Zero Sum Game
If the reports about Lane Kiffin being under fire are true, then we’ve entered a zero sum game.
Most fans are siding with Kiffin. Others are suggesting that if Kiffin doesn’t want to stay in
Therefore, the Raiders are either bent on undermining a force of positive change, a coach who had finally steered our lost ship in the right direction. Or…the Raiders want to cut ties to a guy who is disloyal, and who wasn
If it’s the former scenario, that
If it’s the latter scenario, it’s equally bad, because it would mean that the Raiders organization, after five years, 61 losses and four head coaching hires, has remained incapable of establishing any form of consistency, continuity or direction, which would amount to organizational incompetence of the highest order.
Zero sum game.
How many second chances do the Raiders get with their paying customers? At what point does loyalty yield to outrage? Where does the buck stop? These are questions that many fans are rightfully asking themselves, even if we might have different answers.
Immediately after learning about the original ESPN report and gauging initial reaction from the Raider Nation, I posted a take suggesting that, if the report wasn’t true, the Raiders should issue a formal statement repudiating the report, with a vote of confidence from Al Davis supporting his head coach.
Some questioned my assertion that Al Davis needs to say something. Well, no, he doesn
My point was that he “should” say something. Why? Because fans don
I am in no way agitating for fans to abandon ship. Also, if this story is a fabrication, then our wrath should be directed at ESPN like never before.
However, there is a reason why so many fans, so suddenly, reacted so forcefully to this report, and the reason is rooted in the unnerving ongoing uncertainty regarding the direction and identity of the team, and the vacuum of communication between the organization and its fans, which may be part of the "Raider Way," but which is also becoming increasingly bad business.
I have been taken to task by many for suggesting that the organization improve its communication and clarify its direction. None of my business, I was told. Okay. But the gap between “none of my business” and “bad business” is rapidly closing.
Even if the ESPN report is false, it unfortunately speaks to a larger truth, which is evident in the negative fan reaction over the weekend. You heard me right: even if the reports are false, a truth has nevertheless been revealed.
Some will argue with the negative reaction. Well, the reaction is what it is. It’s raining today. I can argue about it, but I’m still going to get wet. When the vast majority of your customers are outraged, saying they shouldn’t be outraged is tantamount to arguing with the weather.
Since December, my mood about the Raiders has darkened. Something just didn’t feel right to me. I felt that we could have done a lot better in 2007, and I wondered why we didn’t, and what we were doing to rectify the situation. Long regarded as an optimist, I was suddenly cast as a pessimist. Here’s why:
1) I argued that we should remain concerned about lingering organizational dysfunction that is likely beyond Lane Kiffin’s control.
2) To those who were putting all of their eggs in Kiffin’s basket, I preached caution. To those who suggested that Kiffin has true authority to make key decisions regarding staff and personnel, I asked for firm evidence of such.
3) I was unwilling to view the 2007 season as an acceptable measure of progress.
4) I pressed for an end to the growing excuses and wishful thinking that have resulted in lowered standards in some fans regarding what we should expect from the organization, specifically in regard to its executive operations, on-field performance and fan relations.
These positions were viewed by many as pessimistic as of Friday, but today look downright tame compared to the fan reaction I’m reading.
Since these reports broke, I have been measured in my comments, unwilling to jump to conclusions. But I must say that it doesn’t look good. We haven’t heard from Al Davis, which does make me wonder, as does Kiffin’s non-denial. With all of the actors (Kiffin, Trask, etc.) sounding so stiff and rehearsed, there’s no way that this is just all a big media-fueled misunderstanding, and that things are just peachy between Lane Kiffin and the Oakland Raiders.
Which means that we’ve either alienated a solid head coach, or that we’ve saddled ourselves with yet another bad one. In other words, depending on your perspective, we’ve wasted a great opportunity or yet again demonstrated remarkable organizational incompetence.
Such is the zero sum game that faces the Raider Nation today.