Gannon-Raiders Feud Shows that Winning isn’t the End-Game in Oakland (still)
As a Royals fan, I can promise you that consecutive losing seasons are completely tolerable as long as the organization continues to operate in a professional manner, while doing what it can to improve itself. For so many years, this is exactly what the Oakland Raiders were, in and out of the regular season. The Raider Mystique was one of the few sports intangibles that had real-world application. Al Davis created a brand that sold itself to the nation.
But these Raiders, though improving, have no mystique anymore. Six consecutive losing seasons have drained what pride the Raiders might have had left after Super Bowl XXXVII. And, so it’s a story about the primary player for the Raiders in that game that suggests that the Raiders still do not get it, and perhaps never will.
The Raiders have barred CBS broadcaster and former MVP and Raiders quarterback Rich Gannon from their facility. Or at least they tried to, until they found out that such a ban is explicitly impermissible by NFL policy.
Money quote, courtesy of Davis-lackey John Herrera.
As to the Raiders’ reasoning, Herrera pointed to Gannon saying the organization “should just blow up the building and start over.”Herrera is apparently more sensitive than his incredibly confrontational history with at least one reporter suggests.
“We think in a post 9/11 world, that’s not a very proper thing to say,” Herrera said. “It’s uncalled for. [Gannon] seems to be a guy who can’t get over the fact that he played the worst Super Bowl game in the history of the game and he wants to blame everybody but himself.”
Where do you start with this guy? Well, first of all, any organization that isn’t a complete circus would dismiss him from the organization immediately. There’s a lot of misunderstandings and misinformation in the sports world that paints people to look a lot dumber than they really are, but it’s really hard to take what Herrera said out of context. The man is an idiot, and this isn’t the first time he has proven it.
Secondly, I disagree that this came directly from the top. The ban? Probably. It’s safe to say that Al Davis and Rich Gannon aren’t on great terms. It’s probably not as ugly as the Marcus Allen situation, but hating certain former players is part of his charm. But the mishandling of the situation probably isn’t coming from the top. Davis may be a bit sophomoric in his ways, but this is as much about Herrera as it is Davis.
Thirdly, has Gannon actually been critical of the organization? Not really. He’s a good analyst and he put into words what we’re all seeing about current Raiders passer JaMarcus Russell, and it’s not like members of the coaching staff aren’t being equally candid. Gannon has praised the Raiders organization when it has been relevant, and he’s criticized them when that has been relevant. Like, you know, a member of the media. He’s just a bit closer to the situation than most.
There’s something to be said for the Raiders wanting to be different, but their insistence of undying loyalty to an organization that consistently wins nothing year in and year out suggests that it’s management is becoming increasingly thin-skinned and frustrated with their inability to improve. And like most bad organizations, the Raiders have made a complete mockery of their history and principles, all while ignoring the fact that perhaps if they took some outside advice, they might not have the worst quarterback situation in the NFL.
But if Herrera wants it to be his way or the highway, I say we oblige him. Let’s take the four years where Rich Gannon started all 16 games for the Raiders, and let’s throw them out. After all, that was an embarrassing period in Raiders history, complete with a super bowl meltdown. Now, you have an organization that hasn’t had a winning season since 1994. 16 seasons of Gannon-neutral ineptitude.
Commitment to excellence, boys.