The League

Sean McCann
Beat Writer

Sean McCann

Former Philadelphia Eagles beat writer for Gannett

Black Hole of Oakland

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Al Davis was a trail blazer for the sport, a true original whose ideas can no longer win football games. Take a look at a list of Oakland/Lose Angeles' first-round draft choices and it jumps right out. The early years are dotted with coups: Roman Gabriel, Gene Upshaw, Jack Tatum, Marcus Allen. Then things started to get erratic: Todd Marinovich springs to mind. And Sebastian Janikowski.

The Raiders drafted one final gem in Nnamdi Asomugha, turning him from a college safety into the best cornerback in the NFL. But since then, the news has not been good.

Davis and the Raiders have become the suckers in the room, the guys sure to be tantalized by gaudy numbers that mean little on the football field. They draft physical specimens, projects that need coaching up, and then they don't invest in decent coaches.

Oakland had had six head coaches in the last nine seasons and, considering the product in silver and black now, who knows how long Tom Cable will last.

The Raiders are an expression of Davis, and their unprecedented level of futility is a side effect of the NFL's unprecedented prosperity. In no other business could you be this bad, this blatantly dysfunctional, and still make money. Economists should probably be studying this.

It doesn't feel great to dump on the Raiders, and particularly Al Davis. The guy wants so badly to win, and still thinks of himself as a winner in exile. There's a lot to respect in that.

Someday, Davis will die. I'm almost sure of it. And when he passes on, his franchise will eventually be able to right itself.

By Sean McCann  |  October 12, 2009; 12:55 PM ET  | Category:  Oakland Raiders Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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Professional football is like any other industry it goes through phases and changes because of the demand of something different.Al Davis has not realize you can't continue to do the same thing especially with dismal results and expect something positive. He is just resistant to change and a poor judge of talent.

Posted by: mgibbosh1 | October 12, 2009 5:56 PM

What many young Raider fans don't understand is Al Davis continues to use the Sid Gilman playbook Al got in 1960. It matters not one whit what a Raider head coach may think in orivate, so long as he does exactly as Al Davis dictates. Thus, they continue to make bad draft choices based on speed, attempt to use a "vertical game" offense and play man-to-man coverage regardless of the results.

Posted by: mischanova | October 13, 2009 11:29 AM

It's sad, because I used to love Al's "Just win, baby," philosopy and the way he would poke the stodgy old NFL in the eye with a stick now and then (move to LA without permission, anyone?). I think he's just not 100% there anymore. The lights are on, but Al's left the building, and I think the Raiders are the worst franchise in the league right now--even worse than my beloved Redskins.

Posted by: Charles_Day@comcast.net | October 13, 2009 3:09 PM

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