Come Back Home Art
I think it is very unfortunate that if the Raiders end up hiring Art Shell as the new Head Coach that it will be considered by the media and even some short-sighted Raider fans as a desperation move. It will be considered a desperation move for all the wrong reasons in my book.
First and foremost, Al took a calculated risk by waiting until after the Super Bowl in order to interview Whiz. As Whiz points out in today’s CBS Sportsline article, his heart was in Pittsburgh. Second, the Raiders are the only team without a Head Coach signed yet. Third, Shell will be viewed as a “fall-back” candidate.
However, if you look at the big picture, doesn’t this all boil down to a few simple things?
Number one: Who is the best overall fit for the Raiders organization? I, for one, believe that Shell’s background as a Hall of Fame player and successful Head Coach for the Raiders makes him uniquely well qualified for this job.
Number two: Who in the open market has the best chance to succeed? Whiz might very well turn out to be a top notch head coach someday but is still unproven. Did the fact that Norv Turner won 2 Super Bowls with the Cowboys as the Offensive Coordinator translate into success as a Head Coach? Watch this video interview of Whiz on the evening prior to his interview with Al and tell me that this guy is the dynamic, passionate leader that the Raiders need.
Most of us got so caught up in the success of the Steelers, the hype about Whiz, and the wait for him to be interviewed without questioning whether Whiz is the right guy on the Raiders sideline. There is a big difference in being up in the press box and being the man in charge on the sidelines.
Finally, the media seems hung up on some artificial timeline for when a Head Coach should be hired. What difference does it really make if the new Head Coach joins the Raiders in the 2nd week of February as opposed to the middle of January? None.
In my judgment, Shell is an excellent overall match to lead the Raiders out of the quagmire. Let me give you my top ten reasons that the Raider Nation will be proud to have Big Art roaming the sidelines;
1. Shell will be able to shore up one of our biggest deficiencies; the O-Line.
2. Shell’s Hall of Fame playing career with the Raiders carries weight (no pun intended) and respect with the players.
3. Intimate knowledge of the Raiders’ organization
4. Strong, long-term relationship with Al built on respect and trust
5. Record of success as previous Head Coach of the Raiders from 1989-1994. Shell led the Raiders to 3 playoff appearances and a 56-41 record. Shell was voted Head Coach of the year in 1990 leading the Raiders to a 12-4 record, divisional title, and AFC Championship berth.
6. Shell’s commanding presence on the sideline, strong leadership abilities, and no-nonsense personality is what this team needs more than anything else.
7. Shell will be given more rope and authority by Al since Al openly admits to making a mistake in firing him in 1994.
8. Shell’s unquestioned loyalty and dedication to the Silver and Black
9. A proven winner on the field and on the sidelines; see points 2 and 5
10. "Unfinished business"; Shell thirsts for a second crack at leading the Raiders back to glory.
This long and frustrating recruitment process will be coming to a close soon. If the Raiders ultimately end up hiring Shell as our new Head Coach, I am very confident that the proud tradition of winning football will be quickly restored. I love a guy like Art who has an unconditional loyalty to bringing the Silver and Black back to their rightful place. The quest to hoist another Lombardi Trophy will once again burn brightly.
Raise the Black Flag,