It has been reported all week, and now it’s official. The Raiders have elected to part ways with Tom Cable. The move would have made more sense if it was made over a year ago, especially after allegations that the coach punched an assistant during training camp four weeks before the 2009 regular season began. But consider these numbers…
Four. Five. Four. Two. Four. Five. Five. Eight.
Those are the number of wins for the Oakland Raiders spanning from 2003-10, after their Super Bowl appearance in 2002. That’s right, 29 wins in seven years, and then a 2010 record of 8-8. This year’s showing would be considered mediocre by traditional standards, but it’s a great improvement from what the Raider Nation has been subject to in the years previous. Throw in that the Raiders went undefeated in their division this year and you’re left to ask yourself…
…why fire Cable now?
We live in an NFL that keeps coaches with a 37-43 record after five seasons and no playoff appearances (Gary Kubiak in Houston). This NFL keeps coaches who have two playoff appearances in eight years, who fail to lead their team to the postseason for three consecutive years (Jack Del Rio in Jacksonville). This NFL keeps around the kind of guys that have a history of experiencing a collapse in the second half of the season (Tom Coughlin in New York).
Cable worked with two sub-par quarterbacks this season in Jason Campbell and Bruce Gradkowski and crapped out the most wins this team has had in eight years. He was establishing a positive relationship with his players, to the point that punter Shane Lechler voiced his disapproval in an interview with Comcast Sportsnet Bay Area.
Lechler said he has tried to call Al Davis and other Raiders executives, but that he has had no luck getting through. “I just want to know what the hell’s going on,” Lechler said. “I just want to know . . . how do you justify firing somebody when you just went 6-0 in the division and 8-8 in the season after we put in so much as a group, as a unit, as a team with our leader being Tom Cable, how do you just go ahead and whack this guy with, I mean, no reason?”
Lechler also doubted that a number of free agents that would be willing to return to the team now may go elsewhere. He included Robert Gallery and Michael Bush as examples.
The lines of communication are clearly suffering in Oakland. The chain of command is broken and it’s been clear for years that team owner Al Davis is no longer equipped to handle to day-to-day with his team. He’s literally 81 years old, he’s making bad decisions, and unfortunately, no one can do anything about it. Remember that this is the same guy who fired Jon Gruden after the 2001 season, and then this happened the very next year.
It’s pretty much the same story in Dallas with Jerry Jones (68 years old), which may suggest the theory that as these guys get older, they become increasingly out of touch with the sport they love. In the case of “America’s Team”, they have only two playoff wins in fifteen years.
Keep going? Sure!
Bob McNair elected to keep Kubiak after five seasons of futility. He is 73 years old. Wayne Weaver met with Jack Del Rio after three seasons of watching football in January (and not playing). He kept him. He’ll turn 76 a week from tomorrow.
I understand that these guys own the team, they can do whatever the hell they want. But if they really want to win, they should recognize where their place is within their own organization. There are some great football minds out there who can do a much better job handling the team than these folks can. Not every owner is involved in football operations, but these four guys are, and the fact that all of these events are happening at the same time might not be the coincidence that it could seem to be.
But I suppose it could have nothing to do with age.
I mean, there’s always Dan Snyder.