to call them winning seasons? After all, if .500 is a losing season, then it is also a winning season.

Worst of all, this column does make many good points, both favorable and unfavorable to the Raiders—it did not need to veer into this biased territory, but the author just couldn’t help himself.

And that, Raiders fans, is news you almost can't use.

23 Comments:

Blogger Calico Jack said...

Keep being a watch-dog RT.

It is amazing how writers from respected publications like SI and ESPN are so loose with the facts and not attentive to the details.

Michael Smith made some good points in this piece. However it would have been more accurate to say that the Raiders have had 5 losing seasons since Shell was fired in 94.

Would a smart, sports journalist like Smith consider 8-8 a losing season? No.

Would a savvy, well paid writer like Smith look up the Raiders records the past 11 seasons? Of course.

When you get right down to it, Smith seems to have been loose and taken liberty with the facts as a convenient (but not accurate) method to make his point. This is sad.

Keep your antenna up RT and calling these knuckleheads on the carpet.

11:08 AM  
Anonymous Stick'Em said...

Look what I can do!

2 + 2 = 5

8-8 = <.500

Mediot math.

I learned it on ESPN, so it must be true. If you hear it often enough, you'll believe it too!

6:21 PM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

Thank you, Calico, for the motivating feedback! Great take, you nailed it.

2 + 2 = 5! Hah! Love it. That's a lot of Raiders media coverage in a nutshell.

Facts are too often replaced by feelings when it comes to Raiders coverage. The result: bad journalism.

6:45 PM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

Nice fuzzy math Stick'em. I don't want to beat this into the ground but ... what I find particularly troubling and annoying is that a guy like Michael Smith gets paid some serious coin as a writer.

One of his chief responsibilities is to be able to back up his points with either hard facts or reasonable statements backed up by research and analysis. When it comes to statistics (ie.Won/Loss records), there is no "gray" area for opinion or debate.

For example, if Michael Smith wanted to make his point about the Raiders struggling the past 11 seasons he could have just as easily said "The Raiders have only had 3 winning seasons the past 11 seasons" which would be accurate although a distorted representation. This would give the reader the impression that the other 8 seasons were losing seasons although in fact it was 5 losing seasons, 3 seasons at 8-8, and 3 winning seasons.

When he looked up the Raiders record, season by season, did he consciously just lump the 8-8 seasons in with the losing seasons pile to make his point more noteworthy?

Any way you slice it, it's just bad, sloppy, unprofessional journalism. Another sad reality of this "News You Can't Use" is that 99% of the readers buy into these misguided statements without bothering to look it up themselves and check the facts. Thank god we have Raidertake on the prowl!

6:56 PM  
Anonymous Stick'Em said...

Seems to me like this is the first time in Raiders A.D. (Al Davis) history the team has had three straight losing seasons. How many NFL teams can say they haven't had three straight sub .500 seasons in the last 40 years...until now?

While this is indeed cause for alarm, the siren is amplified because of the background success of the other seasons, not because of their failure. We expect better from this team because we have seen it. Repeatedly.

When folks extrapolate the recent misfortunes to say, "The Raiders have sucked for the last twenty years or since Art Shell or since the last SB victory (or whatever other time span besides the last three seasons they generalize to)," they need to be careful of jumping on the Chicken Little bandwagon.

It ain't very good in Oakland right now, but I don't remember the misery lasting decades, people. Go ask a Nawlins Ain'ts fan what that feels like.

4:38 AM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

Stick'em - Your boy 'Westside Pirate' is at it again. Here's is one of the more amusing (and annoying) quotes from his latest post in SF Gate;

"I did my homework; I went to the source that I trust the most, to perhaps the most parroted voice in The Raider Nation, myself; AKA my alter ego, The Westside Pirate"

Is this guy for real? The most parroted voice of the Raider Nation? You have got to be F'n kidding me.

7:57 AM  
Blogger Sixptstar said...

Okay, I get it. Other fans hate us, reporters hate us, and (thanks to LA gangs adopting our team colors) police think any car with a Raider logo should be stopped. I get it.

But aren't we reaching just a little when we say 8-8 is not a losing season. Can we really go bragging to our Bronco friends about an 8-8 season? I don't think so.

That doesn't mean I shed my colors during the bad seasons. My car and by clothes are always branded by The Nation no matter what our record is. Since I was 6 years old sitting on Santa's lap and wearing my Raider helmet, I've been with the Silver and Black.

However, if it walks like a duck, call it a duck. Anything less than a play-off berth is a losing season. I know the spin-doctors / biased reporters love to make us look bad. But saying that 8-8 is not a losing season is just like saying 8-8 is a not a winning season. What does it matter? It's mediocre and below the level we should expect (unless we sweep the Broncos, anytime we can do that I’ll call it a winning season).

That being said, I appreciate the point RT makes. Thanks for the great blogs.

10:41 AM  
Blogger Doobie said...

This would all be a moot point if we turned one of those four preseason games into a regular season game. With 17 games, there's no gray area. ...unless some one goes 8-8-1.

11:00 AM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

Thanks, Sxptstar...

I realize that anti-Raiders bias is, in many ways, old news. However, I just don't think we can shrug our shoulders about it anymore. We need to respond, dare I say, in the Raider way: if you pick a fight, you're going to get a fight.

Why does this matter so much to me? Because I believe that biased negative coverage of the Oakland Raiders feeds misperceptions about the team and its fans. These misperceptions, in turn, alienate potential newcomers to the Raider Nation. THE FEWER NEWCOMERS TO THE RAIDER NATION, THE MORE WE RISK THE RAIDERS LEAVING OAKLAND DUE TO BUSINESS REASONS. We cannot afford to lose ONE potential member of the Raider Nation because some columnist decides it's time for another round of bad journalism. Sorry for the shouting.

Anyhow, good points about 8-8. I certainly wouldn't call them great seasons. But when some columnist calls them losing seasons, that conjures up images of 4-12 and 6-10 to the average reader. It mischaracterizes a season like 1999, which was a turning point, as just another losing season by an awful team, which simply isn't fair or honest.

My main point, however, was not this guy's bad math about "losing" seasons, but rather his suggesting that the Raiders haven't been truly successful since the previous Shell era, which is nothing short of a lie.

12:37 PM  
Anonymous scorpio2562 said...

hey sixptstar, i can just picture you as a 6 yr old with that ole hutch helmet and uni! wow, what memories. i think we ALL had one of those!

2:11 PM  
Anonymous Stick'Em said...

CJ: When folks refer to themselves in the 3rd person, it's a sign. It's a symptom the speaker is thinking, "I am just a little more important than any of these knuckleheads realize. But they are too stoopid to anoint me Lord of All...so it's not their fault, really...so let me speak for them."

See exhibit A, Phillip "Lifetime" Buchanon, 'nuff said

6ptStar: I hear ya. 8-8 is not acceptable.

While there can be valid excuses made for a single losing season (e.g., Callahan's Last Stand, in which every QB on the roster not named "Ronald Curry" got injured and the ship went down in a mutinous riot), there can be no explaining away the three most recent consecutive losing seasons.

The only conclusion is this is a bad team right now.

I do not suggest we should celebrate losing nor accept it. As 00 says, we should be mad as hell!

Three straight losing seasons is a very clear indicator something is wrong--verrrry wrong--with this d@mned team at the moment.

The point is, it happens to every team eventually. Out of curiosity, I looked up the records of every AFC/AFL team over the last 46 seasons (1960 -2005), every year the Raiders have been in existence.

Here are the results (.500 seasons do not count, BTW):

Ravens (only 10/46 seasons played)- 3 consecutive years with a losing record '96-98

Bills - 4yrs '60-63; 6yrs '67-72; 4yrs '76-79; 4yrs '84-87

Bengals (only 38/46 seasons) - 4yrs '77-80; 5 years '91-95; 6yrs '97-02

Browns (only 43/46 seasons) - 3yrs '73-75; 4yrs '90-93; 4yrs '95-01; 3yrs '03-05

Broncos - 13yrs '60-72

Texans (Hou only) -(only 4/46 seasons)- 4 yrs '02-05

Colts - 3yrs '72-74; 9yrs '78-86

Jaguars (only 11/46 seasons) - 4yrs '00-03

Chiefs - 6 yrs '74-79

Dolphins (only 40/46 seasons) - 4 yrs '66-69

*Patriots - 7yrs '67-73; 5yrs '89-93

Jets - 4yrs '62-65; 3yrs '75-77; 3yrs '82-84; 3yrs '94-96

Raiders - 3yrs '60-62; 3yrs '03-05

Steelers - 8yrs '64-71

Chargers - 7yrs '70-76; 3yrs '82-84; 4yrs '88-91;

Seahawks (only 29/46 seasons) - 3yrs '80-82; 4yrs '91-94

Titans/Oilers - 4yrs '63-66; 4yrs '70-73; 6yrs '81-86

Bottom line: Every single AFC/AFL team has a losing streak longer than the Raiders current one (>3yrs), except for the Ravens (their longest also = 3yrs).

The Ravens have only been around a decade, but when you consider their parent team (the Browns) in the analysis, they don't qualify as equal to the Raiders either.

I don't want to sound content with the Raiders' current misfortunes, but it is obvious that fans of every single AFC/AFL team have had a worse stretch of losing to put up with than we Raider fans have, including the so-called "dynasty" teams, the Steelers and *Patriots.

That is the truth.

I did not have time to analyze the records of all the NFC/NFL teams today. The so-called "dynasty" teams are:

Packers - 5yrs '73-77; 3yrs '86-88

Cowboys - 5yrs '60-64; 5yrs '86-90; 3yrs '00-02

49ers - 3yrs '62-64; 3yrs '73-75; 4 yrs '77-80; 3yrs '02-05

If the NFC dynasty teams all have longer losing streaks than the Raiders, you can guess what the overall NFC results will be once we factor in the Cardinals and Saints.

It ain't so bad being a Raider, no matter what the mediots or WSPs of the world would have you believe.

That is the truth.

IMO, the over-the-top, knee-jerk, "the sky is falling" reaction comes from those fans who are either:

a) too spoiled from the good times to show the team loyalty during the few bad ones.

or

b) too new to remember the good times.

So to all the Chicken Littles of the world, Stick'em says (LOL! I don't really refer to myself in the 3rd person—just seeing what it feels like), "Quit yer whinin'!"

3:50 PM  
Blogger Sixptstar said...

RT,
Point well taken. Thanks for the response.

Stick'em,
Thanks for the research.

7:00 PM  
Anonymous raider00 said...

Some catching up to do....On the tragic loss of Hardcore Dan. I did not know him, but since he was such a devoted Raiders fan, I am sure he was a great person. It's too bad he did not live long enough to see his beloved Raiders next great championship run. We should all think of Dan this season, and let his passing remind us to enjoy these football/Raiders games to the fullest, because we never know when there is no more time.

7:32 PM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

Amen, Raider00!

8:00 PM  
Blogger Doobie said...

Holy crap, the word is out that the Raiders traded Walter and their 1st and 2nd round picks to the Saints for the 2nd overall pick. It looks like the Raiders are about to actually develop their first franchise QB since Stabler, as I'm sure they're going to take Leinart. There's always the possiblity of them taking A.J. Hawk, but I can't imagine them moving Walter unless they were planning on a QB. You can find the story here.

11:28 AM  
Anonymous scorpio2562 said...

doobie - that was messed up brutha! but a good one!

9:28 PM  
Anonymous Stick'Em said...

CJ: Here's a reply to YOUR boy, WSP's latest for ya (posted in the comments section):

Westside Pirate - Let me fill you in on a little secret. You didn't do your homework as you claim, and you definitely shouldn’t trust yourself as a reliable source. In your post you claim to have such a vivid memory of the 1994 season. You even claim to remember the Dolphins vs. Raiders game like it was yesterday.

However, you should check your sources more carefully. Here are just a few ridiculous, misguided statements you make in your post;

“Nor do we have any Eric Dickerson, Marcus Allens, or Bo Jacksons at halfback any more”

- Well if you check the 1994 roster, the Raiders didn't have any of these players either. The leading rusher was Harvey Williams who had a total of 983 yards. Is Harvey Williams a superior back to Lamont Jordan? Jordan out-rushed Williams' total last year.

“Unless they do it differently next season form the way they did it back then and do it with a much less talented roster as well”

You allude to the 94 Raiders offense being so much more talented than the current roster. Let's start with the primary running back (see above)

Let’s go to the receivers;

1994: Tim Brown, Rocket Ishmail, Alexander Wright, James Jett

2006: Randy Moss, Jerry Porter, Doug Gabriel, Ronald Curry.

Moss is a far superior talent than Brown. Jerry Porter is more productive than Rocket who had only 34 catches in 1994. Doug Gabriel is head and shoulders better than Wright (37 catches to 16). When healthy, Ronald Curry is much better than James Jett who had a whopping 15 catches in 1994.

Let's go to the key position; QB. Which QB is more athletic and mobile? Brooks. Which QB has the stronger arm? Brooks. You act like Hoss was some superstar who wasn’t able to succeed primarily because of a faulty offensive system.

The reality is that Hoss was a journeyman QB who was a sitting duck in the pocket because he was immobile (like Collins). Let’s look at the hard facts;

Hoss’ numbers: In 154 career games he had a total of 94 TD passes / 71 interceptions

Hoss averaged 2782 passing yards per season in the 4 seasons with the Raiders

Brooks: In 85 career games he has 120 TD passes / 84 interceptions

Brooks has averaged 3452 passing yards in his last 4 seasons

Another ridiculous assumption;
"We had better hope the Raiders put their 1st pick on a QB because he will be the only QB on the roster young enough to survive the beating he's going to take under Art Shell's boy Tom Walsh".

- Brooks hasn’t missed a single game in his entire career due to injury. He is far more athletically gifted and mobile than Hoss. Did you factor that into your equation?

The Raiders in 2006 will in fact use a mix of 3, 5, and 7 step drops. The Raiders in 2006 will in fact use 3 WR formations in certain 1st and 2nd down situations. The Raiders in 2006 will mix things up.

The thrust of your article is that the 1994 offensive roster was more talented than the 2006 roster, which is very debatable. You say that the reason the Raiders weren't successful in 1994 is because of the poor offensive design/play calling.

Although as a Raider fan I was disappointed the team finished at 9-7, I would hardly call that a complete failure.

- When a team wins 8 of their last 12 games like the '94 club, should Walsh shoulder all of the blame?

Finally, in your opening paragraph you mention yourself in the 3rd person, which I always find amusing.

You say perhaps you are “the most parroted voice in The Raider Nation”. I can speak for the many Raider fans I know when I say with 100% certainty, "None of us will be mimicking what comes from your beak."

Repeat after me: The sky is not falling just because we hired OC Tom Walsh. You act like 2 intelligent professional football coaches like Walsh & Shell who have close to 50 years of professional football related experience are incapable of making changes, adapting, and adjusting.

Your circular, faulty logic for predicting failure for the 2006 club before the season has started based on Tom Walsh being our offensive coordinator is just another reason I won’t be parroting your voice.

8:49 PM  
Blogger Sixptstar said...

Doobie,
nice try, but raidernews.com already got me with the healine "Collins resigned by Raiders".

9:06 PM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

Stick'Em - I posted those comments! That was my reply(my email is chbraidernation1)

7:43 AM  
Anonymous LK said...

stick'em-
nice perspective with the research

8:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When asked about the major challenges facing the Raiders, Shell said calmly, "I don't think there are any major challenges."

10:07 AM  
Anonymous Stick'Em said...

CJ: LMFAO! Glad I could tell you something you already know! Seems I am well-versed in the art of redundancy, no? ROTF!

Guess this means in a blind evaluation of rebuttles (had no idea you are chbraidernation1), you get my vote for stickin' it to 'em on this one!

My favorite WSP saying is, "I will eat every word if I am wrong, but it will be the first time that I ever knew of."

Thanks for serving WSP some alphabet soup, my brotha!

3:09 PM  
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