Raiders Season on the Line Thanks to Davis

After an embarrassing loss in last years Super Bowl, four road losses in 2003 and two three-point victories at home over the Bengals and Chargers, the Raiders enter a new chapter in their history; one that might not include Al Davis.

With a new lawsuit against Raiders Managing General Partner Al Davis, the Raiders play on the field is looking like their play off the field. The family of Raiders' co-founder, the late E.W. McGah is positioning themselves to try and ouster Davis who has ruled the Raiders since 1966.

After winning a lawsuit against the city of Oakland over Alameda Stadium for $34.2 million, Davis is high on the hog again and the family of McGah is upset. In their minds they own the Raiders, they take exception to the credit and are disturbed by the negative attention Davis brings to McGah family. It was in fact them who gave Davis his power, a power they regret handing over to the Silver and Black pitchman.

Davis has always been in control. He at one point called the plays, made all the player moves and lambasted coaches in private sessions. He routinely humiliated and alienated anyone who has helped him along the way. That was his style.

The Raiders of 2003 can relate. They had been the toast of the football world the last three years. They had taken over the reigns of the AFC West from Denver and Kansas City and were poised to continue their legacy as a football dynasty.

In the 2000 season the Raiders made the post season for the first time in nearly a decade. Gruden had bucked the annoyance of Davis and took control over the team. He guided them back to respectability as a football team. In deed they were becoming a great team. They once again were feared based on their play on the field.

But in 2001 they lost a questionable playoff game on the road in New England in what would be Jon Gruden's last game as Raiders head coach. Davis began to take too much credit for the success of Gruden and rumors of more fights with the city of Oakland took their toll on Gruden who asked to be let out of his contract to take the Tampa Bay Buccaneers job. Davis agreed but not until Tampa Bay sent over cash and draft picks.

In 2002, the Raiders were awesome their first four game of the season. They ran over everyone and looked invincible. Then as great as they played, they lost four in a row including a road game in Kansas City. The Raiders regrouped finishing the season 7-1 and making it to the Super Bowl under new head coach Bill Callahan. But they were embarrassed in the Super Bowl by Tampa Bay and Gruden appeared to get the last laugh.

The Raiders entered this season with major turmoil. In the off-season the team was nearly $60 million over the league mandated salary cap. They were unable to sign any major free agent acquisitions and were relying on an aging quarterback, two wide receivers and a plethora of former NFL greats on defense.

This was nothing knew for the Raiders but Tampa Bay exposed Oakland. Now the rest of the league new this team was older and slower. They no longer were intimidated or feared.

During training camp, anger management flunky Bill Romanowski broke the eye socket of fellow teammate Marcus Williams during a routine practice. Romanowski later apologized and Williams was out indefinitely. Just last week, Williams filed a lawsuit against Romanowski. The Raiders linebacker has hinted at retirement based on dizziness caused by a concussion this year, but the fact is that some teammates don't want him around.

After the Raiders lost their opening game at Tennessee, they followed that up with a fortunate win at home against the Cincinnati Bengals. After their fortunate win at home, most embarrassing 2003 moment to date on Monday Night football against the Broncos in Denver.

Raiders quarterback did his best to destroy what little chemistry the Raiders still had. He yelled at his coaching staff, his players and the 2002 NFL MVP was crying like a baby in front of the nation.

After their second road loss of the season, the Raiders played host to the hapless San Diego Chargers and thanks to the inept coaching of Marty Schottenheimer, the Raiders won in overtime after trailing by 14 points with less than six minutes to go.

But the true definition of the 2003 Raiders became apparent after consecutive road losses to a winless Chicago Bears team and then a struggling Cleveland Browns team that could muster no offense.

The Raiders have been lethargic on the field because the team chemistry is still in a test tube. Gannon wants to run the team but Callahan is the head coach. Veterans like Rice and safety Rod Woodson have spoken out but it has done little to restore the Raiders lore of the past three years.

Callahan has been hampered by injuries but he's on the hot seat and that brings us back to Al Davis.

The man who refused to clap for Hank Stram at his hall of fame induction is once again bringing this once proud franchise down to the lowest of lows.

The teams shattered salary cap, lawsuits against the City of Oakland that welcomed him back with open arms and a deflating Super Bowl loss, Davis has brought all this on himself.

Nobody feels sorry for Davis. He's spent more time suing cities, stealing money from them, remember Irwindale California. He took a $10 million non-refundable payment from city officials who failed to raise enough money to build a new stadium for Davis when he was in Los Angeles.

Now he's being sued by the family who originally owned the Raiders because they have no idea of the value of the franchise nor have they seen any of the books. They want to hold Davis accountable for every penny spent.

It's obvious that he's not spent the money on the field. The Alameda County sports commission has poured millions of dollars into the pockets of Davis but still the Raiders do little to even attempt to sell out their own stadium week after week.

In fact, Monday Nights game is not even a sellout. That's the fault of Davis. Even bad teams in Cincinnati, Detroit and Houston sell every seat in the house.

As the Raiders face an elimination game against the Chiefs, Davis has to feel fortunate that he's still commanding the Raiders pirate ship.

It seems to me that very few people in Oakland and certainly the NFL have any respect for Davis. The players and coaches after their probable loss against the Chiefs, the entire McGah family should simply push him off the plank and regain the franchise.

Forget the lawsuits. Why put money in the hands of greedy lawyers. If this were the old Las Vegas, Davis would have been removed a long time ago. But it's not even though we still have many good ole boy owners. It's the NFL where laws govern the best of all professional sports.

It's a league that eventually accepts change and moves forward. But for Davis, he's unable to accept anything that he can't control by his ego or pocket book.

Monday Night's NFL game might indeed be the last of the great Raiders teams. They are going to be overhauled this off-season and with salary cap hits might resemble the San Diego Chargers or Cincinnati Bengals for the next couple of years.

Well after further review! They look that bad already.


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