On the heels of a New York Times report that brought to light thousands of internal NFL emails, it was announced last night that Jon Gruden would be resigning as the head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders. An unfortunate turn of events for a team that has been faltering after a strong 3-0 start.
Jon Gruden has since apologized for his actions and may be out of a job for a while (maybe forever). While I can sympathize with anyone losing their jobs in such an embarrassing manner, it had to be done. There is no place in ANY workplace, let alone the NFL for racism, misogyny and homophobic behaviour. What makes this situation even more problematic is that one of the Raiders best young talents recently came out as gay.
As a lifelong Raiders fan, this has to be one of the most disappointing seasons in recent memory. What should have been a year that we finally got to see Derek Carr emerge as a Top 5 quarterback turned out to be a complete disaster with Jon Gruden’s departure. Sure, maybe Rich Bisaccia might be able to steer this ship back in the right direction. But let’s be realistic, interim head coaches rarely get the job done and players tend to give up on a season when their head coach is canned this early into the season. Players on short term contracts will start looking harder at the offseason and blue chip players (the few on this roster) may lose motivation to elevate their intensity as the loses begin to pile up.
All this being said, as a raiders fan I’m a little too used to embarrassment. Sure being a Jets fan can be humiliating, but no other team knows how to make their fans miserable than the Raiders. They’re just so damn good at it.
I’ve been looking for ways to recover from this terrible news. I decided to make a list of all the times the Raiders embarrassed me. Here are my top 5!
#5: 2008 Free Agent Shopping Spree
2008 was a shipwreck of a season for many reasons. Only a few years before Al Davis passed away, AL was clearly off his rocker and went on a bizarre spending spree that offseason. The notable mentions have to be DeAngelo Hall ($55 Million) who would be released only 8 games into the season… Javon Walker ($39 Million) who only caught 15 passes before missing the rest of the season with an ankle injury… and Gibril Wilson ($16 Million) who would be cut the next season. On top of this, Lane Kiffin got fired after choosing to attempt a 76 yard field, simply to piss off Al Davis. This embarrassment of a season ended 5-11.
#4 Jamarcus Russell
Look I tried really hard not to include Jamarcus Russell in this article. I really did. But if we’re going to talk about past embarrassments to make up for current ones… We have to talk about Jamarcus (or Jumbomarcus as my dad would call him). Drafted first overall in 2007, this pick will forever be the worst decision any franchise has ever made. Sure, plenty of teams made confusing picks with the 1st overall, but no one cared less about the game of football than Jamarcus. Falling asleep during team meetings, pretending to study game film when given a blank tape… From day 1 Jamarcus kept proving he did not belong in the NFL. To make matters worse, the Raiders passed on Calvin Johnson who coach Lane Kiffin begged Al Davis to select. To this day, when I tell someone I’m a Raiders fan they always bring up Jamarcus. It’s a curse no one seems to ever want me to forget. Oh yea and they only won 4 games that year.
#3 Randy Moss Gets Traded for absolutely nothing.
I still remember how excited I was to see Randy Moss in silver and black. I bought his jersey that year and couldn’t wait for the season to start. What should have been the missing piece to a team looking to make the playoffs turned out to be a marriage made in hell. Acquired in 2005 for a blue chip linebacker (Napoleon Harris) and a first round pick. Moss could not get any production going due to some very bad quarterback play from Kerry Collins (who was barely sober in his tenure as a Raider). Lane Kiffin eventually had enough with Moss, who’s value dropped so low they were only able to get a 4th round pick from the Patriots. Randy Moss went onto have an excellent tenure with the Patriots and played with one of the greatest offences we’ve ever seen. Not only were the Raiders absolutely fleeced, they got to watch Moss put up three 1000+ yard seasons. To add insult to injury, I ended up selling that jersey for 15$, what a disaster.
#2 Brett Favre obliterates the Raiders on National Television
What many might see as one of the greatest moments in sports, was the most embarrassing moment in Raiders history. After losing his father, Brett Favre and the Packers hosted the Raiders on Monday Night Football and proceeded to beat the living hell out of them for 4 hours. Brett Favre threw 4 TDs killing the Raiders 41-7 in what would be an incredibly touching moment for football fans. But for Silver & Black fans, it’s a memory that will forever be seared in our memories and never forgotten.
#1 Rich Gannon gets decapitated
What better way to end this list than with Jon Gruden? He’s has managed to embarrass the Raiders franchise over many decades. In this case, Gruden was on the opposing sideline as the coach of the Bucs in 2002. At this time things were looking great, Rich Gannon had finished leading the Raiders to multiple AFC West titles and a Super Bowl berth (which turned out to be an embarrassment in it’s own right), he was quite possibly the last great offensive player we’ve seen in a Raiders uniform. On that fateful day, Rich Gannon attempted a quarterback sneak on Derrick Brooks… Yes on THAT legend. Brooks hits Gannon helmet to helmet and left Gannon with a broken vertebra that essentially ended his career and any chance the raiders had at returning to the Super Bowl. Bad play call, bad luck, huge embarrassment… another memory forever seared in my mind.
So there’s my list of embarrassing moments in Raiders history. There’s actually a ton more and I could totally make this a top 100 list. So if you think of any great ones, leave a comment!!
One Last thing: Screw you Jon Gruden!