Monday, February 25, 2008

A Definitive Statement, Please.

At the end of the 2007 season, there were many rumors about Al Davis playing a childish game of chicken with Head Coach Lane Kiffin. The rumor implied that Davis had drafted a resignation letter for Kiffin to sign. Kiffin allegedly refused to sign the resignation letter and was in effect saying to Al "Fire me". Of course if this rumor is/was true, the cat and mouse game continues.

Why does it continue? Why is the media continuing to run this story? The chief reasons, in my mind, are that either the Raider organization enjoys wallowing in dysfunction or the organization simply doesn't understand the importance of making a definitive and declarative statement about Kiffin's status. Just as the rumors started to die down during the Senior Bowl, they began to fly again during the combine. This is what well respected Oakland Tribune beat writer Jerry McDonald said:

"After speaking with a number of people both in and out of the organization over the past few days here, Kiffin is no lock to be the Raiders coach when the season begins.

Those who side with Kiffin believe he has been stripped of his authority and that Davis is attempting to get him toresign. Either Davis' words about Kiffin's acumen with regard to personnel a year ago was just a lot of press conference bull, or Davis changed his mind. As things stand now Kiffin isn't expected to have much input into choosing the 53 men he is supposed to coach. It is a temporary punishment or something more permanent? Only Davis knows for sure."

As the uncertainty and doubt again takes hold, here are a few questions to ponder ...

1. Does the Raiders organization truly value their loyal customers?
The wave of negative press over the past 2 months and "lame duck" status of Kiffin is giving pause to some of the most loyal, core fans from renewing their season tickets.

2. How important to the Raider organization is the function of media relations?
Part of a good marketing campaign would be to use an effective communications strategy that informs the customer base and when necessary, refutes negative stories (ie. rumors). The constant barrage of bad press leads to the perception that the Raiders are a very poorly run business. We all know that the product on the field (19-61) the last 5 years has not met the expectations of the customer. The customer is also savvy enough to realize that stability at Head Coach is critical to improve the product on the field yet our HC is dangling in the wind.

3. Is it asking too much for Al Davis and Lane Kiffin to hold a joint brief press conference to set the record straight?
If in fact Lane Kiffin is the HC for 2008, a definitive and declarative statement would do wonders to ease the minds of fans and active players. It would give potential free agents one less reason to scratch the Raiders off their list of viable destinations. The silence from the organization on Kiffin's status is feeding fresh meat to the media hyenas.

4. Can the relationship between Kiffin and Davis be salvaged?
Has Kiffin's authority been stripped to the point where he will no longer command the respect of the 53 men he leads? Does Kiffin no longer have any input in terms of the selection of draftees and the signing of free agents?

Normally during the offseason I'm full of optimism as I immerse myself in the draft and free agency. The rumors involving Kiffin have felt like a splinter in my brain. It feels like a ship being loaded up with all the passengers with the Captain sitting idly on the dock. As mentioned in point #3, a direct affirmation of Kiffin's status would be the equivalent of the Raiders organization giving the Raider Nation a friendly pat on the head and letting them know that "Everything is going to be all right. We are moving forward in 2008 with our leader Lane Kiffin at the helm." Davis has 2 distinct choices. Either give Kiffin his full, undivided support and endorsement for 2008 or cut bait immediately. Dragging this uncertainty and dysfunction around further will impede the team's success in 2008 and beyond.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been a loyal Raider Fan for well over 25 years. I’m sick of Davis. Not only am i not renewing my season tickets, but if we lose Kiffen and if he isn't given the reigns like other head coaches in the NFL, I’m jumping ship permanently.

5:58 AM  
Blogger Tim Mo said...

Yeah, wouldn't that be nice if the Raiders addressed ANY of the questions you brought up? But they won't. That's not how they do things. And they are losing a great deal of respect in the process.

8:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great take Calico. I'm in 100% agreement. I'm still holding out hope of things turning around, however I must admit that hope is fading daily.

Tony (Phoenix)

9:23 AM  
Anonymous scorpio said...

how come normal people are in your blog calico? :o)

the questions you bring up are EXACTLY what i've been driving at. just a few words from davis AND kiffin would calm everyone down, especially me. the words i type are driven by emotion. i have a lot of pent-up anger pointing towards davis as you could probably tell. but as tim mo says, they won't because that's not the davis operates.

so we have to deal with this ongoing soap opera!

10:14 AM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

Excellent points, Calico Jack.

To say that fans (customers) shouldn't be affected by any of this is simply an opinion and an exercise in wishful thinking.

The fact that many fans ARE affected by this is an undeniable reality, one that impacts revenue and, ultimately, the team's viability in Oakland.

Good business is a function of reality, not opinion or wishful thinking. It's time for reality to be addressed.

10:56 AM  
Anonymous SR Raider said...

Right on target Calico. This has been one of the roughest off seasons of memory, despite the fact that we showed improvement last year and have a lot of good young players.

I have been to practically every home game since they came back to Oakland, but I don't know if I want to be part of this mess any more. If they don't win this year I may be out.

And for the record, the PR manager needs to be fired. This is the worst management of a situation I've ever seen. They must really despise their fan base.

10:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Al Davis is no fool; he's quite savy..His actions of silence and stonewalling the media and fans are intended to maintain his "mystic" as a super-guru of NFL football, particularly Raider Nation. In spite of all the controversy [mentioned above] Raider Nation continues their loyal support of Al Davis....So why should Al Davis change his style of media-relations now?

Al enjoys all this controversy and loyal supporters will question his behavior but remain loyal [like the lambs]......

11:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Al hired Kiffin because of his knowlege 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. Loaing Kiffin will not only hurt getting free-agents but the progress of Jamarcus Russell too. I'v e been a loyal Raider fan since 1968 and I've had enough.

2:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great post Calico. I, for one, am sick of the way the Raiders operate. I have been a fan since the early 80's and have never seen it this bad in Raiderland. Unfortunately it is going to be this way until Al Davis is no longer with us. Al is so senile and I don't think he gives a rat's ass about the Raider Nation any longer. All he is concerned with is showing everyone how much control he has and how he is in charge. I was planning on flying out to Oakland this year (finally!) and taking in my first ever Raiders home game, but with all this crap going on, I think I will instead choose to spend my money on a Vegas vacation. Why line the pockets of the senile old fool who has concocted this mess?

4:53 PM  
Anonymous scorpio said...

calico, these are SENSIBLE and NORMAL fans who are making VERY SENSIBLE points. it's all on AL. i am so happy that normal people are finally starting to see where the problem lies - at the top with Al.

bama - get in here! :o)

5:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great post Calico.

I've been a huge fan since 1968. Season tickets, tons of gear and every meaningful win on video since 1979.
But, this last 5 years is beyond belief. If Davis fires or neuters Kiffin, I've had it.
All great organizations start at the top - and the Raiders are no different.
The Raiders two most successful runs occurred when, first Ron Wolfe was on board and lastly, when Bruce Allen was with the team.
The Raiders nosedived each time either of those two departed (twice for Wolfe and once for Allen). And haven't been close to being competitive since.

So, I'm hopful - but not too optimistic and the '08 Raiders.

1:39 PM  
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