Thursday, February 09, 2006

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,

Calico Jack


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well said, I can't wait!

7:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No thank you.

7:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry, I don't buy it. Shell is a "fallback coach" unquestionably. I remember his coaching back in the day. Stoic on the sidelines, no emotion. Lost control of the players (remember his meltdown with Hostetler). Davis screws us again. Just like with the Norvell Turner hiring. Bottom of the barrel. I love Art Shell. He is arguably the greatest tackle ever to play the game. Is he the answer to the Raider coaching problems? Uh, No.

8:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As i remember in 1994, one of the most frustrating years of being a Raider fan , Big Art was the coach. We lost so many games because of coaching, was it Terry Robiske or Art or the presence of Al, don't know. go back and look at that year. Art does not provide offensive contributions. We end up with Al's offense which we all complained about last year.

10:09 AM  
Anonymous Harvey said...

I'm trying to buy into what you are saying and I'm going to keep trying because being a loyal Raider fan who loves Al Davis what else can I do? I hope against hope that I'm not seeing the situation in the right way and that if Shell or whoever else is still left out there is a good coach why was there absolutely no interest from any of the other teams? Not to say that other teams know what they are doing but why do the Raiders always have to be different. When Norv was hired despite the fact that he was on no one else's radar I went into spin mode and convinced myself that he was the offensive Belichick and with a second chance he was going to prove to be a genius move. This despite my gut telling me that it was a stupid hire. Well my gut proved correct on that one. And now once again my gut is telling me that Shell (and I love Art Shell) is nothing more than a fallback hire because every candidate with real potential didn't pan out. Once it is official I will again put my gut feelings aside and somehow spin it in my head that whoever Al hires is the right guy to turn the team around and if it winds up being true I'll be as happy as any other fan. But it's getting much harder to just blindly believe because each disappointing season is forcing me to question what is going on in this organization.

I take it personally when I see Shanirat rubbing it in our faces when Denver wins, and Shittenheimer spewing garbage about the self-destructive nature of the Raiders and then being proven right. I want to kill the Chiefs and the Donkeys and the Chargers and dominate them again. And I want more than anything for the Steeler offense to disintegrate next year leaving Whisenhunt to be begging for a job as a waterboy. But most of all I need some hope that we can be successful again. And i'm finding it hard to find that based on what's transpired this week. So whoever get's hired please give me and the rest of the fans hope for a real turnaround.

12:44 PM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

anonymous 10:09 am -
In 1994 the Raiders were 9-7 and lost the tie-breaker to KC (9-7) for the last playoff spot.

Harvey -
Shell was a finalist candidate HC candidate for the Dolphins last year. I'm sure the media will have a field day if he is hired but frankly I don't care because at the end of the day, it will come down to wins and losses. Right now the Raiders and Art's record is 0-0.

I am very hopeful and optimistic that Shell will be able to turn things around. Clearly there are many areas of the team that need improvement. The D needs to continue to make steady progress and mature, the O-Line needs to be shored up, KFC needs to be replaced, we need a back up RB to lighten the load on Jordan.

It will be critical to have a productive draft and free agecny. I sincerely believe that Art will be able to set the tone and Al will be able to add the right pieces to move us forward.

5:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

some of you will NEVER be happy no matter who the hell we hire. because you believe what you read and hear from the media. when was the last positive article or vidio story done by mass-media on the raiders? seldom seen. only raider people do positive things on us. and you know what, i wouldn't have it any other way.

this is the NFL people. the best of the best. name one single coach who has not one owner who has made the right move EVERY single time....hasn't happened. EVER. the best of them get to the big dance every now and again...(pssst, thats us)

Art would be great, and greater this go round. so many do much better in their 2nd go at it. i would welcome him home with open arms. would our o-line "snap to" pretty quickly or what? my personal darkhorse for HC or OC would be Neuhiesel. love him!!!he'd be a perfect fit for us.

5:52 PM  
Blogger frkyraider said...

welcome home Art. now get to work big man!!!

11:08 AM  
Blogger frkyraider said...

lemme tell you anonymous guys something and maybe it'll change your views a little bit if we're all lucky. the attitude that seems to be flowing aound some of you is exactly what is wrong with our lockeroom for the last few seasons. can't you just hear it, "collins sucks, this aint the offence we should be running, our coaches suck, turner couldn't coach his way out of a wet paper sack. this is ALL Al's fault!!" it's all about who's to blame, the finger pointing and all the backstabbing that goes along with it.

i am a highschool football coach and had the exact same problem with my team for several seasons. everyone wants to hold somebody accountable for our failures.when in all actuality, we all need to look in the mirror and ask ourselves what more could i have done, what more can i do now, have i givin it everything i've got?

sometimes it's a glaring mistake that someone can be blamed for. but it all starts right here with us. you gotta be pulling for your boys. "COME ON ART, SHAPE OUR BOYS UP!!" i know you hope he does but at this point sayin he aint the man isn't doing any of us any good, he has been hired. do you love the RAIDERS? i do. if you have any love for em at all you'll support them and stop rippin em and pointing fingers. heres the worst one i've read in quite some time, "the raiders will never be anything but losers till Al Davis is dead." wow, a real fan huh? Art is here NOW, Al aint going nowhere, aren't you pulling for one of the best RAIDERS of all time to turn this ship around and sail us into the promised land. it's tho of us who stay posititve and stay the coarse that deserve the wonderful feeling that the pittsburg fans got this season. and all of you finger pointing, blame game playing bandwagon jumping fans get to enjoy it too, altho you'll never EVER know how good it really feels to "us".

5:22 PM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

Frkyraider - You make many excellent points. I think it is very commendable that you share your accountability standards and philosophy to the young men you coach and lead.

Most Raider fans have suffered the last 3 years but a true, loyal Raider fan should be hopeful that his or her team will rise again to glory.

I have no problem with criticism of poor player performance (ie. KFC), poor coaching (bye bye Norv), or poor decisions by Al (hiring Norv, some past draft choices etc). Hey everyone is entitled to their opinion. I wasn't happy with Norv's lack of passion and leadership. I wasn't happy with KFC's inability to manage the game and poor performance but I still suppported their efforts 100%.

Now that Art Shell is in command it is time to turn the page. Art Shell deserves the benefit of the doubt from all the skeptics and naysayers until proven otherwise. Give the guy a chance to prove whether or not he has the necessary leadership skills to instill a will to win. Let Art's record in the upcoming seasons guide your opinions.

To all the Al Davis haters: Are you conveniently forgetting that Al Davis is the Raiders and that he is is by far the biggest contributor to the Raiders proud history and tradition. Al Davis built the Raider organizaiton from the ground up and is the reason many of us became die-hard Raider fans to begin with. If you don't like what Al Davis represents, do us all a favor and pick another team or hobby because he isn't going anywhere in the foreseeable future. Deal with it.

Regardless of the situation or the year, I'm sticking with my team through thick and thin. I get seriously frustrated, annoyed, and disappointed with all the wanna-be Raider fans who are soaked in negativity when times are rough but want to jump on the wagon in the good years. To me that is the defiition of a fair weather fan. I have no desire whatsoever to associate with any fair weather fans. The only people I call my Raider brothers and sisters are the REAL Raider fans who aren't fickle. The fair weather fans are distant cousins at best.

If you are a true, die-hard, loyal fan than the silver and black goblet should always be half-full not half empty.

I've said this a few times in my blog entries but I sincerely mean it from the heart . . . I am always hopeful that the next snap, the next quarter, the next half, the next game, the next season will be better. My bond to the Raiders is not negotiable. My passion for the Raiders is not negotiable. Call it 'blind loyalty' if you please but frankly I don't care because nothing gets my juices flowing more than watching my team in battle. Nothing brings me more joy than a big win. Nothing would make me more proud than for the Raiders reign of power to rise again. Nothing would be more satisfying than for Mr. Davis to hoist another Lombardi trophy and in essence say to all the mediots "Stick this trophy up your a**. We did it our way. The Raider way!"

My slogan that I coined 'Silver and Black Forever. Til Death Do Us Part' means that I will be a Raider fan until the day I die.
I receive feedback from like minded fans like Frkyraider which makes my blog very rewarding and fulfilling. Feel free to give me a piece of your mind, your opinions, criticism anytime. I raise my silver and black mug high in the air. Cheers.

9:20 PM  
Blogger frkyraider said...

i have no problems with people givin their opinions and such, but to make blanket statments of our impending doom is where i draw a distinct line in the sand. altho i am an eternal optimist and don't blame people for being the pesimists that they are, i just don't like it. i am a realist too, i'm not leading the charge for kerry collins to remain the starter, and i am glad we are movin on from norv. the things i hate about it is everyone was saying we HAD to fire norv (and i agreed) and before that we had to fire callahan (and i agreed)there were very legit reasons for both firings, and the same people are the ones now saying we don't have any stability and the turn over is too much. sounds like their makin their own stories to me. to me they will always be doom and gloom till our boys pull it off when they will all claim "i was pulling for em all along, just had my doubts." to that i laugh, just like i do when i read their crap right now. it's easy to decipher between the two.

i too bleed the silver and black calico, i wear something every single day that says raiders on it wanting to fly my colors for all to see. have since i was in junoir high and got my first raider hat. i can't tell you how many times i have heard "you've always got something on that says raiders on it" to that i say and you'll never catch me without it either. living here in seattle all my life....well you can imagine all the sh!t i've taken over the years. but i love it and wouldn't change it for the world. loved the raiders before there ever was seahawk and could never change my heart over to the home team. i like the hawks, best thing that ever happened to me was them leaving my division. i've had season tickets handed down to me from my pops which he had since the inseption, until they built the new stadium and psl'ed me. had 50 yard line 18 rows up seats for over two decades and they price me out. i make a fairly meager living and couldn't afford 6 grand for the right to purchace my two little ol tickets. so i said to hell with em. i feel the pain of not owning my seats anymore just like those of you that the same thing happened to you. to me there is no offseason, football runs year round, during the season i live eat sleep drink football. from breakin down friday nights film for 8 hours on saturday to waking up early on sunday to watch pregame shows and games and highlights till i go to bed. then on monday it starts all over for the week, new opponent new stratagy, this i what makes me tick!!!

gotta admit, i'm likin a place to throw out my two cents and have a little raiders convo with like minded peeps. thanks for the venue my raider brother!!! for this i raise my overflowing silver and black mug and clink on yours. cheers to you jack!!

11:08 AM  

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