Listen to Sports Interactive from noon until 2:00 every day and eventually I’ll say something I shouldn’t. I’ll call a guy by the wrong name, mispronounce a word and scramble up the verbs and nouns like they’re breakfast.
So when Raiders owner Al Davis called Cam Newton…Kim Newton, or refered to Stanford coach David Shaw as David Harris, Lane Kiffin as Lance Kiffin, cited Sam Bradford’s non-existent playoff run and suggested there are 34 teams in the NFL, I could relate.
I’ve been there. Maybe not all at once like Al did it, but I’m a professional talker. I get it.
But after Davis’ presser the other day I’m convinced more than ever….it’s time for Al to go.
Forget how it looked and sounded and take it for what it is. For a seven year stretch (‘03-‘09), the average Raiders record was 4-12. An average of 12 losses per year for seven straight years. If I were a Raiders fan I’d literally be begging for anything to come along and remove Davis from power.
Now wait I minute, I can hear you say in my head, there is no short supply of clueless incompetent NFL owners. All sorts of guys frequently steer their billion dollar yacht into the rocks every year then laugh while the fans patch the holes. What specifically has Al done to deserve this hypothetical coup de tat? Why is he different? He’s not. But his franchise is.
Once, not that long ago, the Raiders were one of the strongest most recognizable brands in the NFL. Imagine the potential if you could reawaken that slumbering fan base. The NFL clearly isn’t going hungry but it must keep Roger Goodell awake at night to realize the impact a relevant Raiders franchise could have on his product.
Major League Baseball doesn’t need the Cubs to be good. The NBA doesn’t need the Knicks to be good. But it sure helps when they are. The Raiders are that kind of franchise to the NFL. But it goes beyond that.
One of the most important pillars of being a fan is trust in ownership. Right up there with oxygen, hot dogs and beer. If you don’t have that trust it is next to impossible to build upward from there. Just ask Robert Sarver. Replacing an icon isn’t easy.
Better yet, look at our own NFL team. For years – decades really – Cardinals fans simply didn’t trust Bill Bidwill, and rightfully so. It’s much better now due to the stadium, the Super Bowl, Warner and Whiz. But also, in part, to Michael Bidwill. I think most (not all but most) fans sense that the effort is there. That he wants to hire the right people who will try to do the right thing.
Ask a Raider fan if they feel the same way about their team.