Thursday, February 01, 2007

A Legend Leaves The Turf

On the one hand, I hate to see Fred Biletnikoff step away from the Coliseum turf. On the other hand, if it had to happen, then I think the timing is probably right.

You know how I feel about Fred Biletnikoff. His exploits and credentials as a Raiders legend are well documented, so I won’t state the obvious. As for the timing of his departure, well, let’s begin with some questions…

Did Freddie pack his own bags, or was he nudged out the door? Some have speculated that Freddie was unhappy with how Art Shell was dismissed, and that he was suffering from diva fatigue, courtesy of Moss and Porter. Others have speculated that it was simply a matter of Coach Kiffin exerting his own autonomy (!) and vision for the offense. I imagine that the truth is somewhere in between. In other words, if Freddie was nudged, it may not have taken a big nudge.

Is Jerry Porter an X Factor in this development? As you may recall, Fred Biletnikoff was part of the infamous meeting that resulted in Jerry Porter’s ejection from Art Shell’s office last spring—an ejection that initiated Porter’s season-long banishment to the proverbial doghouse. Given that piece of recent history, along with reports about Freddie’s rapport with Art Shell, can we view Freddie’s departure, at least partially, as an attempt by the organization to make peace with Porter?

Before you shoot me down, hear me out. Let’s review Jerry Porter’s lost season, which boils down to the following two possibilities:

1. Porter fully earned his season-long banishment by being a bad teammate, a malcontent, a disruptor, etc.

2. Porter did not fully earn his season-long banishment, in which case his season-long banishment was at least partially due to vindictive mistreatment by the Oakland Raiders coaching staff.

If you buy the first scenario, then Jerry Porter is simply a guy you don’t want on your team—ever. So why is he still on the team? Why is the Oakland Tribune reporting that “it appears Porter will stay” in 2007?

This suggests that the Oakland Raiders may have accepted the second scenario, in which Porter was mistreated. Who’s the last man standing in this power struggle? Not Art Shell. Not Fred Biletnikoff. The last man standing is Jerry Porter. Coincidence? I’m not saying I agree with it. I’m just wondering: are the dots connected?

Even if the dots aren’t connected, the timing of Fred Biletnikoff’s retirement is telling. Last year was all about going back to the future with Art Shell, Tom Walsh and a return to "classic" Raiders football. This year is all about erasing the failed experiment of last year with new blood, new ideas and new energy. For whatever reason, Fred Biletnikoff is not a part of this new plan. If that's the way it has to be, then I can accept that, because we are in desperate need of a new plan.

That’s not a slight on Fred Biletnikoff. Maybe he was, indeed, just sick and tired of dealing with Moss and Porter, or he maybe was truly aggrieved by Shell’s reportedly harsh dismissal, or both. Or maybe he was, in fact, nudged firmly out the door. Either way, you could say he was a victim of circumstances. Everyone is a victim of circumstances at some point, but that doesn’t diminish who they are and what they’ve achieved.

On that note, I salute Fred Biletnikoff, whose accomplishments and character define what it means to be a Raiders legend.


Blogger RaiderRealist said...

Whichever is the case, it looks like Jerry Porter will still be a Raider next season. I'm still hoping they move Moss, though. We all saw him halfway going through the motions with alligator arms.

3:13 PM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

Maybe at the age of 64, Freddie B. just wants to kick up his feet and enjoy a stress free retirement. Nothing wrong with that.

3:22 PM  
Blogger Doobie said...

Not only that, but he was that position coach for 10 years. I'm sure there had to be some level of burnout.

Besides, he's a HOF'er who was extending his career as a coach. That's much different than someone whose career *is* coaching. Freddie B. has nothing to prove to anyone and can retire a happy man.

4:02 PM  
Blogger nyraider said...

Raider Take, I think you know I agree with your X-Factor theory (based on my previous postings). Al and Kiff eluded to a reconciliation with Porter during their press conference, so the writing was on the wall for his probable return.

I still believe Porter can be a productive member of this team and, most importantly, save us from having to concentrate our draft and/or free agency efforts unnecessarily on a WR.

Moss is the higher risk of the two and should be dealt for the best possible value.

4:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

After the stench of the last season, a fresh winter wind is blowing in Alameda. New coaches almost across the board, and old ones either being shown the door or walking through them on their own. After watching last season's ridiculous hiring of Shell and Walsh, players had to be wondering what the hell was going on. This time, they'll have questions but they'll also likely have more hope.

5:49 PM  
Blogger StickUm25 said...

Whatever the case, it's gonna be hard to blame the coaches again for poor performance by the offense. At a certain point, if the offense fails to produce you have to pin it on the players, and I think this is the year we reach that point. Gallery, Grove, Jordan, Anderson, Walter, etc better produce this year, or their careers could be in serious trouble.

7:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fred Biletnikoff, one of the true Raider legends. The wizard of wide receivers, who never let the fans down.
He will be missed, but I think the time was right for this.

Jerry Porter, perhaps, should be given another chance. He is in his prime, he is healthy, and he can play if he puts his heart/mind into it. Big if's, I know.

As for Moss, I am very weary of having someone on the team who quits at the first sign of trouble.

Great players play harder when their team trails, but Moss would rather sulk on the bench, and then run to the radio media, and throw a crying fit. What a leader.

He admits to being moody, and we just can't be sure which mood Moss will be in from week, to week.

He says he wants to win, but he refuses to contribute to the winning. How is a coach suppose to deal with that ???

When you size it all up, Randy Moss spells cancer, and I just can't see him changing much at this stage in his career.

I think the Raiders should make the best deal they can for Moss, and simply turn the page.

7:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

With all due respect (truly meant) I think your comments are well said and thought out...except that a defining thank you and respectful "hail fellow well met" to Fred Billetnikoff should have never included the names Moss/Porter anywhere in the message. It is a disservice to Fred. If Moss/Porter remain in Silver and Black...and they win us'll be a great story. In the me, wannabe's.

9:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

good luck to freddie b. he has been a true raider.

i have a sneaking suspicion that the raiders just might take quinn. i just think he fits a USC type of QB. yeah it's true he hasn't won big games. could it be he's taking a page from peyton manning's book? but then again, look where manning is now. he hasn't won the really big one but by the time the guy hangs up the cleats he's gonna set all kinds of passing records! PLUS it takes a whole team to win a big game, not just one guy.

BUT then again, here's russell who WANTS to get better. he's been training with brady's old HS coach and the 'ol coach has good words for the kid.

no use arguing about what to do with moss and porter. they're STAYING! hopefully some sap team is gonna be desperate enough to offer us a sweet deal come draft time. otherwise, they're staying.

9:31 PM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

Anon 9:16, I appreciate your feedback, your point is well taken.

Personally, I'd rather not talk about Moss and Porter, either. Am I wrong in saying that it's unprecedented to have two guys at the same position who are so universally disliked by a team's fan base? Here we are, diehard fans of the Raiders, and we have contempt for our top two receivers who just might return after having helped pave a 2-14 record. It's truly remarkable, isn't it?

Yet this is the same reason why I can't help but mention Moss and Porter in the wake of Freddie's departure. I'd like to think that these two characters had nothing to do with it, yet I have to wonder, for the reasons cited. And if they did have something to do with it, I hope it was on Freddie's terms, not theirs.

10:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I met Freddie B. at the Super Bowl functions at SB XXX in Phoenix in the late 90's. I went up to him and aked if he wouold sign a ball for me, which he did of course. But the funny part was that I said to him, "hey Mr. B they used to call me Freddie B on our high school team. His respose was classic Fred: "yea, thats what all the white guys say!" What a classic player, my favorite of all time, God Bless and good luck Freddie B.

6:22 AM  
Blogger Raider Ray said...

"Either way, you could say he was a victim of circumstances."

You're missing one possibility. That he wasn't a victim at all, and he just has had a long successful career and is ready for a change. I don't think the X-factor is necessarily Jerry Porter. Perhaps the X-factor is the death of his daughter a few years back, and the possibility that he just doesn't have the juice left to do the job. I mean it's probable you're right, but I wanted to spin what I saw as a very real possibility in regards to his departure. Either way, I agree he "IS" a great Raider and I respect and appreciate all he's done throughout his career. I wish him the best.

8:28 AM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

Good point, Raider Ray. My intent was to say that he is a victim of circumstance in the context of the scenarios cited in that paragraph.

As you and Calico Jack have noted, it could be that he simply wants to retire and enjoy life, unrelated to anything specific with the team.

At the same time, I don't think it's unfair to speculate that there might be a bit more to the story, especially considering the timing: a full five weeks since the end of the season and two weeks into the tenure of Lane Kiffin.

8:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love Freddie B. as much as the next guy, but we had no choice. His time had come, and if we did not show him the door then I would've been pissed. I agree with Denny Green, you should not have a coach on the staff that doesn't have head coach aspirations. I'm hoping Kiff nudged him out the door.


8:57 AM  
Blogger nyraider said...

PORTER: With the release of Art Shell and retirement of Fred Biletnikoff, Porter has to feel vindicated, and he can now come back with his feathers in the air. Some fans might not embrace him at first, but memories of 2006 will fade quickly if he plays like we know he can.

MOSS: On the other hand, Moss has his tail between his legs, and will not get off so easily. This man has no excuse for his big mouth and lack of effort and will carry that weight as long as he is a Raider. And he knows it. It is likely he will continue to force a trade, to separate himself from his own embarrassment, and prove to all of us that we are wrong about him... which, of course, we’re not.

9:45 AM  
Blogger Raider Raza said...

Great Take, RT
I was thinking the same things.

We probably will never know why Freddy B, is leaving us,

But i will always remember Freddy B as a Lifelong Raider.

It's too bad he had to work with selfish prima donnas like Moss and Porter, so I wouldn't be surprised if he felt that the commitment and attitudes of the players had changed to the point he didn't feel the passion of the game through his players anymore..

11:41 AM  
Blogger Raider Raza said...

My Take on Moss situation.

His play last year was so bad:

-Dropping easy passes
-Piss Poor effort
-Doesn't like to block
-He Quits when the going gets tough
-Diahrrea of the Mouth
-Getting to the huddle late;barely paying attention.
-Unaccountable for his play;Blames others for his play

In addition he has never been a student of the game or willing to study and master his craft like Rice, Brown, Rod Smith, who as a result played at a high level late in their careers.

So when his leaping ability and speed decline and deteriorate, which already has, he will be nothing more than a has-been with a shitty attitude.

Who would really want him?? Last year there were few teams interested in Owens cause of his attitude and Moss is even worse. At least you could say TO gives it his all on the field, you can't say that of Moss.

I know If I were another team I rather roll the dice on rookie than Moss. Moss makes me sick.

For our sake I hope somebody buys into the Moss hype..

But at this point the most we might get for Moss is a cheerleader to be named later..

11:55 AM  
Blogger BlandaRocked said...

Leaving the discussion of Porter for another day, I'd like to say that Moss is a very poor tribute to a man like Biletnicoff. While Biletnicoff always played when the Raiders were sporting winning teams, I can never imagine Freddie playing with aligator arms. His pride would have never allowed for it.

What seems to have been left out of Freddie's history is that after the Raiders finally released him, he went to Montreal for a couple of seasons to play in the CFL. The Alouettes were never a football powerhouse, but Freddie won the hearts and minds of the Canadians. They even created a sickem rule in Freddie's honor.

It was the game of football that Freddie loved. Nothing could ever prevent him from issuing his best effort. If Moss isn't "happy" he refuses to even try. Our new coaching staff will have a full on road block, just like Shell, if part of their job description becomes, "make sure Randy is happy."

1:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can safely say that we won't have to worry about Moss next year after this:

Kiffin allegedly attempted to contact the 29-year-old wideout over the
weekend, ready to talk with his most daunting challenge for the upcoming
season. Moss wanted nothing to do with the newly-assigned coach, and
used a wide assortment of profanities to make it clear. News of the
meeting-gone-wrong spread throughout Senior Bowl practices; by the end
of the day, the negative headlines had made there way from Alabama to

Unless Kiffin has no balls (which is directly opposite of what he has shown thus far) or Al can't even get a third rounder for him, Moss has just punched his own ticket elsewhere... damn I am going to miss his alligator arms, his jogging through his routes, and as team captain saying he shouldn't have to care because nobody else does.


I think Freddie B did great with people like himself, self-starters like Tim Brown, Jerry Rice, maybe Curry... not so much with Moss and Porter.

He was my favorite player, my junior high basketball number was 25... and I hope he doesn't have any animosity towards the Raiders in his departure.

Thanx Freddi B for all you did for the Raiders!

1:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fred Biletnikoff is my all-time favorite football player and a true Raider legend. I hate to see him leave the organization but now is probably a good time to do so. Enjoy retirement Freddie! You deserve it!

2:58 PM  
Blogger BlandaRocked said...

There is possibly one thing that could make a Moss return fun to watch, but it would probably be bad for the Raiders. Since Freddie has retired, make the 25-year-old Roth receivers coach.

Since Moss apparently feels that the Raider coaches were old and out of touch with today's NFL, it would interesting to see Moss work with a coach who views Moss as old and out of touch with today's NFL.

This could get to be like that 60s movie, "Wild in the Streets."

3:03 PM  
Blogger BlandaRocked said...

For anyone who didn't get my Wild in the Streets reference, it was a 60s movie speculating on what whould happen if the voting age (then 21) was reduced.

Eventually a 16 year old becomes president, and everyone over 30 is confined to concentration camps and given continual doses of LSD.

The final scene from the movie has two pissed off 9 year olds, smarting from a slight by the new president. One says to the other, "We're going to put everybody over ten out of business!"

5:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fred Biletnikoff is my favorite Raider. I remeber taking one of my dad's t-shirts and with a marker put the #25 all over it with Biletnikoff on the back. I even cut the sleeves and the collar.

As an adult I earned my Master's Degree and my wife wanted to get me an autographed Biletnikoff jersey as a gift. She called the Raiders and told them what she was looking for. They put her into Fred Biletnikoff's voice mail. She thought that would pretty much nix that idea.

Later that afternoon she got a call back. On the other end of the line the voice said, "Mary, this is Freddy Biletnikoff."
Thinking it was her brother pulling a fast one she said, "Come on Rich!" The voice replied, "No Mary this is Freddy B. I got your request and I would like to help you. But it is hard to find my jerseys. How about if I put in a request to the team to make a jersey. You can buy it from the team and I'll autograph it?"

I have the internal team routing slip that says - Custom make Biletnikoff jersey and forward to Freddy B.

The jersey is the center piece of all my Raider memorabilia. When I look at it each day I am reminded of Fred Biletnikoff's greatness as a player but suspect he is greater as a person.

Good luck Freddy B.

10:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Crackhead Irvin beats out Ray Guy for the Hall of Fame.

A real shame.

If they wanted a WR for the Hall so much, why not Cliff Branch ??

Nfl is two faced as they cry about the 8 Bengals being arrested, & Tank Johnson with his guns, but then usher in the crackhead into the Hall ahead of more deserving players.

NFL = Two Faced.

10:55 PM  
Blogger nyraider said...

memdf: cool story. That jersey is a real treasure. I still have the Topps bubble gum cards that I collected as a kid. I used to hoard Stabler, Branch and Biletinkoff cards. Hey! Can your wife get my Freddie B cards autographed?

5:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think she is out of the autograph business. I used to tape my Topps Raiders cards end to end and hang them in my locker in grade school. I still have the Marv Hubbard card with his watch on!

The irony of a player with great character like Biletnikoff and one with no character like Irvin both in the HOF is not lost on me.

I know Al pressed for a Raiders HOF with the revamping of the colusiem severel years ago. Maybe it is time to revisit that.

The Cowboys are darlings. The media driven NFL is disgusting. The explayers and "insiders" all toe the party line.

Fortunatley it stopped affecting me. I watch only Raider games and the sound is turned down unless Gannon is announcing.

The footabll fan mentality is also lost on me (Although I love watching college because I don't really care who wins). "What are you doing for the game?" What game? The Raiders aren't playing. Why should I care about the Super Bowl. Bunker mentality.
Just hate baby!
Sorry to vent......

6:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a kid, my favorite player was also Freddie B (and Snake). I wish him the best. He's a class guy all the way around. The man defined the role of the posession receiver. I had his poster in my room back in the seventies. I think it got replaced by a half-nude chick or perhaps a Led Zeppelin concert shot. Wish I still had it.

6:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does anyone notice that the RiderImage Ad on has Curry and Moss or Porter?


1:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ok, well congrats to the Colts.

but in '07-'08...LET'S GO RAIDERS!

tough as nails, bring all comers


7:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The NFL media propaganda machine rears it's ugly head. They love the darling Manning but Rhodes should have been MVP. Juste hate baby continues...

8:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

yea, but let's be serious, we don't give a damn about the Colts...



9:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You guys are missing all of the fun here in KC. A local Raider fan emailed in to one of the sports radio shows and essentially said that the Chiefs were a mediocre franchise at best and their playoff record (3-11) since 1970 was pathetic. And even though we were 2-14 last year we will make another super bowl appearence before the Chiefs will. Oh man, chiefs fan has their panties in a bunch. This has been so much fun to listen to. One idiot called in and said that Raider fan probably "doesn't even know the history of their team". So I called in and offered to name the starting line up of the '76 Raiders but the station would have none of it. Wish you all were here to jump on the pile!
Go Raiders!

6:54 AM  
Blogger BlandaRocked said...

It's getting to that time of year where there is precious little about the Raiders to read. I've done my part. New post at BlandaRocked.

2:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Moss is worth more than a 3rd rounder. I know 30 some odd nfl teams that would gladly fork their 3rd round pick over for Moss. If anything, trade him for Adalius Thomas or some other stud. Not a freakin' third rounder.
We runied the guy.

4:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Interesting about the Detroit rumor and Moss trade.

Perhaps they could give us a 2nd rounder, which is almost like a late 1st rounder.
Maybe they kick in a player also.

I'm hoping.

7:56 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home