By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Friday, January 1st, 2010 at 1:26 am in Oakland Raiders.
Returning from a New Year’s Eve Party less than an hour after midnight shows my age, I guess.
A handful of Raiders fans were there, including the hosts. Even their dog was named `Raider.’
It was almost like a chat, not that I minded with an open bar plus a craps table and a blackjack table available for entertainment purposes only.
The condensed version of my Raiders-related responses: Cable goes, JaMarcus stays, Gruden isn’t coming back.
Thanks for your interest in the past year, whether you agree with me or not, whether I meet your informational standards or not . . .
The biggest Raiders moment of the last decade was the “Tuck Rule” game. Yes, the Raiders got a raw deal. And it would have never happened if they’d have converted third-and-1 with Zack Crockett, if Adam Vinatieri hadn’t hit a miracle field goal, and the Raiders hadn’t wilted in the face of Walt Coleman.
It not only led to a Raiders loss, but set up a timeline in which Jon Gruden was available by trade to Tampa Bay, which just happened to be the opponent which mopped up the Raiders in the Super Bowl.
Best moment of the decade? The sound of the Coliseum when Tory James set sail on a 90-yard interception return for a touchdown in the playoffs against Miami, which ignited a 27-0 win and signified the Raiders as having officially returned to relevance.
The Raiders were back in their old Oakland glory, if only for awhile.
Everything pales after Walt Coleman, because of what it meant and the sequence of events that followed.
Gruden was gone, Bruce Allen was soon to follow. Rich Gannon was injured, and Al Davis flailed as if he were thrown off a high dive and didn’t know how to swim. Most moves made in desperation failed, with the Raiders currently residing at or near the bottom of the NFL ocean.
Here’s hoping Davis recognizes his way isn’t working and hands over the reins to a capable replacement or suddenly rediscovers what it takes to build a winning team. Cynic that I am, the guess is neither is forthcoming in in the immediate future.
Either way, the number of empty seats is evidence enough it’s about time he realizes the problem.
Not exactly an uplifting year-ender, I realize. Hope to be writing something much different a year from now, explaining the error of my ways.