The Oakland Raiders have spent the past decade in futility. Like any car accident, there are those involved, those who witness and plenty of opinions. Over the passed 2 Dennis Allen years I've continually heard "Cleaning up after Al Davis"
Its a popular belief. Some of it warranted. Al Davis spent his career making enemies from the media, fellow owners, players and fans. But close friends who are respected coaches talk about his football knowledge. Bill Parcels was befriended by him before he became the legendary coach and John Gruden still considered one of the brightest football minds talks about even at 80 years of age Al was still great at X's and O's. I'm here to defend a person who can no longer defend himself with facts.
3 reasons you can't blame Al.
1. Life after a successful run from 1999-2003 when Raiders were competing for Championships.
Losing to "the tuck", The Ravens
"D" that some consider the best ever and the Curse of Gruden Super Bowl
. The only problem with that team was that they were old! Heres a list of the starters from that team that either Retired or left the team within 2 yrs of that Super bowl. Rich Gannon, Charlie Garner, Tyrone Wheatly, Tim Brown, Jerry Rice, Lincoln Kennedy, Barret Robbins, Mo Collins, Sam Adams, Bill Romanowski, Napolean Harris, Charles Woodsen and Rod Woodson.
From 2003 on, this was not a rebuilding period this was equivalent to a new franchise. Al wasn't merely replacing people like a patch job, it was a complete overhaul. Thus the 2003-2009 years.
2. Bad Draft picks. Drafting only for speed.
Watch the Jamarcus Russell espn draft day coverage on YouTube. All the espn experts had him as the #1 Quarterback. Jamarcus just didn't fool Al, he fooled everyone. If Al was an idiot for drafting him so are all the experts!
Darius Heyward-bey stats since draft 2400 yds, 12 tds, Michael Crabtree
3345 yds, 21 tds (Crabtree has been better, but is it staggering?) By the way, The Colts
liked him so much they signed Hey-bey for 3 million a year as a free agent. Other speed receivers he drafted during the same period Jacoby Ford
, Denarius Moore
, Louis Murphy. Not too shabby. How about Running backs? Darren Mcfadden is still considered a top back when he's healthy. Al couldn't predict he'd get hurt so often. But Al drafted a high risk pick Michael Bush
who ended up being an outstanding back up. For the record Al Davis fired Jamarcus Russell it wasnt the new regime.
Also, he picked up Terrelle Pryor
as his last draft pick. Bad contracts? Bush, Moore and Pryor made 800k combined in the 1st yr of their contracts.
3. After 7 straight seasons of 10 losses or more from 2003-2009 Al finally had the Raiders winning again
. 7 years is a long time, but lets put it in prospective. The Dallas Cowboys
and the 49ers
haven't been relevant since the early 90's (besides 49ers latest run with Harbaugh). Those storied franchises went through 15 yrs of futility. So before passing away Al left us with two 8-8 seasons
. Now that is not stunning by any means, but it was a time of promise. He brought in a young, great offensive mind in Hue Jackson. The 2011 Raiders would have won at least 10 games minus the injuries of Mcfadden, Ford and Moore during the last 6 games of that season. Look at the 49ers under Singletary he led the 49ers to an 8-8 season and 2 years later under Harbaugh they were competing for championships.
Harbaugh built off the 8-8 season. Why did the Raiders dismantle the back to back 8-8 team? Why not build off it like Harbaugh?
Al didn't cause the new team to have only 4 wins in 2 years.
You may not agree with me, but at least you now have all the facts.
Sure it comes from the heart of someone who bleeds Silver and Black. Someone who cried when Al Davis passed away. Who's four young children gather with him and cheer for the Raiders Win or Lose. Al Davis was an innovator, a legendary figure, and a brilliant mind. To say the Raiders are better without him is ignorant and just plain irresponsible especially from the media. All he ever wanted was for the Raiders to win. He made bad picks, but he also made good ones. In free agency always went after the best. A few names like Plunkett, Gannon, Moss, Sapp, Seymour, Rice, Gault, and Romanowski in free agency. Drafted Marcus Allen, Bo Jackson, Charles Woodson
, Nnamdi Asomugha
, Sebastian Janikowski
a list of Hall of Famers and future Hall of famers. He left the team with two 8-8 seasons and then Passed away. To say he's responsible for Mckenzie and Allen's two 4-12 seasons isn't fair. Al left them decent hand. If this was 5 card draw and Al gave them an Ace and a pair of 8's. Mckenzie and Allen kept the Ace and threw the other 4 cards in. The draw came in and its a pair of 4's.