Just What, Baby?
After four seasons and nearly 500 posts since launching Raider Take, I am taking a step back. The reasons are both personal and organizational.
On the personal front, life circumstances have put an increasing squeeze on my time (for all the right reasons). I need to choose my hobbies carefully.
On the organizational front, I’ve regretfully become convinced that winning is no longer the top priority for the Oakland Raiders. The Raiders have become like a restaurant that is focused on the flatware, not the food. Their eye is off the ball, and ultimately off the prize.
I have no doubt that the Oakland Raiders organization has convinced itself that winning is still its top priority. But that doesn’t make it true. The evidence strongly suggests that stubbornness and stagnancy are the real bottom line
Until winning returns as the top priority in
Trust me, I know that most folks don’t give a rat’s a** if I take a hike. But Raider Take has become a community, and it would be wrong to walk out on friends without an explanation. I’m not shutting the site down, but the frequency of posts will be scaled back significantly, and that will no doubt change the nature of this place.
Don’t think this is all about wins and losses. Losing is just a symptom. You can lose a lot of games with winning as your top priority (see the 2008 Dolphins). I’m just not convinced that this is the case in
The organization knew that Lane Kiffin was a lame duck at the end of the 2007 season. Instead of acting swiftly and decisively, and instead of installing a proven new coaching regime that could put us firmly back on the winning track, the organization allowed the lame duck to wobble into to the season with a guillotine hovering above his neck. Was it because of the money? Was it a personal grudge? Was it just bad judgment? I’m not sure. But I am sure that it wasn’t about winning. A team with winning as its top priority doesn’t allow this to happen.
Randy Moss literally and repeatedly quit before our eyes, yet Mr. Davis sill rues the day he lost Randy Moss. A player who should make his blood boil instead inspires sentimentality. If winning were the priority, why so many tears over this loser? Frankly, it’s insulting to the fans who paid hard money to watch that clown jog around the field. Jack Tatum would have ripped his head off. Yet today, Moss is nothing but a star upstairs in Alameda.
Rob Ryan’s units have chronically underperformed during his tenure in
I’ve always admired the loyalty of the Raiders organization. But today that loyalty has mutated into something bizarre and counterproductive. It’s no longer just about giving a helping hand to an old Raider in need or keeping a permanent seat for Jim Otto in the skybox. It’s about allowing chronic underperformers to occupy roster spots to the detriment of progress (and thus winning). This is an established fact.
When Kiffin was a dead man walking earlier this season, even the players were wondering aloud what was going on. It was total informational chaos, and it was an admitted distraction in the locker room. Yet the only real effort to correct the record had nothing to do with the game of football, but with a disagreement about some ESPN article being distributed to the local media. The fact that this spat was conducted so unprofessionally only underscored the tragedy and the comedy of the situation.
Organizations focused on winning do not act this way. The priorities have become jumbled in
Trust me, I am not bitching and moaning here, I’m just citing some clear examples why I’ve come to the conclusion that winning is no longer the top priority in Oakland. I could give many other examples, but I won’t, because you’re all familiar with them by now.
I didn’t coin the term “Just Win, Baby.” But, as a Raiders fan, I innately understand it. It’s not about winning this game or that game, because you can’t win them all in the NFL. It’s about doing what it takes to win, at all times. In competitive football, there can be no other priority. You can lose games, but your priorities cannot waver. If they do, you are doomed, and the notion of competitive football ceases to have meaning.
If a culture of losing begins to infest the building, it must be exterminated, not encouraged.
Don’t call me a bandwagon fan. I’m still a hardcore Raiders fan. I’ve blogged faithfully, year after year, during the organization’s most dismal era. As of today, I’m no different than any other hardcore Raiders fan who doesn’t regularly blog about the team.
I am not in a rage about the state of the Raiders. I will be at the game on Sunday, and will have fun as always. I still respect Al Davis, and I still love the Oakland Raiders. I am confident that the ship will be righted, and that winning will return as the top destination, hopefully as early as this coming offseason. Whenever it happens, it will be the result of radical change, the kind of change you can see and taste. There will be nothing vague about it.
Until then, like the Raiders, I’ll have different priorities.