In the next few hours to days, either Jim Harbaugh or Bill Cowher will arrive at the Oakland Raiders HQ in an angel-drawn, gilded chariot of light. You heard it here first. No, I don’t have scoops and I don’t have sources. What I do have are solid, unshakeable delusions based on the following:
Yesterday, Tom Cable gave an interview on NFL Sirius Radio talking about how much he wanted to remain head coach of the Oakland Raiders. He probably assumed another 10 or 12 days would pass before he received final word on the matter, but three minutes later, the Raiders released a statement informing the world that he was former coach Tom Cable. This move prompted a collective “WTF?” outburst from the whole of Raider Nation. You could probably hear whisper of it in the breeze.
Just so we’re clear, I’m not one of those fools who thinks Tom Cable is a saviour done wrong. After replacing Doogie Kiffin, he bungled the quarterback situation, made a variety of personnel errors, went 17 – 27, and didn’t reach the playoffs in a year where my company cricket team had a shot. He reached his ceiling. No one is going to the Super Bowl with this guy leading the charge.
But after seven years of tribulation in the dungeon that sits beneath the NFL’s moldy basement, the Silver & Black finished 8-8 and swept the AFC West. In fact, we scored 410 points this season (more than double the 197 of 2009), and finished second in the NFL in rushing, sixth in scoring, and 10th in average yards per game. If 2010 doesn’t count as a canyon-sized leap in the right direction, I don’t know what does.
So if you’re Al, and you’re releasing a coach who helped guide your team around the proverbial corner, shouldn’t you have a glory-restoring messiah waiting in the wings? Punting the 8-8 staff for a new, unproven one that will go 9-7 doesn’t make much sense to me.
Then again, messianic options Bill Cowher and Jim Harbaugh don’t make much sense to me either. They’re both ideal, but can you see either of them working in Oakland?
Bill Cowher would put up with Al’s meddling for about seven minutes before resigning or using his chin as a weapon in a crime of passion. Harbaugh, on the other hand, rejected our overtures not 12 months ago. A lot has changed since then but Davis’s reputation as a miserly slave driver has not. Why be one of the crypt keeper’s indentured servants when you can go across the Bay and print money while helping Jed York rebuild a once proud franchise? It’s like choosing to be the supervisor at the local tomato farm when the one down the street wants to give you the keys to their ketchup kingdom. Harbaugh’s not that stupid.
This leaves us with offensive coordinator Hue Jackson, who isn’t a messiah but could be a demigod in disguise. He was instrumental in turning around our impotent offense this season, and is regarded as a rising star in the NFL. I’ll take him instead of Cable, but if anyone else is on a podium with Al Davis in the next few days, I’m forming my brute squad, traveling to California, and laying waste.
For nearly eight years, Oakland was a black hole (no pun intended) for NFL talent, and now – after solid drafts and reasonable moves in free agency – we’re just a few players away from being a perennial playoff team. Other fans may be willing to sit on the sidelines with their Pollyanna delusions but not me. If Al Davis cocks up this coaching search, something will have to change. We’ll have to get a break, and if a little case of the murders is what it takes, so be it.