Here is my interview on 2/8/16 with the great Radio host Drew DeArmond of ESPN 97.7 The Zone.
We are discussing the induction of Ken Stabler into the NFL HOF as well as the Raiders stadium situation and their future home.
Here is my interview on 2/8/16 with the great Radio host Drew DeArmond of ESPN 97.7 The Zone.
We are discussing the induction of Ken Stabler into the NFL HOF as well as the Raiders stadium situation and their future home.
Yesterday we looked at Bill King, Tom Flores, and the Raiders offensive players that might or might not be placed in the Hall of Fame. Today we will look at players on the defensive end who have been overlooked.
I was really happy to see so many eyes opened on social media yesterday and so many discussions on some of the players I put in my article. It’s great and fun to discuss and many put some very intelligent thoughts into their responses.
I’ve tried to do my part of showing people about grudges and biases that writers and voters to the HOF may have had on some players who could possibly be inducted. I never really understood totally just how vicious and deep some biases were, especially with east coast writers. It was eye opening.
For the last year and a half I’ve researched the stories of Raider players that might get into the hall and seen how clueless or how vengeful writers are to some of them; especially Raiders. Ken Stabler and Jack Tatum went through hell with them, and others have been black listed and will never see the HOF even though they deserve it.
Let’s also remember too, if a west coast team plays at night, usually east coast writers won’t even see them play. They read about the game or look at highlights. They are in bed sleeping. They won’t admit that but let’s be real.
Without further ado, let’s look into some of these players credentials and make the argument for or against their inductions.
When Chris Berman and Chris Collinsworth were talking about players that should be in the HOF a couple of years ago, they both said one guy; Jack Tatum. And Chris Collinsworth looked like he saw the Headless Horseman while saying it.
The running joke in the NFL in the 1970’s for NFL fans was that when you looked in your closet at night you don’t look for the boogeyman; you look for Jack Tatum. Just like Dick Butkus, Jack Tatum revolutionized his position. He was 225 pounds of educated, tough muscle from Woody Hayes University, Ohio St. He never said much on the field; said less off of it; but wow did he change football and every safety want’s to be him.
“Jack was my guy”, said a proud Ronnie Lott. “Everything I did I tried to copy from him. He was the man”.
NFL Bad Boy Conrad Dobler was amazed at Tatum. “Jack hit people so hard. It was like when he hit them they would not be hurt but they would be buried”. Running mate and trash talker of the Soul Patrol George Atkinson said, “Even I could not believe the force he hit people with. It sounded like a car wreck when he hit someone. His angles and his timing were perfect. No one wanted to come over the middle because it was like being hit by a truck. I’ve never seen anything like it”.
Tatum could take on Tackles and stop the run, or eliminate a WR so that they would never want to catch a ball over the middle again. He was so tough that if he was on the other side of the field and knew he wouldn’t make the play, he would go after anyone in his area just to hit them. Iconic Dolphins WR Paul Warfield once said, “if you didn’t have your head on a swivel against the Raiders, you would not finish the game. They were that scary.”
In his famous hit in the Super Bowl against the Vikings, people could not believe Sammy White caught the ball. Viking great Fran Tarkenton explained the play. “I was watching this helmet fly by me. For a split second I literally thought Sammy’s head was in it. I never heard a harder hit. How he caught that is beyond me”.
Sadly in a meaningless exhibition game he hit Patriots WR Darryl Stingley in a very legal hit. In fact the NFL and even the Patriots coaching staff went over the film dozens of times and admitted Tatum did nothing wrong. Stingley was paralyzed and his family was very angry at Tatum. Tatum said he tried to reach out to the family but they refused him. John Madden actually visited Stingley instead and said Jack never got over it. The east coast media; especially Boston; shredded Tatum in the papers for years and vowed he’d never be in the HOF. He sadly died at the age of 61.
Deserves to be in the HOF: YES YES YES
Will be Voted into HOF: No
Lyle Alzado roamed the field like a volcano ready to erupt. His Raider teammates called him “Three Mile Lyle” after the explosion of the nuclear plant Three Mile Island. No one knew when he’d blow up.
He grew up with an abusive father. Once when a sibling was getting beaten, Lyle at the age of 15 protected them and hit his father and broke his jaw. Lyle’s father called the police and pressed charges; assault. He was arrested. The scars on his soul were deep and unexpressed.
His life was one big tornado. In an amazing career, this great pass rusher ended with 97 sacks. Lyle is a hall of famer through and through but there is a saying if you work for or work with the NFL; Protect the Shield.
Just like with police and politicians, they feel you keep your mouth closed and Lyle didn’t. While he was dying of brain cancer and losing over 100 pounds, he did interviews talking about his immense use of steroids. Players hated him for it because it tarnished them; the NFL hated him for it because it embarrassed them. A year after his death, the NFL started testing for steroids, many say due to the backlash of Lyle’s speaking out.
He sadly died at the age of 43. Many said he was always looking for happiness and peace, but never really found it. I hope he finally has.
Deserves to be in the HOF: For Sure
Will He be Voted into HOF: No
I remember talking to an east coast writer and asking him what he thought about Rod Martin maybe going into the hall of fame. His answer? “Who is Rod Martin”. See what I’m telling you?
Don’t get me started on how clueless some Americans are in our history. Sports is included. Why sports fans don’t educate their kids on the history of their teams is beyond me. We should have more of an appreciation of the foundation of a team and not just live life like we’re 15 year old girls. For the most part as a nation we are clueless if it happened before 1990. (Rant over).
Rod Martin had a long and illustrious career as linebacker of the Oakland Raiders. He had the greatest defensive Super Bowl of all time with 3 interceptions against the Eagles. People also forget he played a key role in the Washington win in the Super Bowl too with many key plays including stopping John Riggins on a 3rd and 4th and short, once near the goal line. He also batted down key passes and picked up a fumble.
He was AFC defensive player of the year one time and a pro bowler twice. He was a mainstay for the Raiders and in the biggest games he played his best. One of the forgotten Raiders who should be better remembered.
Deserves to be in the HOF: Yes
Will be Voted into HOF: No
He once overdosed when he was with Kansas City being taken to the hospital while his coach gave him chest compressions on the way to the hospital. Raider staff members had to sleep in front of his hotel room to make sure he wouldn’t leave at night and party. Fans saw him as a big ton of fun, but at times players saw him as a big pain. A nice guy off of drugs, but a whirlwind while on them.
Matt Millen wrote in his book at what a pain John was at times. He used drugs often. Qaaludes, Valium, pot, cocaine, pain killers, alcohol. Nothing was off limits when the Tooz was around. His partying was of legend. The night before the Raiders played the Eagles in the Super Bowl he said he would patrol Bourbon Street to make sure Raider players were in at a decent hour. He ended up partying until 3 a.m. and was fined $1000. Disciplined Dick Vermeil told the national media, “if that were an Eagle, his ass would be on a plane home by now”.
In the 1970’s the strong man competitions on ABC were extremely popular. Most trained over 6 months for the events. Just to pass time, Matuszak entered into one competition; without a day of training. Most of the competitors kind of laughed at such arrogance. After the smoke cleared, he placed in the top 10 at 9th. “He’s super human”, said one competitor. “I really never saw anything like him”.
Once when the Tooz was arrested, Ken Stabler had to bail him out. When he got to the Police Station Stabler said, “Drunk, cowboy hat, cowboy boots and no clothes. Yep, that’s my roomie; I’d know him anywhere”.
On the field John was a great player one minute, and a disappearing act the next. He was a good guy when sober and he played well, but it was hard to get him when he wasn’t high off the field. He was an inconsistent but solid player. No telling how good this 6′ 8″ giant could have been. Sadly at the age of 38 he died of an accidental overdose of pain killers. A small amount of cocaine was found in his system. Sadly 2 years later one of his sisters Dawn passed away suddenly. Their family went through a lot of pain.
For many he will forever be fondly known as Sloth in the movies Goonies. The stories of his kindness are of legend. It took 4-5 hours to put on his makeup. The kids in the movie adored the Tooz and they constantly played pranks on him. He never said a word and just laughed. He said once, “How can you get mad at kids who are just having the time of their lives”. One of the kids said, “I saw him play football on television and he looked so mean. But with us he was just our Giant friend; he was Sloth to us”. He had several acting accomplishments including a memorable scene in North Dallas Forty. He was well liked by a lot of people on the sets who still talk of him fondly.
Deserves to be in the HOF: No
Will be Voted into HOF: No
When Hayes came out of college, many said he wasn’t very smart. What the Raiders found out is that he had a stuttering problem. Now Hayes will speak to anyone that will listen while showing a great personality.
Hayes was a pro bowler 5 times; all pro once; AFC player of the year once; single season record for interceptions in a year (13), and named to the prestigious all decade team for 1980.
It’s not even worth talking about; just like Branch and Tatum, of course Lester should be in. I feel embarrassed to even defend it. Eventually he will be but again, it’s a joke for him to wait so long.
Deserves to be in the HOF: Yes
Will be Voted into HOF: Eventually
Last week we first looked at possible stadium venues in Oakland that were realistically being looked at.
We also looked at realistic ways to pay for these stadiums. The outpouring of positive comments and support for these ideas was amazing with thousands seeing that this could actually be done in a responsible manner. I really appreciate my smart readers.
Raider Fans Awaken:
First off, Mark Davis is the owner of the Raiders and that isn’t changing. He’s not going to sell and can’t be forced to sell unless he does something illegal. No petition will change that.
Let’s face it; social media has changed everything. Many people refuse to look at actions or facts exchanging them for biased opinions and conjecture. I guess I’m not smart enough to do that because I just go by what I see. And what I see shocks me.
First off I would love to have a beer and a burger with Mark Davis. He has that dorky fun type of thing going on. He doesn’t seem like a bad guy. The reality of the matter though is that as an owner, he’s in way over his head. How many of you in your first 6 decades of life never held a job. Now you own a billion dollar business.
His actions have shown a lot about the Raiders situation. It’s almost as if the City of Oakland is like a guy that has this girlfriend. She’s not hot; been beaten up by life a bit; is kind and loyal as all get out but he now sees there are physically hotter women out there. He spends time and money on Inglewood and San Antonio (Raiders gave 50k to help spend for a city wide questionnaire in 2014 on how much their fans would want the Raiders) but all the while he tells his girlfriend Oakland that he’s not cheating and really wants her. He explains that he loves her and he’s not even looking for better options; he’s just using these as leverage to make sure the City of Oakland is serious in making a commitment. Everyone who believes that is as naive as an 18 year old girl at her first fraternity party.
Most Raider fans are angry and they are getting an education in NFL 101. I love football but that doesn’t mean I love how the NFL treats people. Look at how the NFL treats the refs; they said they can’t afford them to be full time even though bad calls are almost the norm now. The cheerleaders have to sue the NFL just to get minimum wage. Retired players are treated like old race horses that are no longer needed. And fans are money signs where emotions and loyalty mean little.
Yet some fans are sensitive about their love of football and they will deny facts and defend every move the NFL makes until their dying day even though the NFL doesn’t care about anyone else but their profits. Reminds me of some that blindly defend political parties. You can love a sport but still be honest about it.
Mark Davis acts like Oakland isn’t even on his radar at times. You hope that he wakes up and puts the same effort into Oakland that he has into other cities.
How Do NFL Teams Make Money?:
The NFL is now the richest professional league in the world. The NFL has 3 types of revenue. National Revenue or Revenue Sharing; which has television revenue, national ad revenue and general ticket sales along with other miscellaneous items. This adds up to about 61% of NFL teams revenues.
The second form of revenue; which is NOT shared by the teams; is Territorial Revenue. This is money made anywhere near the radius of the teams home city. It could be in the form of in person or online merchandise sales, local television, radio and tv ad revenues, naming rights to the stadium and other things. This is also a large chunk of the teams revenue. This includes PSL’s. Below is a list of the PSL revenues. Dont’ kill the messenger.
The third which is also not shared; and a far third at that; is ticket revenue. Why do you think teams are so obsessed with getting new stadiums? Well this is why. Teams share general ticket sales but KEEP all revenues made by luxury suites, club seat ticket sales, parking and any type of luxury boxes. While fans gave a salute for New England Patriot owner Robert Kraft for not charging a PSL (personal seat licenses) to the fans on his stadium, they forgot to add that he tore down 1500 end zone seats (which is revenue that is shared among NFL teams) and put in a huge luxury/club suite area. He pockets millions without sharing.
I went on the Dallas Cowboys web site and asked for suite information. I counted 116 luxury suites alone in Dallas’ AT&T stadium and that doesn’t count club seats. Some of these suites are $30,000.00 per game and ALL of this money is NON revenue sharing and goes straight into Jerry Jones pocket.
Let’s also not forgot PSL’s. It’s literally free money. It’s like what Costco does and teams make so much money off of it you can’t count it.
Once PSL’s are paid for it’s predicted that the 49ers will make between $310-400 million just on PSL’s. The most expensive PSL in Dallas will cost you $150,000.00 PER TICKET and they expect between $625-675 million in PSL revenue once they are paid for.
Oakland Raider Revenue:
The NFL has always been extremely secretive about their profits. They’ve lied a lot about them in the past before the internet. The number for the Raiders or any team is really a guess. Forbes gives the best estimate. As many have stated, the Raiders are worth $1.4 billion dollars and that the Davis’ family is worth $500 million. Again, San Diego and Oakland do not have businesses so they are considered the poor teams in the NFL. While most of the owners are worth billions, the Davis’ and Spanos’ families only have their NFL teams. Now dry your eyes; somehow these guys will make it financially.
Last year Forbes stated that the Raiders made $285 million dollars gross. They made $40 million in ticket sales and paid out $158 million in player salaries. Their operating costs were the lowest in the NFL but again, the Raiders would not disclose the number. In contrast the Dallas Cowboys made a staggering $680 million. The operating costs were #1 as well but no one knows the exact number. The Cowboys are worth 4 billion dollars and are considered the #2 most valuable sports franchise in the world only behind Spain’s soccer empire, Real Madrid.
I read 5 financial online publications and 7 sports publications and got 12 different financial numbers and ideas on NFL revenues. On average most believe the profits for the lower teams like the Raiders are between $25-40 million net profit per year and that doesn’t include the appreciation of the teams which is in the millions. It is believed that this is the first year in NFL history that they made over $14 billion dollars in one year.
Roger Goodell has stated that his goal is for the NFL to make 25 in 25; $25 BILLION per year by the year 2025. They still dream of expanding to London in the next two decades. The NFL would be considered the 140th richest COUNTRY in the world right now. They could finance several trips to space and buy several countries. That’s scary power.
Green Bay Packers; The Key To Knowing the Profit:
Remember that before the internet, the NFL lied so much about revenues that it was a running joke in the financial community. NFL teams still don’t have to disclose financials but the Green Bay Packers are owned by the public so they are the only team that actually has to state their revenues but again, that’s shared revenues only. If you add up their share with the rest of the league, the NFL made $7.2 Billion in money that was shared by the teams. Again, this doesn’t include territorial money.
In the past decade or so the Packers have spent $320 million in upgrades to their stadium and surrounding area. They have built stores to sell Packer gear online and in house and have made a bundle. They also have renovated the stadium and they are building a “Titletown” area which will have shops and other ways to show off the tradition of Green Bay and to give a museum and fan experience to their faithful. They now are in the process of also upgrading their club and luxury suites. Green Bay is a classic Midwest team and is obsessed with giving their fans the utmost they can while turning a huge profit.
In the past 3 years, the Packers revenue has gone up from $300 million to $375 million. Their net profit last year was $39.4 million. Even with putting over $300 million into renovations and upgrades, the Packers have said financially they’ve never been stronger.
The extreme greed of the NFL is unsurpassed and isn’t going to change. Billionaires want one thing; more billions. Anyone thinking differently has never owned a business. I worked for a fortune 500 company that was the biggest money making medical company in the U.S. To them though it still wasn’t enough. They were caught in a insurance scandal and my CEO was arrested by the Department of Justice and it was reported on national television.
What does this all mean? It means that owners are not loyal to cities or to fans; they are loyal to what will make them money. I’m glad that fans are getting it. You can still love your teams and cheer for players but also realize this isn’t family; its business. In my opinion, if Mark Davis wanted to they could figure out a stadium in Oakland. Apple is making over $200 billion a year and this is chump change to many tech companies. Just like the 49ers, there isn’t a door I would not knock on. I hope he learned from the mistakes of his father Al Davis. You can only go back home so many times before no one is there waiting for you at the door.
Please sign this petition to get Cliff Branch into the NFL Pro Football Hall of Fame:
Yesterday we looked at the Oakland Stadium situation for the A’s and the Raiders and explored the various venues that may work for a new facility. Today we will look at how to pay for it.
The Truth About Using Tax Payers Money:
Economists have overwhelmingly found that spending public money on stadiums has little economic benefit for the city and rarely creates the jobs and prosperity that the backers promise. This recently was seen in St. Louis with the Rams. The City of St Louis still owes $129 million to pay for the abandoned football stadium now that the Ram’s are leaving. The city of Oakland still owes $100 million from the Al Davis upgrades when the Raiders moved back. The numbers don’t lie. Using tax payer money would be very irresponsible. Some cities selling their souls for teams have done 30 year tax loans. Insanity. New stadiums may help keep the team in the city but the teams are the financial winners in the end.
The First Thing Mark Davis Should Do:
If I were Mark Davis I would hold a press conference immediately. I’d say, “Whatever has happened in the past or with the NFL vote is water under the bridge. I will do anything and everything that I personally can to build a permanent stadium in Oakland for the Raiders. My goal is not to hurt the A’s or the tax payers of Oakland in any way but I want a football only stadium to compete. It’s up to Libby Schaaf, the City of Oakland and my search team to get the funding that is needed. I have hired Carmen Policy and Disney CEO Bob Iger to help with this process. If the unfortunate happens and things don’t work out and we have to move, I want it be known that I did everything physically and financially possible to make this work”.
Leadership. That is what is needed. If Davis would do these things, I see a stadium being built no problem. Carmen Policy has MEGA stroke in the bay area. He is personal friends with many local and state politicians and corporations through out the bay area including Silicon Valley. His winery and his past dealings when he was with the 49ers have made him powerful in the bay area. Disney also obviously has a lot of pull anywhere. Hire anyone affiliated with the Giants/Jets situation or the 49ers new stadium. Anyone that knows what to do and how to get it done. Now let’s look at the nuts and bolts of the situation.
Ways to Get Revenue For A New Stadium:
What the Raiders need for a stadium is lunch money to Technology companies. If you can’t get a sponsor out of Silicon Valley while having the clout of the NFL behind you then you flat out didn’t try or ask. This is the adult world and they are not going to come to you. The 49ers did a great job of doing this and in the end they had their pick of sponsors without using tax money. Knock on doors, wheel and deal. Hello Carmen Policy. If I was Mark Davis there isn’t a door I wouldn’t knock on or hand that I would not shake.
Mark Davis is a nice guy but he’s in over his head. Why can’t Mark Davis go to the CEO of Disney Bob Iger or any big wig rich guy and sell off 5-10% of the team. With the money from a new stadium and appreciation Davis will have more money in the end than he could ever imagine. Davis is still the managing general partner and he has more shares than anyone.
THINK GLOBALLY. Some of you older fans may say huh? at some of these ideas but its time to think outside the box into tomorrow.
A total of 61% of all revenue is shared by the teams. What ISN’T shared is what the NFL calls territorial revenue. Any local tv, advertising, merchandise, or other revenue that is created within the teams local radius is totally kept by the team. Last year alone Green Bay made $151 million in Territorial Revenue, $34.9 million in their new local club houses alone; that included online and in person sales.
If I were the Raiders I would approach You Tube and/or Google or Direct TV and create a live stream with the local television affiliate. During the stream you can advertise, sell items or do whatever you want. I would even make a separate app that can be used on all tablets and phones.
When Yahoo did live streams on a few of the NFL games last year, the NFL was shocked at the numbers. In one of the games they had an average of 10-20 million viewers watching the stream every minute. You can taste the advertising money. Now that pales in comparison to television viewers, but you are now thinking globally because many of the people that would watch the games are not in the U.S. I actually researched the geographical breakdown and the fact is for one game on Yahoo at times 33% of the viewers were NOT in America. Even though we forget it sometimes, the world doesn’t revolve around the U.S. and there are a whole lot of new fresh faces to market to.
You are now entering into a huge untapped revenue source and your popularity can only grow. ESPN has done it for their college games without announcers. I’ve actually streamed it sometimes and it’s great. It’s starting small but growing in popularity. Streaming is the future and the present. Concerts are live streamed all the time, so why not NFL locally?
I would do marketing campaigns with local Hispanic, Indian, Chinese and other cultural based channels and advertise the live streaming and the merchandise. I would make the Raiders a world wide brand and market the Oakland Raider nation as a global entity. When it grows I would then do pre and post game shows in various languages (with advertising) on various foreign channels or stream them. People would drink it up like it’s got the antidote. No one has done this but the Raiders have a large following all over the world. If you can’t make money this way, then you just aren’t trying.
Why do you think dozens of countries are at WWE Wrestlemania and even TNA is now getting into India. GLOBAL MONEY. Wrestling has been marketing globally long before WWE. WCCW in Dallas had viewers all over the world they marketed to. I would also begin creating a social media like Twitter or Facebook JUST for Raider fans through out the world.
Guaranteed corporate tax bonds are done all the time in the U.S.. The City of Oakland would be responsible for this. Go to Kaiser Health or another company and ask for a $300 million tax bond so you pay in time. Kaiser has so much money now that they are going to build a college. Health insurances are making hand over fist with the cuts to providers so this is doable. In the end you can possibly even make a little money after paying it back.
In smaller ways you can make a deal with Uber. Have a Raider fan app that will be exclusive for games giving Raider fans discounts on fairs in exchange for advertising money and cash.
6. Sell Office Space:
Another effective way to make money is to sell office space. If you walk in the back of the San Francisco Giants A T & T park, it is filled with medical offices. Oakland has tons of medical offices that would love to upgrade to new office space. This is year round revenue.
This is one that is a favorite of the City of Oakland and they’ve talked about it with Mark Davis and I don’t like it. First of all Mark Davis is obsessed with having a huge area for parking for tailgating. That is great but parking is not a year round revenue source. With BART, parking would be less of a need and would take up valuable land that could give the City and possibly the team year round revenue with stores and other businesses. With a new stadium you could make picnic areas outside the stadium for pre-game partying. Mark Davis also wants complete control of the land.
The City wants to offer a developer cheap land and part ownership in exchange for $300 million; that’s the short fall that is needed to build a new stadium right now. If this was San Francisco or the South Bay near Silicon Valley this is a no brainer that any developer would want. In Oakland, not so much. The City is also offering a 9 acre parcel of land as well. This seems to be a popular hope but in reality I like the previous ideas a thousand times better and I’m not thrilled that this is a good idea.
Above are just ideas off the top of my head. Smart people can figure it out if they drop their ego’s at the door. Too many people trying to be right instead of doing right. Of course they aren’t as cut and dry as I’m putting it but they also aren’t as complicated. Problem is you have ego’s, hurt feelings and insecurity with people in these deals and that’s where things go wrong. Where there is a will there is a way.
The City of Oakland needs to get off their butt and act. It’s also time for Mark Davis to prove people wrong and show the NFL that he is a real NFL owner. Will he hire people to work hard like he did for Carson or will he just have his hand out looking for corporate money from tax payers in cash strapped Oakland while pleading victim.
Do you think for a second that Stan Kroenke created his sports empire by just sitting by waiting for others to give things to him? Do you Think Al Davis would kick a can and say aw shucks, you fix it?
What is needed is confident and competent leadership. We will see if either side has these abilities. I hope that Mark Davis and Libby Schaaf put in the work and make it happen. Schaaf has to show business and political savvy and Davis needs to stop telling Oakland that he wants to stay and start showing it. The Raider fans have been through enough; Make it happen. There’s lots to do.
I’m writing this for the good San Diego Charger and NFL fans that are interested. It’s truly a sad time for them and my heart hurts for any city that loses their team. No, loyalty and doing right doesn’t mean much anymore. Let’s look at what is happening and what will happen.
What Happened At the NFL Vote?
It’s hard to listen to the insiders or the experts anymore because they are so wrong so often. I use common sense and business savvy and try to figure things out. It’s really not as hard as people make it out to be. Social media makes it that way sometimes.
When Raider fans already had the Raiders moving the last month I didn’t react. Why? Because if I’m an NFL owner and I have to pick between a guy that has built up a multi BILLION dollar sports empire and a 61 year old man that has never formally held a job in his life and only got the team because he inherited it, then it’s a no brainer for me. I pick Stan Kroenke over Mark Davis. In the end the NFL felt the same. Raider great Tim Brown even said he was shocked at how little the owners listened to Mark Davis and how they were so excited when Stan Kroenke spoke. Welcome to the business world everyone.
Where Will the Chargers Play Next Year:
The NFL’s fiscal year starts April 1st. Most in the know feel that the Chargers will negotiate a deal to play in Los Angeles sooner than later. The key point for the Chargers is not getting screwed by Stan Kroenke. They want to have equal profit sharing and they still need to pay for the relocation fee of 500 million and find a place to play.
It’s hard to think that the Chargers will stay in San Diego. In fact it’s near impossible. Too many bridges have been burned. While 92 y/o Alex Spanos is still beloved, his son Dean isn’t. When he and Mark Davis thought the Carson deal would go through, Dean continued with negative remarks about the City. The San Diego Supervisors released a statement yesterday saying that if the Chargers want to negotiate in good faith that they are committed to it. BUT if they just want to turn it into a charade because they want to move to Los Angeles then they are not interested. Not exactly words to cuddle by.
I listened to the San Francisco bay area sports talk shows Tuesday and they had 2 San Diego Sports reporters on and both said that the relationship between San Diego and the Chargers is over. They ripped Dean Spanos to shreds calling him dishonest and his negative remarks about the City of San Diego were death blows to the relationship. The new stadium in Inglewood is not going to be finished until 2019 which is a long way away so this transition; especially with the flakiness and quirkiness of Southern California fans with sports teams (Lakers have another record loss in tv viewer ratings) will make it interesting. The NFL only wants two teams in Southern California and San Diego doesn’t want to play second fiddle to Stan Kroenke’s Rams so there is much to do.
The Real Reason Spanos is Leaving San Diego:
In 2008 the Chargers were legally able to move if they wanted to. They also could negotiate a new stadium in San Diego too. The reason why the City of San Diego has called the negotiations a charade is that many feel Spanos always wanted to move to LA. Insiders said that he felt if another team came to Southern California; (and especially if 2 teams would come); the Chargers fan base would dwindle due to new competition. Spanos probably was right but he wasn’t honest about it. Many feel he put the City and the fans through a lot of nonsense thinking he wanted to stay, when he really didn’t. He was biding his time.
Spanos also knew financially that he could not move on his own. The Chargers and the Raiders are family owned teams; which means they have no other business but the NFL so they have much less cash than other owners. He then teams up with the Raiders Mark Davis who is another man that inherited his team from his father and is in the same financial situation. They both thought the Carson project was a done deal so Dean Spanos gloated a little bit and stayed out of the limelight. He was so hated in San Diego that he refused to go out in public or on the field for some ceremonies.
Davis; who has never really held a job in his first 57 years of life; was also devastated when the Carson project fell through. Now he’s going back to Oakland with his tail between his legs and his hand out saying gimmee.
It doesn’t matter if you are a Charger fan, Raider fan, Bronco Fan or a Chiefs fan. The NFL has proven they don’t care about the cheerleaders, the refs, the retired players or the fans. They are billionaires who want to make even more money and the fans are their puppets to get it. Anyone thinking that their teams are in love with them are as naive as it gets. Ask those in Baltimore, Cleveland, Oakland, San Diego and St. Louis how much their teams loved them. Nada much. They DO love our money though.
The NFL and the owners do not care if you have a million people at a rally; they don’t care about your loyalty and they don’t care how it hurts you or your family if your team leaves. This is business, especially in the new millennium.
Does that mean we can’t enjoy our teams? Of course not. Love them, cheer for them, wear their gear and have fun. But we are not gang members. Rib each other in fun but stop showing hate and venom to other teams fans. Do you think your teams owner cares if you are broke or sick or having problems? Do you think your undying loyalty is cared about unless they get money out of you? I was born but not yesterday.
Remember that we are all in this game called life and that is much more important than loyalty to a sports team. There are joys and triumphs, successes and failures, sickness and pain, and happiness and love in our lives. The important things.
Love those that love you and be good to each other. And say a little prayer for Chargers fans all over. They lost a part of their childhood today and even adults lost some innocence. In the end, it’s a painful lesson for us all.
Pastor: I promise James, in time the pain will lessen and it will get easier.
Me: With all due respect Pastor, that is crap. The pain never gets better. Time just makes it a little easier to deal with.
If you want to know how important history is, just look at the half time ceremony when the Packers put Brett Favre’s name in their ring of honor at Lambeau Field on Thanksgiving night. An 81 year old 5 time Champion Bart Starr worked hard for 3 months during extremely poor health just to make the trip to welcome Brett Favre on his special night. There wasn’t a dry eye in the stadium; including Brett Favre’s; when Bart Starr walked up and hugged him. The emotions linked generations of fans who stood up proudly as one. Brett Favre said, “No offense to anyone, but I was so happy to see Bart Starr and in a way the night was also for him. I was more excited seeing him smiling and happy than what I was there for”.
The Christmas holidays are my favorite time of year. People are nicer and there is much more of a kind spirit of good will floating around. Unfortunately all of us have lost people that we love and it can also be a time of great internal pain and longing. I get that because our family has known a lot of tragedy. This year has been grinding and hard. It’s also been that way for the Oakland Raiders. The Raiders have lost many that were linked to their greatness.
I could see it in his eyes. Upon the passing of the great Ken Stabler, George Atkinson seemed inconsolable. “It seems that every month we lose someone close to the Raiders. There are fewer of us and it’s very difficult to hear of the passing of Kenny.”
My dad once said that getting older isn’t the hard part. He said the hard part is watching family members that were once strong and vital getting old and passing away. It’s also hard to see athletes who you grew up watching, doing the same.
I think one of the nicest things ever said to me was after I wrote an article for a paid Philadelphia Eagles site. I wrote about a couple of the Eagles who had passed. One Philly fan thanked me for the article and said, “You are the keeper of their memory. You made me remember how great of players these were and how they touched the community. I’ll now never forget them and I was touched like they were my own. Thank you.”
History is a huge deal in our family. It’s always been instilled in us by my parents and relatives, to keep people’s memories alive. We should never forget people and appreciate their talents and their input in people’s lives. Our society has become much more shallow than in the past, with us being obsessed with youthful looks, being cool and in, and keeping in the know with the latest. We forget so easily. The word great is handed out like Halloween candy and our memory is short. For me, I will never be that way and for those that read me, they will always see a sense of appreciation of those from the past along with their families.
The Raiders have lost some key people from their past this year. Let us remember them.
Wide Receiver Art Powell was one of the first and great stars of the AFL. He was big and fast and was known for some amazing catches. He was a 4 time AFL all star and was voted onto the all time AFL team. He amazingly had 81 touchdown passes during a time when defensive backs could do whatever they wanted to WR.
People forget that it was his character that shined the most. Powell, along with teammates Bo Roberson, Clem Daniels and Fred Williamson, refused to play in an exhibition game against his old team the New York Jets because of segregated seating in Mobile Alabama’s Ladd Stadium.
“I first started working for the Raiders in 1985. I complained about a bad call in the press box and one of the NFL officials heard me. He angrily went up to Al LoCasale to complain about me. Mr. LoCasale got angry and ripped the stadium credentials from his shirt. It was then that I knew I was a Raider and what loyalty meant. He backed me just because I was a Raider.”
Former Raider Executive Amy Trask.
He was called a pitbull, a hitman, a thug, and many other things that I can’t write. For 3 decades Al LoCasale was the Executive Assistant and loyal heavy for Mr. Al Davis. If Mr. Davis felt someone wronged the Raiders, LoCasale was the one you had to answer to. He was gruff and had a Napoleonic mentality about him. He demanded respect, loyalty and excellence. He loved the Raiders and Al Davis. He was the main figure that helped NFL films capture the Raiders great moments and he insisted on as many Raider players being mentioned as possible. He respected everyone; from the star players to the practice players. You can’t say Oakland Raiders without saying Al LoCaSale.
Dick Romanski, Equipment Manager:
The Raiders have only had 2 equipment managers in their history. Dick Romanski and his son Bob.
Dick was an army buddy of Al Davis and a good athlete. He actually coached on Davis military teams. He had been with the Raiders for over 50 years until his son took over. There are stories that Dick was the one that came up with the shield logo of the Raiders.
Dick also was important because he was the one that introduced stickum to the Raiders. He said he got the idea from hitters in major league baseball.
Beloved by players and executives alike, even after retiring he would show up to help on Raider home games. One of the staples of the Raiders lore.
“Charlie took me out of the game and I was pissed. I came off the field screaming at him. He put in backup Jack Squirek and told him to “not drop” the pass. I was out of my mind. Then I saw Squirek intercept Joe Theisman’s pass and score. I picked Charlie up and was going crazy. I had immense joy and almost killed him in the process. What a great coach.”
Raiders MLB Matt Millen
Some Raider players thanked him at their Hall of Fame speeches. Charlie Sumner was the greatest defensive coach in the history of the Oakland Raiders and it’s not close. He was the defensive coordinator for 2 Super Bowl wins. He was also a coach that helped create the famous Steel Curtain in Pittsburgh and he was the one that created the great defenses of the Patriots in the mid to late 70’s that almost lead them to a Super Bowl. The Raider offenses got all the credit but if you look at the Super Bowl wins, it was the defenses that dominated.
“Some players like to be physical but no one was as tough as Marv. I’ve never seen a player that would go out of their way to hit people. He also demanded to play special teams because he liked the collisions.”
Take it to the cupboard Hubbard was one of the catch phrases of the 1970’s for the Oakland Raiders. In both end zones posters with that saying was the norm. He was all pro 3 times and helped lead the Raiders to 4 consecutive Western Division Championships. He ranks 4th all time in yards per carry as a fullback (4.8 yards) and is 13th overall in NFL history.
Hubbard was a fan favorite and lived in Northern California. He got into music and released 2 albums. He was a scratch golfer and was an entrepreneur and CEO of his own company and he was often seen around town driving his beloved muscle cars which he would restore. Like most Raiders, he lived life to the fullest.
The death of Ken Stabler sent a shockwave around the country and to be honest the world. I remember writing about Ken’s passing and the article was read by people in over 26 countries. I received many messages from people who said they don’t really like the Raiders but that they loved Ken Stabler. I’ve written a lot about Ken and you can check it out here along with Ken’s family website where you can donate to his XOXO Foundation.
How to Deal With Loss:
First off there is no formula. The key is to talk to people you respect and love and let the pain out. Cry, scream or get mad. Pain like that is like poison and if you don’t get rid of it, it can eat you alive.
The holidays can be really hard so keep busy. Kid’s and young people always help when they are around due to their great personalities and wonder around the holidays. Remember that there will be times that the pain will come over you in waves and you just need to let yourself get rid of it. If you are a person of faith, rely on it often. Personally, without my faith I would have not come through things very well.
The most important thing is to remember that the people that are gone would be heartbroken to see you in pain. This poem is a great one to remember that:
“Remember me with smiles and laughter because that’s how I will remember you. If you can only remember me with tears and sorrow, then don’t remember me at all.”
May all of the friends and families of these great people; as well as the fans of the Raiders; find a healing peace and joy this Christmas season. I pray that they will never be lost in history and that their memories will be passed on to the children of NFL and Raider fans everywhere. And as long as I have breath, I will never let people forget them either.
Today we will look at the Raiders defense and see what needs to be done to make this a winning unit.
Last night when the New England Patriots beat the Buffalo Bills, you saw the power of a stud defensive line. The Patriots were playing with third string players in some offensive positions but they still won. The Patriots didn’t get a lot of sacks but the relentless pressure they put on Bills QB Tyrod Taylor was a key to that win. Their cornerback’s are just alright but with a pass rush they become much better.
You don’t win on defense with a stud defensive backfield. Seattle still has the best DB’s in the business but they are struggling in close games. Why? Teams now double team DL Michael Bennett and the other players on the line are not getting to the quarterback.
Lets look at recent NFL history. Harbaugh’s 49ers; Seattle; Arizona; Carolina; New England; New York Giants Super Bowl years; what do these successful teams have in common? STUD defensive lines that can control games. The Giants beat the great Tom Brady because their DL dominated. If you can rush the QB with only 4 players and stop the run, your defense alone can win games. The Broncos offense is awful but their defensive line is really good. Carolina’s DL literally controls the game while Cam Newton gets most of the publicity. People forget the early games when he struggled. If you have a really good defensive front, then you are going to straight up win in the NFL. A good DL covers up a lot of issues.
I like Ken Norton Jr. and think he will do a good job. He’s aggressive and has adapted more on a week to week basis than others have in the past. He’s blitzed a lot more as the year went on and that is a good thing. He is even blitzing DJ Hayden more which in the end somewhat hides him against the pass. Not a dumb thing.
The defense has struggled for the most part and is near the bottom in some defensive categories against the pass.
If you want to turn your team around quickly, have a great DL that can rush the passer and stop the run. The Raiders haven’t had that in years. When you look at the Super Bowl wins for the Raiders, EVERY win was marked by dominating defensive front play literally beating up the opponents quarterback.
Khalil Mack is a really good NFL player but he’s not the superstar that the media tried to hype him to be. He disappears in some games. He was completely shut out in the Pittsburgh game, and against the Ravens and the Chargers, he had 3 tackles and no sacks combined. Aldon Smith has been a solid player for the Raiders but it’s obvious he’s not the super talent that he was at San Francisco. He played in the awesome 49er’s defense beside the great Justin Smith who got double teamed getting coffee. Aldon is a good player and a keeper though and he is young. The Raiders look like they will keep him which is a very smart thing.
Justin Ellis has had his moments but none of the other DL have shown they are starting NFL material. Some are trying to hype Mario Edwards but I’m not buying it yet. He may end up being good but he has a long way to go. Getting NFL rookie of the week when you are on a DL that gave up 269 yards rushing against Minnesota isn’t exactly epic material. The Raiders DL need to make plays at the line of scrimmage and not down the field.
Dan Williams has really been good against the run but he’s often seeing double teams now so the others need to step up. Williams also is a bad pass rusher so he’s limited.
The Jets have a mess on their DL for next year. DE Muhammad Wilkerson is a really a good player and he said he’s tired of getting underpaid and nose tackle/tackle Damon Harrison is another good player that may be available if the Jet’s don’t resign him. They need to spend a lot of money and they can’t keep them all. Add a DE to play until Smith gets back, and then when Smith gets back move Mack to LB. Michael Bennett is still wanting out of Seattle after his walkout and he could be had with a trade. There are not many players in the NFL as disruptive as Bennett. He has a mean streak that is missing in Oakland.
In the end the Raiders need a tackle that can stop the run and rush the passer. They may not be able to get any of the top players but there are those that can help immediately.
This group also struggles at times because most of them have weaknesses. Curtis Lofton is good against the run but bad against the pass. He has improved some, but Malcolm Smith is good against the pass but bad against the run. Ben Heeney has had to play and to be honest I loved watching him in college. Unfortunately he’s not a good tackler and he struggles in the passing game. In fact in his final year at Kansas he lead the nation in missed tackles. He’s not a starter but great off the bench or in special teams. Moving Mack back to LB immediately helps this group.
They need Mack back there to help them out but with Aldon Smith out, the Raiders are kind of stuck right now. Lofton needs to be moved but the Raiders can’t afford the cap hit to let him go. He’s probably here for 1 more year.
I’m not a Ray Ray Armstrong fan; I think he’s not a really good starter. There are solid CB’s and LB’s in next years draft but to rely on a rookie is risky. The Raiders linebackers have been somewhat disappointing and they are handcuffed by contracts somewhat but they still can upgrade in free agency.
The Raiders defensive backs have struggled. Woodsen struggled early guarding tight ends but he has rebounded. He’s taken a beating this year though and his days are numbered. Nate Allen hasn’t played much this year and he had issue’s tackling Sunday. The DJ Hayden experiment will be over at the end of the year. He’s just not a starting NFL CB. David Amerson has had his good moments but he’s a nickel back at best. TJ Carrie looked better at safety than he did at cornerback and I would move him there. I like Carrie and think he can excel there.
The Raiders first round pick will probably be a cornerback or a safety. They also will need to find a CB in free agency. When the defensive line can’t get a pass rush, it’s hard to watch this defensive backfield struggle.
The Raiders are fine at kicker and punter. Marquette King is solid and a positive influence and Sebastian Janikowski is fine. He will have his bad moments but for the most part he’s very good.
People got carried away when the Raiders won a few games. I saw people predicting 10-6 to 12-4 and post season glory. It’s hard to beat down on people that want to be so positive, but it was pie in the sky. There are still issues in Oakland. The Raiders have a franchise quarterback in Derek Carr and that is half of the battle.
At the start of the year I said that the Raiders would be 8-8 and they are going to have to go 4-2 the rest of the year to get to that. They also have some tough games ahead. I don’t think people should lose their minds if the Raiders lose but you have to be real at some point. If you are a good team you win. It’s really not that hard.
Moral victories are for elementary school plays, rehabbing from an injury, and pee wee soccer games. They have had time to rebuild this team and they need to start winning. The Raiders have improved and that is encouraging but being 4-6 when the AFC and the AFC West is so bad is a head scratcher. Some are still talking playoffs and to be honest it’s kind of embarrassing to think they may go to the post season only because the rest of the league is so bad.
The Raiders have made it an art form on talking about what might happen in the future but they need to deal with the reality of the situation. They are 4-6, with a defense that has struggled this year; especially against the pass; and an offense that has scored in only 2 of the last 8 quarters. Tough decisions are ahead.
For many it’s time to be honest and go old school and bring back the days when losing was unacceptable. With the salary cap, the Raiders will never be the juggernaut they were in the 1970’s and 80’s but there is no excuse for not being a competitive team year in and year out. Support and nurture those players that are a part of the solution, and move on from the players that aren’t. Time will tell if the Raiders can turn this thing around and Mark Davis, GM Reggie McKenzie & the Raiders players are on the hot seat. No matter what happens this year, if the Raiders do not go to the playoffs next year, they need to get people in the front office and players on the field that can make it happen.