The Raiders were once proud and prolific franchise that in past decades captured the hearts of rebels, renegades and castoffs all over the world. That was before the NFL became a structured business that leveled the playing field for all teams.
Since then, the Raiders have failed to modernize and change with the times, a practice that they got away with successfully in the past. Unfortunately for them, the 2009 version of the NFL is a highly-competitive environment that requires each team to operate under a cutting-edge business model, or suffer the consequences.
The Raiders and their owner, Al Davis, have refused to upgrade to that model and are now suffering the consequences.
Once upon a time. the motto of this franchise was "A Commitment to Excellence". Now, there doesn't seem to be much of a commitment to anything or anyone. Many fans and followers are questioning the direction of the organization and the competence of Davis as both owner and general manager.
The NFL is designed to assist poor-performing teams improve quickly by providing optimum placement in the amateur draft, a balanced schedule based on competition and a salary cap.
Since the Raiders appeared in the Super Bowl in January 2003, they have lost 75 of the 100 games they have played, never winning more than five games in a season and setting an NFL record with six consecutive seasons of 11 or more losses.
The Raiders have drafted poorly (based on Davis' penchant for speedy players) and squandered a fortune on marginal and overrated free-agents. In addition, Davis has alienated every talented coach he has hired (five in the last seven years ot be exact), resulting in resignations or firings. The current head coach is Tom Cable, who has a long coaching resume, but is believed to be under the heavy hand of Davis. Cable, it is alleged, punched an assistant earlier this season, breaking his jaw. The case is still under investigation.
From a business standpoint, Davis has not capitalized on his unique brand in the fashion of other owners (such as Jerry Jones and Bob Kraft). The Raiders' clandestine isolationism has actually diminished the brand, dropping them to the bottom rung of the NFL's financial ladder. At last glance, the Raiders were the 28th most valuable franchise in the NFL. That's out of thirty-two, for those of you who are counting.