Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The Alameda Wind

When you say that someone within the organization is undermining the Oakland Raiders, and when you say that this person is neither a player nor a coach, that pretty much narrows the field, does it not?

Thanks to Calico Jack for tipping us off to this late-breaking article in which Art Shell makes just such a claim. Among other things, he says: "I sit back and I watch things happen and then it gets to the point where you cross the line. That line has been crossed and I won't sit back and allow it to happen anymore."

He adds: “When you root against me, you're rooting against the Raiders. When you root against Tom Walsh, you're rooting against the Raiders. And for someone to do that is unconscionable. It's unconscionable. It's detestable and I think it's an outrage."

Hey, don’t mince words, Art, tell us how you really feel! All kidding aside, this is a sad moment for the Oakland Raiders. As much as I respect Art Shell’s fire and fortitude in this matter, I’m disappointed that he took it to the media.

The problem with not naming names while so specifically narrowing the field is that now everyone is going to be scrutinizing the team’s organizational chart in order to speculatively identify the alleged Judas. It drags innocent people into the fray. It leaves dirty laundry flapping in the Alameda wind.

I sympathize with Coach Shell. If this is true, he is right, it’s unconscionable. But as a coach, he should know that he needs to confine team business to the proverbial locker room. We’ve been railing on Randy Moss for airing his vague complaints in the media. This is no different, in my opinion. Art Shell must set, not fail, the example.

It pains me to see my beloved Oakland Raiders embroiled in strife yet again. I am rooting for Art Shell. I am rooting for everyone in the organization. I want them to work this out. Preferably in private.

They say there’s usually a calm before the storm, but it could also be said that there’s usually a storm before the calm. This is our storm, friends. Batten down the hatches, but have faith that clear skies await.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

i'm not even worried...
Coach said he was gonna clean up when he came, didnt he? it couldn't have happen at a better time anyway with the team struggling (just on Off, by the way...our Dee and our HC basically got me saying 'i aint worried' in the first place) this yr... plus he didnt even start the 'stabbing' in the first place. i think thats what he meant too by someone crossing the line, calling up media-folks, regarding 'team-matters', in the article i read.
hes just seeing the difference between other organizations and trying to right the ship with those experiences from his position as a HC.
he also says we gotto show patience and i think hes right there too, cause this team has a real chance to be a playoff-team with our young Dee.
All we need is a Off good for 2-4 scoring drives by themselves alone cause we're allready competing with playoff-teams without it with a new system, coaches and Qb.
so be patiente Nation, i say from what i see so far, give Art 2 more drafts and then see where we at.

2:02 AM  
Blogger Raider Nate 75 said...

A lot of the mediots are already speculating that he's talking about Al Davis. Foxsports has a poll asking "Who's to blame for the Raiders' struggles?" And the choices are Shell, Al Davis, coaching staff, players, or other. 64% of people say it is Al Davis. Amazing!
Though it is someone in the front office or Football Administration, I happen to think that it is either Mike Lombardi or Amy Trask. Anyone else doesn't really make this a big deal. But both of these respected personell in the front office, are vying to take over the team when Davis decides to hang it up.
But it could also be someone in Public Relations like Artie Gigantino, since the anonymous person is contacting the media.
Personally, I think it's Mike Lombardi. He has shown disdain in his position all year, and I think his hopes of owning the team is dwindling, so he's backlashing. I like Mike a lot, and I hope I am wrong; but outside of Davis, this is the only logical choice; since his opinion is the only one that matters outside of Davis and Shell.
I think Shell has spoken privately to this person (whomever it is), and they continue to do what they are doing; and he's had enough.
I think this offseason, we will see a lot of "cancers" in the locker room gone (Moss, Walker, Brooks, Gallery), as well as some Front Office people gone.
Just my thoughts on this.
I have a new post on my blog as well at


6:22 AM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

According to today's San Jose Mercury:

At least four sources have confirmed to MediaNews that the person Shell refers to is senior personnel executive Mike Lombardi, an eight-year veteran of the Raiders front office. Lombardi refused to comment on the accusation.

Lombardi, 46, has served as de facto general manager, a post the Raiders do not identify by that name, since the departure in 2002 of Bruce Allen.

Although Shell did not identify Lombardi, he volunteered a short list of executives who were examples of those who were not complicit -- owner Al Davis, chief executive Amy Trask, special projects employee Jim Otto and executive officer John Herrera. All, he said, were loyal employees.

``All these people that have been around here for a long time bleed silver and black and so do I,'' Shell said.

7:40 AM  
Blogger Joaquin said...

It is "painful" to see this airing-out of dirty laundry especially from Shell. Porter and Moss, I can see.
It's obvious that Shell had enough.
Let's see how this plays out.

8:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am relatively sure that Coach Shell was very deliberate in his decision to bring this to the media. This was not a case of someone blowing off steam or letting his mouth get move faster than his brain (i.e. Randy Moss). As we all know, Coach Shell only says what he wants to say when he wants to say it.

In regards to Raider-nate's accusation that it was probably Mike Lombardi, I would agree. And not just because he won't be owning the team. He is very likely worried that his job goes to Shell once Shell has the team on the right track. Shell is here for the long haul, and not necessarily in a coaching capacity.


8:52 AM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

I'm sure it was deliberate, but I'm not sure it was wise.

9:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shell is an 'ol walrus....slow to move. Since when does a Head Coach take it personally when his OC can't cut it. The business is Football. The job is to win.

Get the fu*king job done and quit the complaining

9:24 AM  
Blogger BlandaRocked said...

The best way for Shell to stop it was to take it to the media. It's not just an inside issue, it's been taken public already by the culprit.

Me, I suspected this sort of thing because of the pile-on of Tom Walsh. But I thought it was likely a player. If this is Lombardi, that's very disappointing indeed. RT, this public backstabbing has been affecting the team. There is no question of that, and I've been making similar points all year.

Don't forget, Shell's been through this before with Mike White, and our string of really bad years began when White was named head coach. Before that, we only had "off years."

Also, open your eyes folks! This is a shining example that Al Davis does not control absolutely everything within the organization.

12:01 PM  
Blogger Penny Distribution said...

At least there's an explanation for the ridiculous "NFL is worried about the Oakland Raider's Competitiveness / Art Shell is a "joke" to the players" article from a while back.

I say air it out. It needs to be said and we need a better personnel man anyway. Although our last few drafts are showing to be some of the best in decades, that's more to do with the bang-up coaching job of Rob Ryan than the actually choice of players.

12:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So says Shell. Lets see some proof that someone is undermining him. For now its just the word of a man that is trying to keep his job, one that he has done very poorly. I don't hold much credibility for the man that brought back Tom "bed and breakfast" Walsh. Way to air our team dirty laundry in public Art, I see now you are a do as I say, not as I do kind of person.

He was bad in the 90's, and he's worse now.

1:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great point Horsecollar,

If the NFL were really so worried about the Raiders ability to compete, then why are we constantly robbed by their official's ???

Art vs Lombardi in a twelve rounder !!
Gotta bet on the big man here.
I say Shell in round 2, by KO.

3:41 PM  
Blogger BlandaRocked said...

Do I remember that part of the problems both Gruden and Allen had towards the end was Lombardi? I seem to also remember a rumor from way back that both Gruden and Allen were thought of as potential inheritors of Davis' throne. Voltures circling?

4:23 PM  
Blogger BlandaRocked said...


The above is not a shot at Gruden and Allen. I liked them both, and I don't think either have anything to gain by any of this. I'm suggesting that perhaps Lombardi had something a little to do with their departure. Just to be clear.

4:26 PM  
Blogger BlandaRocked said...

Did a little research on the subject. It used to be said that Gruden and Lombardi were the best of friends, as both worked in Philly together.

When Gruden left for Tampa Bay, after the first season there he pretty much got to select his own General Manager/Personnel Director. Since it looked like Bruce Allen was entrenched in Oakland and showing a future with the organization, everybody expected that Gruden would get his old friend Lombardi hired. A couple of papers even went so far as to make the announcement (based on, of course, an unnamed NFL source). Suddenly Allen was packing his bags for Tampa and Lombardi was moving into Allen's job.

4:58 PM  
Blogger BlandaRocked said...

r-8-er Mike:

I agree. It's going to be a very interesting off season. So, "Fasten your seatbelts. It's going to be a bumpy ride."

5:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i think people are delusional to side with art on this

this proves to me that art is STILL infatutaed with tom walsh. Lombardi probably convinced Al to force Art to fire him...and art is pouting that he was "backstabbed". i say get over it

and thank god Lombardi is saving us the 4 years of mediocrity on offense by getting him fired now rather than later after wasting 4 years.

people give all this BS about needing continutity. well i got another one: we are not aiming for mediocrity, period.

lets stop wasting time with these 4 years stints of crappy coachs and instead just get the right guy for the job. why wait around when we can all see its not the guy who is going to take us to the superbowl.

5:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

sean payton needed ONE, count it ONE to show promise. Jon gruden took one year to show promice

its not just the record of W Ls. its the fact that art has moved us backwards, something that does not happen in good coaches first years regardless of their records.

5:29 AM  
Blogger TheFreakingPope said...

I trust Shell. I'm willing to believe that this disclosure to the press was a masterful move. I don't see it yet, but I believe. It has been my feeling for a while now that players like Moss and Porter have been feeding somewhere. It's no different in any family. One bad seed, in the right position, can turn the tide against you. I've seen it in business and during my time of service in the Marine Corps.

One thing is for certain. By witholding names, whoever it is knows that the media is rooting through his garbage.

7:09 AM  
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