Tuesday, February 26, 2008

As Alameda Turns

Regardless of whether or not you believe that the Kiffin rumors to be true or false ...

Regardless of whether or not you think good public relations is an important element to a successful business ...

Regardless of whether or not you feel the vacuum of information effects media relations ...

Regardless of whether or not good marketing is vital for increased revenue streams ...

Regardless of whether or not the current uncertainty impacts player relations and the ability to sign top notch FAs and coaches in the future ...

Regardless of whether or not you are disturbed with the dysfunction or think everything is "A OK" ...

Diehard Raider fans deserve better. An anonymous visitor to my site on the previous post had the following comment:

"Al hired Kiffin because of his knowledge of the college prospects but now takes away his input. Someone lied to all of us. the only thing that will straighten Al out is when everyone quits supporting the team. Losing Kiffin will not only hurt getting free-agents but the progress of JaMarcus Russell too. I've been a loyal Raider fan since 1968 and I've had enough."

It doesn't matter if you agree with 100% of this comment. It is a sad fact that this loyal fan of 40 years perception equals his new reality. He is on the verge of drawing a distinct line in the sand primarily due to the dysfunctional aspects of the way the Raiders conduct their business.

Some might insist that this guy is a "Doom & Gloomer" who is off his rocker. My take is that this loyal fan was merely expressing his true feelings. To each his own, right?

Everyone is obviously entitled to their opinions. In my opinion, the current situation is unhealthy, unproductive, and non fan friendly.

Putting your head in the sand and professing that it is business as usual is not using sane judgment especially with the backdrop of a 19 and 61 record the last 5 years.

Each member of the Raider organization has a role to fill. These roles directly impact the 2 most important aspects of the Raiders organization: winning and profitability. Some roles are bigger than others but collectively in the fiercely competitive NFL, EVERYONE needs to be pulling their weight. What the hell is the man in charge of marketing doing? Is the man in charge of public relations on leave? Why is our HC twisting in the wind, Al?

I would argue that the 3 most important men in our organization are Al Davis, Lane Kiffin, and JaMarcus Russell. A triangle of leaders and authority, on and off the field.

Al Davis: Has the final say on personnel, hiring of the HC, and signs the checks. The draft selections & free agency signing the past 5+ years has been spotty at best. He is accountable for the coaching carousel and uninspired choices for HC (Callahan, Turner, Shell). The way that he has handled Kiffin has demonstrated a lack of leadership and decisiveness. The Raiders are in the bottom tier of the league for revenue. Not a pretty picture, huh? All the more reason for Davis to take ownership (no pun intended) of the current situation.

Lane Kiffin: Has gained the support of the Raider Nation and the fans because of his leadership style, gumption, and willingness to stand up to A.D. The Raiders made considerable strides on offense in 2007 and showed a competitive and unified spirit throughout the season. Unfortunately our Alpha Leader has been partially neutered by the rumors of his status. His authority, whether real or perceived, has been diminished. Kiffin's ability to command respect and provide input on key personnel issues would seem to be diminished. His "partnership" with Davis is tenuous at best.

JaMarcus Russell: Our newly minted $60M franchise QB who we will rely on for our future success might be building a new relationship with a new HC. He might be learning a new playbook. A young man starting his career looking down the gun barrel of an organization slip sliding in dysfunction. Continuity and stability at HC greatly shapes a young QB's career. If Kiffin returns for 2008, can Russell block out the soap opera environment of "As Alameda Turns"? Never a dull day in Raiderland.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another well written column Calico Jack. We have a senile old fool running the team and these are without a doubt the darkest times in Raider history. What is really depressing is that we have to live with this as long as Al is running the team, because being the stubborn ass that he is, he will never change. I have accepted the fact that we will be perennial cellar dwellers and the laughingstock of the NFL as long as Al "I am stuck in 1978" Davis is the owner of this team.

9:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very good read Calico Jack. Most die-hard fans would see that 40 year fan as a sellout, a bandwagon rider. But I tend to agree with him. This whole mess has been going on and on since the days of Art Shell part 1. It's not all the stories from the media that get to me, but the common theme that they all have- and that is Al's meddling. I've already made a point to not spend any more money on tickets, Raider gear, or anything else Raider related, until I at least know that Kiffin is still on board. I'll never be a fan of any other team, but I cant stand what Davis is doing to the team that we all live and breathe by. Enough is enough!

6:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great post CJ. I've got the Raiders on my back burner. That includes ticket sales. It's not looking good for attendance this year.


6:34 AM  
Blogger Outburst78 said...

This is my perception of Al Davis and the Raiders. Al Davis runs this team with the intention of satisfying one person: Al Davis. I have come to understand and accept, even respect this fact. Al doesn't seem to do anything to suit anyone besides himself. We, as fans of his team, are merely here to put money in the coffers so that he can continue to do what he feels is necessary to field a winning team. He doesn't care what we think, who we like or dislike, what we want to see happen with the team or anything. I honestly don't think that it would bother him one bit if every Raider fan turned their back on the team and became (shudder) Broncos fans. It would mean that he was still there, building his team, there would be more people for him to prove wrong, and if/when he eventually won the Super Bowl again, he would be on the podium, beaming, walker in one hand, Lombardi trophy in the other. And the only thing that he would say is, "I told you so." That is what he lives for.

I am perfectly fine with the way things are because I know that the only way things will change is when Al is no longer calling the shots, and for that he will have to be unable to run the team. he will not quit, he will not step down, he will not listen to anyone but himself on when it will be time for him to step down. It doesn't matter how many voices rise up and say "Quit, Al! Let someone else run the team!" The more voices there are, the harder his resolve to stay will be. And when no one says anything, or just doesn't care, he will be just fine with that too. I don't think anyone would be able to tempt him away with an overly generous offer to buy the team. The only way he will not be running this team is when he is physically and/or mentally unable or unwilling to do so.

With all of that said, I will be a Raider fan for the rest of my life. I am not happy with the way things are and the current perception of the team, but I know, deep down inside that eventually someone else will be running the team, for better or for worse (how is worse possible? Think Matt Millen...). And I will hopefully be around to see it.

7:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It has been said by players that Lane has lost control of the locker room.
I don't think Al davis is crazy for getting rid of lane,i think Al Davis is crazy for hiring him in the first place.

8:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great Column Calico. Thanks for giving props to the 40 yr fan and not calling him a sellout. I to am a fan of 40+ years and two yrs ago I took down my Raider gear packed it all away telling my wife and kids that what was happening in Oakland was unacceptable and it's my way of showing it. I almost pulled it all back out at the end of this season feeling pretty good about Kiffen and what he was accomplishing, then the rumors started flying, my gear now remains packed away for what is going to be an eternity! Deep down I think we all know since the Raiders have not made any formal statement to dispell the rumors there is a good deal of truth to them. I think Al's plan is either Lane resigns or Lane will be coaching a team in a situation that will be impossible for ANY coach to suceed in making Kiffen look as bad as possible. Al is vengful enough (remember C Woodsen's last two yrs)to keep somebody around and try to screw up their careers and reputation despite the negative effects it has on the team. Al's motto of Just Win Baby goes way beyond the teams record and performance. In this case Al needs to just win his personal battle with Kiffen more so than the team needs to win and in the end all us fans will lose.

tb from MA Fan since 1967

9:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Deja vu!! All the postings and comments look like repeats from prior years!! Has this become the "rites of post-season Raiders?"

You can dig out the postings/comments from last year and the year before and read the same comments and expressions of hope for the coming year!! This is the season of HOPE! There's no use projecting any vision other than HOPING that whatever Al Davis commands will lead to a winning season. Suggestions for success from anyone, including Raider Nation loyalists, are never heard/read nor considered by Al Davis. He is the BOSS and we can only blindly follow him [to the team's eventual failure again!].

9:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well written, Calico Jack. I am a fan of 18 years that is also upset with the current situation. We need Davis to step up and dispel the recent rumors if they are not true. However, all signs point to them being true, otherwise, we wouldn't see Kiff continue to respond with "no comment".

The Raiders have called to renew my tix but I'm holding out.

As fans, we need to make Davis accountable. I've defended the guy for some time now and didn't even waver when Gruden was traded. I've finally had enough.

As far as people calling out us fans that actually go to the games and have been following the team for decades.....I've noticed that some of them are either new fans, young punks, or don't even go to the game. Show some respect! We've been following the team and supporting them for a long time. Don't call me out from Arkansas or 3000 miles away or even from Oakland unless you pay to see the games! It's expensive and I demand more for my money. No, I don't need wins to keep me in the seats - I need continuity, progress, and an organization that is run in a sane manner.

9:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Al Davis is off is rocker. No one wants to coach the raiders. He has no choice but to go out and get young talent to be our HC. If I knew Al Davis wouldn't sue me, i'd put up my own website promoting the idea that Al step aside for the good of the raider nation.

9:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes you are right. Tough times for long time fans that are paying thousands of dollars for game day experience. I have been fan since 1966 ans its tough to lose hope. record and questionable decisions by organization nnd non support of coaches are hard to follow. What happens is we start rooting from afar muxh like LA days.
I wish the organization would start to show Kiffin is in control of planning, execution or give us someone that will be here for 5 years. Lease runs out soon - remember history repeats itself with this organization.

11:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Most die-hard fans who think this guy is a sellout have already drank the kool-aid.I have been a Raider fan since 69(I was 5) and I have seen some of the dumbest moves most at the hands of Al davis.Davis' control has caused this team to be missing one thing within the organization and that is consistancy both on the field and off.This latest suppossed "scrap" with Kiffin for me will be the last straw and I will cease to follow the team if Kiffin is forced to resign or be fired.Davis is a senile old man whose ego has ruined the team and it's chemistry.

2:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been a fan since the Super Bowl win over the Eagles and I have never seen it this bad before. Davis needs to RETIRE!!! The game of football has long passed him by. I will continue to watch the Raiders on TV every season, but I will not spend any more money on game tickets or Raider merchandise until we are under new ownership. This team is in the gutter.

3:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Get Davis out of there! For the love of God, he is running his own team, his very own creation and his pride and joy, straight into the ground, and he is too damn stubborn to see it.

4:49 PM  
Anonymous Rajiv George Titus said...

I am really upset that everytime free agency comes around or offseason comes around, we are talking about AL messin up rather than free agents that can help us. This guy is killing this team. I am tired or hearing him say the words "commitment to excellence". I am really sorry to say this but till this old fool leaves this team alone - i dont mean just step down, just walk away from the team, we are never going to win. I am going to stop being Raide rFan till AL kicks the bucket.....

5:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Raiders will never have another winning season as long as Al Davis is the owner. You heard it here first.

6:30 PM  
Anonymous Hutch said...

Yes, I am tired of it all too. Guess we like being the worst team in the NFL over the last 4 year.

8:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Finally the true cancer to the team is gone.
Bye bye Jerry!

1:46 AM  
Anonymous anon said...

the true cancer porter? no the true cancer is that old guy in the front office!

5:24 PM  
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10:37 PM  

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