I've had enough of the Oakland Raiders. I just can't stand it anymore.
I grew up as a journalist covering the team while I worked in the East Bay, and was impressed by the consistency of the franchise. Year in and year out you could count on the Silver & Black to put up nine or 10 wins and reach the playoffs.
Hey, they even won a few Super Bowls. Those days appear to be long gone. The Raiders are so far away from being a playoff team it's not even funny.
The Raiders fired Art Shell on Friday. Shell, one of the greatest players in NFL history, guided the Raiders to a 2-14 record this season and was promptly shown the door with a year left on his contract.
It's the second time that Al Davis has fired him, and both times they have been mistakes.
Shell was well above a .500 coach when Davis let him go the first time, and Shell knocked around the NFL as a line coach for a couple of different teams.
Davis brought him back for another chance. Some chance. No coach, not even Davis in his prime, could get the Raiders back to their winning ways. Shell deserved another couple of years.
My only fault with Shell was the team's offense.
Writers who covered the team said it lacked imagination, and I would agree after watching the team play three or four times on television. If I'm Shell, I try to find the brightest offensive mind out there and give him the freedom he needs to produce. Though who knows if that would have met with Davis' approval.
Plus it doesn't help when two recievers - Randy Moss and Jerry Porter - are complete idiots. If Moss is capable of being a captain of anything, I can beat Nick Fazekas in a game of 1-on-1, and we know that's impossible. I blame Davis for going after Moss. It was like a car wreck waiting to happen. I would have let him rot in Minnesota. The guy is a cancer. He's just as bad as T.O., and you know how much I hate him.
I blame Davis for signing Aaron Brooks to quarterback the team. The guy was a loser most of his career in New Orleans. Was he going to change all of a sudden in Oakland? Did Davis go after Drew Brees? Why not draft Matt Leinart?
I'd take Leinart as a rookie over Brooks and Andrew Walter anyday. Leinart had a solid rookie season. Maybe he lacks the mobility of a Vince Young, but he can run when he needs to, and he's certainly more accurate.
The buck has to stop with Davis. He needs to look in the mirror and ask himself if he's giving his head coach the best chance to win, and is he letting his head coach run the team like he sees fit.
I know it's Davis' team because he shels out the bucks, but why do you think everybody turned him down (Louisville's Bobby Petrino included) for the job?
It's because a head coach wants to shape a team by himself; wants to decide what kind of offense or defense to run. The job is hard enough to do, but when you have owners who like to meddle (Davis, Dallas' Jerry Jones), it makes the job that much tougher.
Davis' only job in my mind is to acquire players to help the franchise win, and I don't think the Raiders' draft picks in recent years have done very well. Some have been injured early in their careers and others just haven't performed up to expectations.
Let's face it, the only great coach the Raiders have ever had was John Madden, who quit at an early age. Madden was a treat. He could talk your ear off.
I covered the team at the tail end of Madden's career, and I really don't know what kind of relationship he had with Davis. Madden won so much there probably wasn't much Davis could say.
Tom Flores won two Super Bowls as the Raiders' head coach, and I certainly liked the man. I would consider him above average. He had control of the locker room and the respect of the players.
Honestly, Jon Gruden might be the second-best head coach in Oakland history, and I think he got tired of the Davis influence. He got run out, and I happen to think he was the best thing to happen to that team since Madden.
Gruden had energy and charisma. Heck what other coach would high five the fans like Gruden did? The Black Hole loved Gruden.
Bill Callahan was a mistake. Some people are cut out to be head coaches in the NFL and some should stay assistants. Callahan falls in the latter category. He is where he belongs - in the college game - where he gets instant respect from a younger group of players.
I'm sad to see Shell go. The Raiders, according to reports, want him to stay with the organization. Why? So he can get kicked to the curb a third time?
The coach shouldn't always be the fall guy. Let's face it, the Raiders had a horrible offensive line because of injuries, and no quarterback. That's a recipe for disaster. Shell's hands were tied.
Maybe the owner should fire himself.