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Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Has Al Davis Lost It?

Oakland Raiders' owner Al Davis fired head coach Lane Kiffin yesterday. The Raiders now will have their fifth head coach in seven years. Most coaches take at least three years to demonstrate whether they'll succeed. Good luck to anyone who signs on with Davis; he'll get about 17 months.

Make critical comments every now and then, and, well, at worst you're a harping nag but more likely you're providing constructive feedback. I'd give mostly every head of an organization the benefit of the doubt on that score. That said, Davis has been known to be a meddling owner, and over the past several years his actions have been over the top. Did I say that he's now on his fifth head coach in the past seven years? Does he know something that others don't, or is he just an accident waiting to happen these days?

The Raiders' record since 2003 and before this season began is 17-63.

Davis unloaded on Kiffin, making it seem like the young coach infected the vaunted Raiders' organization and was an unmitigated disaster. I would call out Davis and suggested that by now hiring his seventh coach in five years, he should take a long, hard and honest look in the mirror.

Because what's there isn't pretty.

Make critical comments too frequently -- such as shortly after you've hired a key operating officer -- and, well, you could be a harping nag, or, worse, you've lost it. Al Davis once presided -- no, check that, coached, managed and then actively oversaw -- one of the most respected franchises in the National Football League. Today, though, it's an open question whether the Raiders are just one big joke and what the NFL could do about it. It's an even bigger question as to what coach in his right mind would take a job with Oakland. Yes, there are those who would give anything to become head coach of an NFL team, but those might be the guys you'd want to stay away from. Capricious doesn't begin to describe Al Davis.

The whole situation is unfortunate. A promising young coach is out, and a once proud, very successful owner is at the end of his career and his team is failing. Unfortunately, it's all very public and very nasty, and the matter will end up before Commissioner Goodell and perhaps in the courts, where Al Davis has proved as formidable as his teams in the 1960's were on the field.

What a mess.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Al Davis is, and always has been, a thug. But a successful one until recently.

Now he is trying to get out of paying off the rest of the three-year contract.

8:52 AM  

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