The League

Lindsay Applebaum
Playback Blogger

Lindsay Applebaum

Washington Post Producer and Blogger

Where it Counts, Davis Is the Worst


Let's be clear about one thing: true success in the National Football League is not measured in playoff berths or Super Bowl rings -- it's all about the Benjamins, baby.

As a fan, I couldn't care less if my team were worth one dollar or $100 billion dollars -- to me, wins equal success and losses equal failure.

But the NFL is a business, and when the Redskins and Cowboys, the two wealthiest NFL franchises, are worth $1.5 billion and $1.6 billion respectively, it's difficult to argue that their owners are standing in the way of success -- regardless of record.

While Redskins owner Dan Snyder has made some questionable moves, and -- let's not kid ourselves with this year's semi-productive draft -- will likely continue to make them, it can generally be agreed upon that he wants the franchise to succeed, both financially and on the field.

The same can be said for Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, whose team tops the rankings in both categories.

As for Raiders owner Al Davis, look no further than the numbers. According to Forbes' rankings, Oakland is worth $861 million, less than every franchise except the Minnesota Vikings.

Just five years ago, the Raiders were 21st on the list, so why has the team fallen ten places down the rankings?

For starters, fans are angry that Davis still hasn't delivered on a new stadium.

As Chris Thompson of the East Bay Express points out, "Readers who don't follow sports too closely may imagine that Oakland and Alameda County brought the Raiders back for good in 1995 by spending $300 million to renovate the Arena and Coliseum. But in fact, the Raiders could be gone once again as soon as their lease expires in 2010. After all, the team's latest tenure in Oakland has been marred by bitter lawsuits, the personal seat license fiasco, and surprisingly indifferent fans."

The San Francisco Chronicle's Nancy Gay also has a few ideas:

Make Al Davis explain why he has committed nearly $200 million of the Raiders' future this season to unproductive free-agent signings. Why does he misjudge talent and character, year after year?
Davis must explain why he refuses to let his head coaches coach. Why he has almost entirely disbanded his personnel department, starting with the departures of Bruce Allen and Michael Lombardi, until now. Do you really think Mark Jackson makes a football decision?

But back to the question, which asks if a hands-on approach to owership is harmful. Owners can meddle all they want, and why shouldn't they? As Post writer Mark Maske points out, "These are now billion dollar franchises. The players have contracts worth tens of millions of dollars. If you think an owner is going to rubber-stamp everything you want to do and sign the checks without being in the loop, you're insane."

Here's the thing, though: The Raiders aren't a billion-dollar franchise. And who's to blame?

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  September 12, 2008; 1:18 AM ET Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: Chicago at Carolina, Week 2 | Next: San Diego at Denver, Week 2


Please email us to report offensive comments.

"...let's not kid ourselves with this year's semi-productive draft."

It takes YEARS to figure out if a draft was successful or not. We're at WEEK #2. Just a touch premature on the conclusion, I'd say.

Posted by: PS7900 | September 12, 2008 2:55 PM

This women flat out wrong. The success of a sports team is not measured by money. It's measured by winning. The only person who cares about the money is the owner. Her comments show she really does not understand sports, but she is kinda cute. She should stick to commenting on fashions or something.

Posted by: Stro | September 12, 2008 7:29 PM

As Chris Thompson of the East Bay Express points out,

I live out here in the Bay Area and I've never heard of this 'East Bay Express'. Kudos to Lindsey for having such arcane knowledge of whats in my backyard.

Oh yes, and if you measure franchises by wins, Al Davis hasn't done well in that either in a very long time.

Posted by: AL Zeke etc | September 12, 2008 8:30 PM

Lindsay has hit the target. Al Davis is crazy and he should be removed from the NFL. He has made bizarre off season moves, and his team hasn't won squat in years. His team's value has plummeted and that's a sign of poor management. Plus, the stadium the team plays in is the ugliest concrete box I have ever seen. Crossing the bridge over the stream of trash and bums to get to his stadium signifies his team right now.

Posted by: The Landry Hat | September 13, 2008 5:25 AM

Hard to pick between Bidwill, Davis, and Snyder. Throw in the Brown family in Cincinnati, for good measure.

Posted by: P Diddy | September 13, 2008 2:57 PM

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