Ok, let’s get the jokes out of the way now.
Al Davis: “Who’s there?”
Yes, Al Davis finally has Cable. Why did he hire Cable? Well because there was no coach available whose last name was “Dish Network“. Alright, enough!
ESPN News is reporting that the ink on Tom Cable’s contract with the Oakland Raiders could be dry before the day’s end. Of course, as we all know, Mr. Davis loves to stick it to ESPN, so chances are he will interview 5 more candidates before announcing Cable as head coach just to make their report false…again. Apparently, it took Cable a couple of months to walk from his office to see Al Davis, so during his wait Mr. Davis interviewed a few dozen candidates.
Seriously, I think Cable is the right hire. Maybe he’s not the sexy name like Parcells or Cowher and his 4-8 record as interim coach last year doesn’t exactly scream instant success, but Cable did what no coach has done in Oakland since Chucky left: he got them to show some heart and play with passion.
Under Cable, the Raiders ended the season with consecutive victories over the Texans and the Buccaneers. It was the first time a Raider team has ended the season with back to back wins since 2002, which also was the last time we saw the Silver and Black in the Super Bowl. To put this in perspective, the Raiders winning consecutive games at season’s end would be the equivalent of the Lions winning a game at any point in the season.
So maybe I’m drawing some unfair parallels here. Maybe those two big wins to end the year were just an apparition. Maybe it means nothing and come this time next year we’ll be having the same discussion over who will be head coach in Oakland, again, for the fifth year in a row. But as someone who watches every Raider game, I can tell you first hand that the team I saw in Tampa on the last day of the regular season was one I hardly recognized. Sure, they were wearing Raider uniforms and they had a Raider logo on their helmets, but they played like a team that was very un-Raider like, at least in recent years. They played with passion and they came back to Oakland with a sense of pride knowing that they had a hand in exercising the demons of Chucky that were circling this franchise like the paparazzi hovering over Britney Spears. Cable got into the heads of the players and demanded more from them. He inspired them to play with their hearts on their sleeves and to leave everything on the field. If you don’t think that goes a long way, ask any Cowboy fan how they fell about the way their team ended the season.