Update - 2:45 p.m.: The press conference is on ESPN News and can be viewed online here. Mr. Davis has the gloves off. Accusations of deceit, lying, etc.
Update - 1:45 - The Oakland Tribune will be live blogging from the Raiders press conference at 2 p.m. Click here to visit the blog.
Update - 1:30 p.m.: Lane Kiffin is saying that he will hold a press conference tomorrow. The Raiders are saying he was fired "for cause." This could get real ugly.
It’s official: the Raiders are reporting that Lane Kiffin has been fired—which is yet more evidence of the high cost of indecision that has plagued the Raiders’ coaching selections over the past several years.
You will recall that the Raiders dragged their feet prior to hiring Art Shell in February of 2006, a choice that, in retrospect, looked desperate. That was a year of substantial coaching turnover in the NFL, and we were the last to make a decision—and that decision turned out to be disastrous.
The following year, after Shell was fired, the Raiders again failed to act swiftly and decisively. It took three weeks after Shell’s firing to find a replacement—and that replacement was Lane Kiffin, who initially came to be interviewed as a potential assistant to head coaching candidate Steve Sarkisian.
At the end of last season, it was clear that there was turmoil surrounding Kiffin. Yes, the media acted irresponsibly by reporting rumors and innuendo, but the fact is that there was fire behind the smoke, and it turns out the media were right about that, just as they were right about the behind-the-scenes drama since day one of this season.
Since the Raiders did not act last winter to replace Kiffin, I assumed that the organization had healed itself, and that Lane Kiffin was here to stay, at least through this season. Why wouldn’t I assume that? What would be the point of starting a new season with a coach you’re anxious to jettison? Why keep the guy if there’s even the remotest chance of the early-season acrimony that has ensued since the start of this season? These are questions I would still like answered.
This summer, I received my season ticket pitch package, which was emblazoned with the theme of “I Will,” which in part read: “I will be a part of the journey and bathe in the glory when we arrive.”
Well, what journey are we on, exactly? Where are we going? Whose map are we following?
I decided to re-up my season tickets in part because I was confident that, this time, the Raiders had a vision and a plan. That plan (and I use the term loosely) lasted one week into the season, and has since been derailed by sniping and speculation fueled by the organization itself.
Indecision is killing this organization. If there was any chance of firing Kiffin this September, then he should have been fired last winter. Period. After five years of failure, there’s no excuse to be moving sideways instead of moving forward, to be rebuilding yet again instead of simply building.
Apparently, Lane Kiffin was the wrong guy—again. Just as Callahan, Turner and Shell were the wrong guys. Here’s a suggestion: Stop hiring the wrong guy! Start hiring head coaches with proven NFL experience and success, not unknown college assistants (Kiffin), not weak retreads (Turner), and not guys who haven’t been on a sideline for five years (Shell). Since not having a general manager has been a disaster, hire a general manager. Then give the coach and general manager time to build a foundation. Is this too much to ask? For once, I hope not.
You do realize, don’t you, that if the Raiders don’t win more than five games this year, the team will set the NFL record for most consecutive 11-or-more-loss seasons. There are no excuses for chronically underperforming parity in the NFL at a record-setting pace. It takes an epic run of bad decisions (and indecisions) to reach this point.
Just another coach won’t fix this. It’s time for the Raiders to install mirrors all over the headquarters in Alameda. It’s time for visible, tangible change. It’s time for decisive redirection and rethinking of the entire approach to the front-office structure, and to finally pick the right men for the right jobs, and to give them the time and space to do their jobs.
I have a new theme for the Raiders: Not “I Will,” but “You Will.” I've done my part. Now do yours.