Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Raiders Need a Bailout

By Rick Richardson

With the organization mired in what has become the football equivalent of “The Great Depression”, the Raiders need some direction. To fit in with the current headlines, we need a bailout. Instead of currency flooding the markets, we need leadership filling the void. So if you are the Raiders where is that leadership coming from? The jury is still out on Tom Cable, but so far he seems pretty capable as a field general. Cable seems to be trying to instill a winning attitude and accountability into the players, while delegating responsibility to his coordinators. However, the leadership the Raiders need must come from somewhere else. It needs to come from the top; and there is nobody looking down on Al Davis.

So how does Al show any more leadership than he has? By hiring a true general manager to help share the arduous task of running a billion dollar organization. There is no shame in delegation. Al had some of his best years while allowing one of his many great hires to help bring the Raiders to greatness. In 1966 and again in 1978 Al demonstrated leadership and quite a bit of savvy by hiring a man with a penchant for drafting great players. Those players demonstrated a passion for collecting Super Bowl trophies, and busts of their likenesses in Canton’s Hall of Fame. That crafty hire was Ron Wolf. The same Ron Wolf that helped draft players such as Art Shell, Howie Long, Marcus Allen, Ken Stabler, Gene Upshaw and many more Raider greats. The man who had the foresight to trade for Brett Favre while working his magic in Green Bay. His presence in Green Bay turned the packers into the destination for free agents, instead of the barren waste land it was before his arrival. Over his career Wolf was at the Superbowl so often they should have charged him rent. Bringing back Ron Wolf would signal the rebirth of the Raiders, as well as signifying that Al still has an eye for great talent, and enough influence to make a real splash.

Luring Wolf out of retirement might be a challenge. When he retired in 2001 he was quoted as saying

“You realize you've given an awful lot and you have no more to give. It's one of those things where each and every one of us has a time clock and when that clocks stops, you honestly know it. A person honestly knows.”

Recently Al has spoken of a possible wing man coming aboard at season's end. Maybe, just maybe Al could dangle the challenge of the Raiders and coax him out of retirement. Maybe offer him some of the coveted ownership percentage as bait. After Ron Wolf takes the bait (no pun intended), the Raiders could hire a bright, “up and comer”, to shadow his every move. This protégé could get him coffee, heck he could even ride around in his front pocket for all I care, but eventually when young Luke learns enough from Yoda the master, he could provide the continuity the Raiders so crave.

From this one hire Al Davis could prove he still has the leadership skills and eye for the shrewd move, while preserving the “greatness of the Raiders”, for many years to come.


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