Woe Raider Nation

2002 was the year the Raiders returned to the Superbowl.  It was bad luck and perhaps a sign of things to come that the coach on the other side of the field was the man who had put together the team.  Jon Gruden brought Tampa Bay its only Superbowl title after bolting the Raiders the previous year.  Even without Gruden, the team had been good enough to get that far.  Since then, not so much.

The Oakland Raiders have been in existence since 1960.  25% of all the Raiders losses have come in the 6 season since that Superbowl loss.  Incredibly, they have lost 72 games in 6 seasons.  They don't appear to have hit bottom yet.    They have lost 4 of 5 this year, and their schedule suggests another win won't come anytime soon (after games against the Eagles, Jets and Chargers, they might have to wait for the only team they've beaten--the Chiefs--to get a second).  Their offensive production is putting all-time records in danger.  In points, yards gained, yards passed, and yards rushed, they are ranked 28th, 32nd, 32nd, and 31st respectively.  They are 31st in the league against the run, 31st covering kick-offs and last returning them.  If you remove the first game of the season, a 24-20 home loss to the Chargers, they have scored 29 points, gained 600 yards and are averaging 80 yards per game passing.

They have had three consecutive first round picks that have... ahem... not panned out.  In addition to the woeful performance so far this season, the 2007 number-one-overall draft pic, quarterback Jamarcus Russell has been fined for being overweight.  Their first round pick from last year, Darius Heyward-Bey has 2 catches on the season for 36 yards.  Their first round pick from 2008, Darren McFadden is currently out for at least a month and has managed to rush for 600 yards in 17 career games.

As if they are engaged in a UC Berkley project to test the limits of Murphy's law, Things off-the-field are also unravelling.

The now-former defensive assistant coach Randy Hanson was hired in January by Raiders' Owner Al Davis before he promoted Tom Cable to his current position of head coach.  Cable apparently did not want him there but couldn't fire him because of his relationship with Davis.  This culminated in August in a violent attack that left Hanson with a broken jaw and Cable facing possible charges in Napa valley.  Hanson has now cooperated with police and two other assistants have apparently corroborated his account.  Cable could be suspended if he's convicted of assault.  Considering the torture that coaching this team might be, the league would be doing him a favor if they did. 

There is a good chance that he will be fired by Davis for the attack and/or his team's performance.  If so, his replacement would be Oakland's 6th coach since 2004.  Davis deserves credit for the great things he accomplished as a coach and executive of the Raiders.  He was also commissioner of the AFL and his stewardship contributed greatly to the subsequent merger with the NFL (ironically, he opposed the merger and resigned rather than participate in it).  He gave the world John Madden and Bill Walsh.  Only 3 teams have won more Super bowls than his Raiders have.  His legacy is in danger of being eclipsed by the recent past.

Raiders fans appear to be doomed to their lot for the time being.  Sadly, there is no good news to report.  Someday, perhaps, they will return to their prior "commitment to excellence"(trademark owned by Davis) and will find their way back from the land of the lost where they play today.  Until then, Joe Hubris recommends this link.

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