Friday, July 28, 2006

Further Evidence

As if we needed it, here is yet further evidence Jerry Porter is indeed "5150" and should be locked up for his own protection. He is truly a danger to himself and others.

Word is the latest person Jerry Pouter has decided to complain to (between calf massages) about Art Shell regarding the way he is being "victimized" to the tune of being paid 20 million over 5 years while allowed to sabotage this team like a block of C-4 is NFLPA CEO, Gene Upshaw.

Am I the only one inhabiting the Planet Delusiono these days, or do Upshaw and Shell go together like peanut butter and jelly?

Isn't complaining to Upshaw about Shell basically the same thing as complaining to Shell about Upshaw? Last time I checked, Art and Gene are like two halves of the same coin - heads and tails - Tackle and Guard.

Apparently Pouter either doesn't know a d@mn thing about Raider history or he just chooses to ignore it in his, "Can't you see there is a 'ME' in the word 'TEAM' if you just rearrange the letters?" Pouter way.

One thing is certain. We hold this truth to be self-evident:

It is time to call the man with the big butterfly net and shoot Pouter with a tranquilizer dart full of the stuff that makes a hippo drop like Courtney Love on a dope binge.

Mr. Porter, now the question is not "Who the f@$% do you think YOU are?"...

Now the question is, "Who the blamin' blue Beelzebub do you think Gene Upshaw is?!?"

He played next to Arthur Shell for over a decade there, Captain Insano.

"As for Porter's current mindset, we can only extrapolate from the T-shirt he wore (at the practice field) Wednesday afternoon.

It pictured two disembodied hands; the first was flipping a middle finger, the second was pointing outward at anyone who might be looking."

Read more here on Porter's PMS.

Read more here on the Raiders possibly benching Porter.

"WR Jerry Porter, who's back on the field now that his calf injury has healed, worked primarily with the second team." Read more here.

A sticky thanks to VA Raiderfan for tipping us off to this development.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Deport 'Em

"Jerry Porter, who the f@&! do you think you are?"
~Art Shell

As Nancy Gay reported this morning, Jerry Porter is pulling a Corporal Klinger trying to get out of the M*A*S*H unit by requesting a Section 8.

Instead of wearing ladies' fashion to get tossed out, Porter opted to show up to work this morning wearing his Ric Flair bling, bling: a genuine bozo costume encrusted with cubic zirconium dollar signs.

I got news for ya Sunshine:

Remember when Philip Buchanon showed up to training camp in his sooperfly pimp suit made of shiny Playboy Bunnies straight off a trucker's mud flap? How did that one work out, Jerry?

Unfortunately, there is no Charley Casserly left in Houston stoopid enough to trade Porter to, as the Raiders did with Lifetime Buchanon.

As for showing off the six-pack abs:

Remember when Terrell Owens did sit-ups in the yard for a crowd of reporters? How did that one work out, Jerry?

You are quickly gaining the reputation of being a malcontent troublemaker, and you don't even have a 1,000 yard season or nary a Pro Bowl to back it up like T.O. does.

One piece of advice to you, Mr. Porter, in all seriousness...

I will never forget Howie Long describing how Art Shell, in his first term as Raider HC, tired of Chester McGlockton half-@ssing it through practice once again... lined up across from Chester Cheetos, fired out of his stance... and flattened 'em in front of the whole entire team.

The piece of advice is this: know your role. The Raiders drafted a fat, drunk, Polish Kicker before you. This is your estimated worth in the Raiders' eyes.

This is not Mr. Turner's Neighborhood anymore and you won't treated like a man in life if you act like you're back in elementary school this time. Do not make the mistake of confusing Art Shell with Sgt. Schultz.

To be the man, you gotta beat the man. You aren't even the best WR from West Virginia on this team, Mr. Porter.

Randy Moss is.

You are expendable, Mr. Porter, to the tune of Gabriel, Curry, Morant, Francis, Whitted, and a cast of thousands hoping to stick in training camp.

You have the chance to learn something from the examples of Lifetime Buchanon, Turd Owens, and Chester Cheetos. Take that chance. Learn the Raider Way while it is being offered to you, or go out like they did. Freddie B. knows the Raider Way, so take his sticky hand, my friend.

In my opinion, it is long past time to hand Porter a one way ticket to the Arena League - after all, arenas are where clowns do their best work under the big top - and deport 'em.

If the Raiders can get a RB to back up Lamont Jordan or a DT to clog up the lanes in return for his deportation, I say pull the trigger on Mr. Porter's Raider green card.

In the meantime, Mr. Porter, this is what your new jersey number "5150" stands for.

A sticky thanks to Cavlarysword for the tip on the Slogan's Heroes website where the above shirt is available to add to your wardrobe.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Inheriting The Raider Way - Commentary

Al Davis has said, "My dream was to build the finest organization in professional sports." Many would argue he has succeeded.

The question is, will The Raider Way continue after his passing (Davis' mother, Rose, lived for a century, indicating Al has a lot left in the tank genetically speaking), and whom will he entrust with the organization some day?

While I would like nothing more than to see Al Davis own the Raiders for decades to come, the reality is, no one can cheat death - not even Mr. Allen Mark Davis.

Now, we all know no one will ever be able to "replace" Al Davis (for who could ever look as good in a white jump suit?) as owner, general manager, and some say de facto coach of the Raiders.

Who could possibly represent the legal expertise, football knowledge, and business acumen he possesses?

As Kawakami correctly deduces in his cogent article (I have been formulating a similar article as a progression from Happy Al Day --> Pocket Fulla Shells --> Inheriting the Raider Way, but Mr. Kawakami beat me to the punch) the only logical answer is to divide the responsibilities one future day.

In my opinion, Mark Davis might very well be the owner/sole general partner (family loyalty takes priority here).

After stints as a HOF Left Tackle; Offensive Line Coach of the Raiders, Chiefs, and Falcons; Head Coach for the Raiders; as well as a sojourn as NFL Senior Vice President for Football Operations, Art Shell is uniquely qualified to manage this team having gained experience and understanding at all levels of the game – player, coach, and league executive.

In a way, Shell’s experience mirrors Davis’ history of being Head Coach, AFL Commissioner, and Managing General Partner. Shell's recently signed agreement is reported to be a "lifetime" contract with some provisions for after his coaching tenure...and most importantly, Art knows The Raider Way.

Amy Trask understands the rigors of owner's meetings, having represented The Godfather many times. She can handle the legal aspects, as she is Davis' presence in the courtroom. Trask's loyalty is unquestioned, as she started her Raider gig as an assistant in the copy room before going on to law school. Trask has been brought up The Raider Way.

The main problem I envision is replacing Al Davis' eye for talent. While personnel man Mike Lombardi has done an admirable job managing the cap and deserves any credit attributed to him, a Ron Wolf-esque talent evaluator still would be required to complement Lombardi and address the loss of Al Davis' input.

The names of two HOF Raiders with executive credentials come to mind: Mike Haynes and Gene Upshaw.

Haynes is currently NFL VP of Player/Employee Development. One of his main duties is organizing the NFL Rookie Symposium. As seen here rookie “O” lineman, Chris Morris, was paying attention to Haynes. Morris scored off the charts as did the Raider draft picks as a whole at the Symposium, taking “Best Team” honors.

Hence; Haynes is uniquely qualified to evaluate players, especially in the area of character, after having been involved as a league executive in charge this task.

It was Mike Haynes who made the call to Al Davis suggesting he consider Art Shell as head coach once again. Could Mike Haynes be the Raiders’ answer to HOF TE Ozzie Newsome, undoubtedly one of the best personnel men in the NFL judging by the Ravens’ draft successes?

Upshaw is currently Executive Director of the NFL Players Association and is a HOF Guard as well. A natural politician, Upshaw was one of the keystones of hammering out the latest Collective Bargaining Agreement (as was Al Davis).

While Upshaw’s political aspirations may lead him to be a governor or senator one day (he’s from Texas, which seems to be a good thing for an individual’s political career), perhaps he would heed the call as well...if Al needed/asked him to do so.

A tandem of Shell and Upshaw as Raider executives would be as fearsome a foe as the left side of the Raider O-line they manned side-by-side from 1968-1981.

Al Davis is known as a “players owner”. Why not have the foremost player representatives in the NFL today as part of the organization as well? Davis has employed Freddie B., Mr. Raider Jim Otto, and Old Man Willie for years. Loyalty to his HOFer players runs deep with Davis.

The Raiders' current streak of losses can be in part attributed to Davis' decisions to listen to outside influences when making decisions. Ally Jerry Jones recommends Norv Turner. Long-time friend Bill Walsh recommends Mike White.

We have seen the results when Al Davis listens to those outside the organization who don't understand the way things are done when he goes outside the Raider circle of trust...

Hayes and Upshaw are executive material, they understand loyalty, and most importantly they understand The Raider Way. What role will these two continue to play in returning the Raiders organization to greatness? That is the question Mr. Kawakami did not address, and it is the one I pose to the nation of Raider fanatics now.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Sticky Pick: In the Pink

Yes, I know, seeing the Raider shield in pink seems a bit sacrilegious at first. But hold on to your hat, there is a good cause for the shield being in the pink.

In this case, it is breast cancer.

This Reebok NFL Pink Ribbon Cap is one way my significant other shows her support for the Raiders. A portion of the proceeds from sales goes to fund breast cancer research. There's a pink ribbon on the back, the universal symbol for showing your support.

Click on the above image to see an enlarged view.

While I tend to look like Johnny Cash (THE Man In Black, R.I.P.) every day and twice on Sundays, she says she just has to have more colors in her wardrobe than Silver'n'Black. Makes no sense to me...but then, what I know about women's fashion comes from reading the Victoria's Secret catalog.

We do both agree on this one though; no question it is The Raider Way to show your love for the team and the folks you know affected by cancer at the same time.

She says, "It matches my purse too!" whatever that means...

Sticky Picks are items I suggest you jump on like Lester Hayes on a lazily thrown INT waiting to happen. The gear endorsed is owned and tested personally, and it just raidiates, baby!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Raise The Black Flag

A big, warm, fuzzy "Gracias" to all those who have helped me become the semi-sane writer I am today. Just be aware, once you get a Stick'em bear hug, it's hard to tear yourself loose from all the sticky goo involved...

1. The Incredible Mr. Tibbs - when I first read this man's columns on Raidernews, I was literally unable to get through an entire one without stopping several times to laugh out loud. Tears in my eyes from cracking up made the words blurry more than once. Last I heard he was Razing Arizona.

Tibbs: your rapier wit cuts my funny bone at the humerus every time, brother!

2. Ore Raider- the first person who ever thought I could write my way out of a paper bag well enough to be a Raidernews columnist.

Ore: Thank you for believing in me and giving me my first shot. You have my loyalty.

3. Tenacious P - my gratitude for your gifts of focus and encouragement.

Craig: You have been an editor and true friend, and are the first Raider fanatic I know of to have a book published to boot. Much love, and here's believing you will pass the test.

4. Ally Oop - probably the most positive Raider fanatic I have ever known. Eloquent in word, artistic of song, and Raider to the marrow.

Ally: You have a friend and ally for life here.

5. Raider Take - probably the most professional Raider writer I have ever known. This guy simply set the paradigm for Raider blogs.

Sean: You inspire me to be a better writer every day.

6. Fans in Black - undoubtedly collectively the most informed and intelligent group of fans gathered in one place.

All the posters on F.I.B.: Thanks for keeping me old school, yet up to speed. Q, you started it all, 'nuff said.

7. Uncle Big Mike - at least there is one man I know who will read everything I write and get the jokes.

UBM: Muchas gracias for your loyalty and give that Korean in Ory-gun a sticky hug for treating you much better than you deserve.

8. Calico Jack - your colors run Silver'n'Black and your lasting piratehood is assured.

Chris: We will raise the black flag!

There are too many good folks for my memory-impaired noggin to name you all here, but the biggest shout outs of all go to Godfather Al Davis, for constantly keeping his eye on the Lombardi, and to my father, who is the man I hope to become one day.

Thus endeth the blubbery group hug. Now back to your regularly scheduled programming of mayhem, mirth, and raidiation.

Thanks to all the readers for indulging me until the real action begins - Raider Sundays!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Engraved Invitation

Tired of going to yet another friend's summer wedding? Can't take looking through another gift registry for the happy couple at Pottery Barn, where there is nothing much Silver'n'Black to choose from?

Well, The 66th Mob is having a family-friendly, barnburnin' hootenanny throwdown of a shindiggin' jamboree to get your Raider on while we’re all waiting for training camp to start!

Here is your engraved invitation to the celebration.

Wearing your Raiderween costume is optional, but black gear is highly recommended and considered appropriate attire for the occasion.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Sticky Pick: Men In Black

Sticky Picks are items I suggest you jump on like Lester Hayes on a lazily thrown INT waiting to happen. The gear endorsed is owned and tested personally and just raidiates, baby!

I wore my original Real Men Wear Black T-shirt for a decade, until my significant other finally pointed out that there was more hole than T-shirt left after so many years of wear and tear.

Luckily, I replaced it with a new one, since Raider Image has recently made this style available once more.

Check out the Men T-shirt or if you have guns like Howie Long, the sleeveless version.

Get one of these Real Women Wear Black if your significant other indulges your Raider fetish more easily when you buy her one too (or even better, she's a Raider fan too).

If you have little ones you are bringing up The Raider Way, check out the Real Kids Wear Black version.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

With Pockets Full of Shells

"They rally round the family,
With pockets full of shells."

Bulls on Parade
~Rage Against the Machine

Last time we reminded ourselves Al Davis constructed the biggest single-season turnaround in AFL/NFL history. But that was 1963.

This photo shows what the current Raider coach, Arthur Shell, was doing in '63. Art was an All-American tackle at Maryland Eastern Shore College, looking ready for battle, yet also looking a bit odd wearing #73. The evidence clearly shows Shell had absolutely nothing to do with the miraculous Raider recovery of '63.

So why should anyone believe Coach Shell is capable of turning this Raider team around now, this season, in the present, the year 2006?

To predict what may happen this season, let's look at Shell's performance when he took over for Mike Shanahan in his first tour of duty as HC of the Raiders. Shell inherited a Raiders team in complete disarray. Shanahan had posted an 8-12 record by the time he was given the pointed end of Al Davis' black boot early in the '89 season.

The team was rebelling - after all, that is what Raiders do - to Shanahan's inane rules. "You can't sit on your helmets on the sidelines!" Shanahan dictated to them.

Shanahan obviously never heard of Dave Casper. When Casper had gone to the Oilers for a brief sojourn in Houston, the coach there dictated the players wear their helmets at all times on the practice field. Casper, having grown up The Raider Way, decided to wear his Riddell 24/7. The Ghost showered with his helmet, slept in his helmet, and ate at the training table through his facemask in protest.

You see, Shanahan was "green as the grass" in understanding The Raider Way. The Raider Way, as espoused by Shells coaching mentor, HOFer John Madden, is as follows:

1. Be on time. You can't do things as a team if the whole team isn't present.
2. Pay attention. Listen to what I'm telling you to do, and you will understand what we are doing.
3. Play like hell when I tell you to. This is self-explanatory.

That's it. Those are the Raider rules. No curfews. No "you can't date the cheerleaders". No silly helmet laws imposed like we are riding our Harleys down Route 66 with CHiPs following.

Shell, being Shanahan's offensive line coach, quickly rallied the team as a family. The '89 team started 1-3 under Shanahan and finished 7-5 under Shell. In his first full season, Shell improved the morale and Raider performance to a 12-4 mark and was named AFC Coach of the Year.

So we see, implementing the Raider Way, Arthur Shell worked a minor miracle his first time around. This is why I tell you it can happen again.

But don't just take my word for it or listen to ancient history, let us document what Shell himself has said. In this way, if the '06 Raiders do not perform as he says they will, we can hold him accountable. After all, Shell's main goal is holding the players accountable for executing their jobs; it follows he should lead by example and be held accountable himself for his execution.

A complete transcript of the statements Arthur Shell made as he was hired to be the fifteenth head coach in Raider history can be found by clicking here.

If you'd rather watch than read, video of the press conference can be found by clicking here.

These are the documented statements Art and Al made, for which we hold them accountable:

"We will come back. I say to the Raider players, to the Raider fans, to the Raider ex-players and even to you, the press, we'll get that back. It may take us a short while but we'll get that nastiness of the Raiders back. That's one of the reasons I'm going to depend on the great Art Shell to help us get that done.

We've gotta run the football better; we've gotta run it with toughness. We can't be a reach football team. This guy knows what I'm talking about, about toughness running the football.

It'll make our quarterback better. It'll make our pass protection better, and that's one of the things I'm strong on. We've gotta run that football better, we've gotta run it tougher, and people have to understand that they're gonna get knocked... Not what we call zone blocking.

We have good players now. We have a lot of great players now. We really do. And we'll see if we can make them perform."

~Mr. Davis

"I'm coming home to finish what I started. I never left the game of football. When the job opened up, I wanted to be a part of it because I felt that my organization, our football team, needs me. And I felt I could help.

There are certain standards that are very high. The expectations are high. I understand that. The players have to understand that and every coach in the whole building has to understand that. We 're all in this thing together. We can get this done, but it starts with me as far as the football part is concerned. I have to set the tone. I expect to set the tone.

Coaches are gonna be held accountable and players are gonna be held accountable. But it's gonna be a tough-love thing for me. We're gonna get this thing turned right. We're gonna create the type of attitude that we're all looking for in the Raider organization, that our ex-players have come to expect, that our fans have come to expect. We've got great fans. We've got great fans all over the world.

I have to come in here, and I have to show them the way. The Raider Way. Everybody has a way of doing things. The Raiders have a way of doing things. We're about winning. And we will win. We will be tough. We will be power. And I want the ability - as always - to strike from any place on the football field.

The game of football comes right down to blocking and tackling. Schemes? Everybody's talking about how this stuff is on the cutting edge; zone blitzes are in, those types of things.

But it's still football.

Look at the team that won the Super Bowl. Pittsburgh and Seattle played in the Super Bowl. What did they do? They run the football tough. They strike with play-action passes down the field. They play tough defense. And what's different from then - from back when we played and back when I coached - up until now?

Those things are consistent: stop the run, run the football and strike deep. That's what I believe in.

Those things work. I know they work. I've been involved in it. I know how to win. I know how to lead. I expect that we will have the kind of success that this organization deserves. We can't settle for anything less. And that's my job, to come in here and show the way.

It's how you work. It's how you practice. And it starts in the offseason.

When you walk out there, into that stadium, you walk out there with a presence. Mr. Davis called it a "swagger.” Yeah, a swagger. You walk out there with a presence.

And I just want to get back to the point where when we walk into a stadium, they know the Raiders are in town. And when we walk into the Coliseum, the Raiders are here. And we're gonna play in Black Bottom — we used to call it "Black Bottom" back in the day - now they call it the "Black Hole".

That's our home field. That's our home. You can't come in our backyard and win. We've gotta create that attitude, and that's what I expect to do.

Words don't get it done. It's actions."

~Coach Shell

These are the promises we have been made by the Raiders organization. If they are not delivered, the Raider Nation has the right to be angry as rabid howler monkeys throwing their own feces through the bars of their cages at the Oakland Zoo...

If/when they are delivered, it will be time to celebrate the dominance of the Raiders with Black Bottom shooters and Lombardis...

But for the present, I ask you to remember the words Mr. Allen Davis spoke when he hired Art Shell for his first tenure: "I hire Art not because he is black, but because he is Silver'n'Black."

For the present, I ask you to rally the family, 'round the man Arthur Shell.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Happy Al Davis Day!

Al Davis inspires me to be better every day than I was the day before."
~Amy Trask, Raiders Executive

The signed photo accompanying this piece hangs on the wall in my office for the same reason Trask is a part of the Raider organization.

This image of Al, young and full of vision, inspires me to believe that if I have an iota of the single-mindedness and determination Allen Mark Davis has shown in building what is considered by many the greatest organization in professional sports, then I too can achieve things most folks would not think possible of me.

The Al Davis story is unique (as far as I know) amongst owners of major professional sports teams today. Davis parlayed the experience he gained being an offensive backs coach with Sid Gillman's AFL Chargers into a head coach/ general manager position with the Oakland Raiders. But this is not the unique part of the story, for many assistants go on to be head coaches or general mangers elsewhere.

What is unique is the then-owners of the Raiders (in particular, general partner Ed McGah) saw the influence Davis had as a coach and his potential for greatness. Davis almost single-handedly turned around a miserable franchise owning a horrid record of 1-13 prior to Davis' coming on board.

For proper perspective, keep in mind that '62 Raider team with the 1-13 record was only one loss away from preceding the Steve Spurrier '76 Tampa Bay team as the ONLY AFL/NFL team to ever undergo an entire season without winning a single game. That's how bad things were in Oakland. Before Al Davis (B.A.D.), the situation was as terrible as has ever been any where at any time in the history of the AFL/NFL.

The next season, with Allen Davis as captain of the ship, the team executed the biggest turnaround in the history of the AFL/NFL, winning nine more games than they had the previous season by going 10-4. No other AFL/NFL team has ever made a nine win improvement in a single season. Not surprisingly, Davis won AFL Coach of the Year. What is surprising is that he did it with basically the same personnel as had posted the abysmal mark the previous season.

You see, by '63, the Raiders inept beginnings had put the team in a position where they had no draft picks higher than the 6th round. No draft picks and yet nine more do the math and figure out who was responsible for the turnaround to end all turnarounds.

The uniqueness of the story is Al Davis, 2006, has become the sole general partner of this team and owns a majority of the team's shares (Davis recently settled out-of-court with the family of Ed McGah) after staring out with the team as a coach, without initially investing any real money of his own.

When Davis was originally made a general partner of the team, he "bought" his shares with credit. In essence, the bottom line is the Raiders paid him to become the general manager/partner (translated = owner) as part of his contract because the organization was in disasterously dire straits without his input.

Who else has done this in professional sports?

No one is saying Al is infallible or any thing more than a human being like the rest of us.

Al Davis has made his mistakes in this life; moving the team to LA in search of luxury boxes in '81 and firing Art Shell as head coach when he moved the team back to Oakland in '94 are two of them. Hiring Norv Turner resulting in the last two seasons of utter embarrassment we have all felt in our souls is another Al Davis error.

But please understand, if I seem to be under the influence of some strange hallucinogenic when I say, "I believe Al Davis can do it again!" it is because he has done it before. Yes, the fans are not used to three straight losing seasons, and it hurts. But the reason we are not used to three straight losing seasons is we've never experienced it since B.A.D.

Say I drink the "Al Davis Kool-Aid" if you will. Accuse me of wearing myopic "Silver'nBlack sunglasses" if you feel the urge to purge your bitterness.

But it's not just on the 4th of July - Mr. Davis' birthday - that I believe...

Allen Davis' image inspires me every day to live the way he has. With loyalty, intention, and cojones the size of Machiavelli.

As an ally once advised me, "Nail your colors to the mast."

Well here they are, nailed to the cathedral door like Martin Luther on a mission:

"I'm on Al's side. And my colors don’t run. They are Silver’n’Black, baby!"

Al Davis has done more in his football lifetime than anyone else you can name. If not, name the one who has....

No one is more qualified to own and manage a professional football team than Allen Davis. If they are, give me their name...

I have seen Al Davis make chickensalad
out of chicken$hit before, and I expect… no, I know, it can happen again.

*Note: For other celebrations of Al Davis Day (known to non-Raider fanatics as The Fourth of July)

check out Raider Take's Al Davis Birthday Haiku

Here is a haiku I wrote for the occasion, inspired by RT:

A thousand white jump
suits hang in a closet; Al
Davis is Elvis

check out Calico Jack's The American Dream

check out one I wrote for Al's 75th Birthday on Raidernews Born on the Fourth of July

and check out Anthony Carroll's An Ever Momentous Date in Raider Nation

We all have the same message: Happy Birthday, Mr. Davis!