When Al Davis gambles the NFL wins


Amid all the hyperbolic talk of the Oakland Raiders being led to the edge of irrelevancy like lemmings by owner Al Davis is an obvious fact hiding in plain sight: The Raiders are very profitable.

Among all the NFL franchises, very few have the worldwide exposure of the Raiders. It is safe to say that there are more Raider fans in England than there are Houston Texan fans in the United States.

Davis is unlike any owner in all of professional sports. His football roots give him a perspective no other millionaire turned sports fanatic can match. Jerry Jones was never the commissioner of a major sports league. Mark Cuban has never coached a professional team that achieved the highest goal possible.

However, it is not his success alone that makes Mr. Davis and his beloved team such a sports landmark; it is his failures as well.

Since the Cleveland Browns have returned to the NFL, they’ve been an unholy mess not even the Pope himself would fix his eyes on. However, it is the fall of the Raiders that is discussed on a daily basis.

When the Kansas City Chiefs made the biggest reach of the 2009 draft by selecting LSU defensive end Tyson Jackson third overall, not one person batted an eye. As soon as Roger Goodell announced Darrius Heyward-Bey as the seventh pick in the draft, the sports world was turned on its head as every media outlet in the country was given a topic to plaster across its headlines and discuss ad nauseam for weeks to follow.

Mr. Davis has never been one to listen to the consensus; he does things his own way. His maverick practices are the reason the world still keeps a keen eye on all things Raider related.

JaMarcus Russell updates are daily fodder for the blogosphere. When J-Russ floats an errant pass in May, it is instant inspiration for writers, reporters and fans alike to get emotional about. Nobody cares about Matthew Stafford’s physique, but Russell’s is the talk of the sports nation.

The Oakland Raiders are not the franchise they once were. There has not been a Lombardi added to the trophy case since the team returned to Oakland. Mediocre coach after mediocre coach has been hired and then dismissed by Mr. Davis. Six years of sorrow have left Raider fans wondering if there will ever be a time when losing is not the norm.

For the NFL, the success and failure of the Raiders is inconsequential. Either way, the league profits whenever Al Davis makes moves.

Disney can’t get enough of the Raiders. They use every chance they get to lampoon them. The irony is that a lot of that Disney money that went into the NFL’s pocket for broadcasting rights has also found its way into the pockets of Al Davis.  

Professional sports are a bottom line business. No matter what you hear debated, at the end of the day, the business must be profitable. If you know your history, then you must also know that the gambles of Al Davis have helped make professional football a billion dollar industry in North America alone. Imagine if the game was played globally.

Most will just chalk his rolls of the dice up to his age and diminished stature. Others will claim that his ego is leading the charge. There is some truth to be found in these statements, but the fact is that the Oakland Raiders are still a ratings bonanza for the NFL and all the members of the media.

The Buffalo Bills sold their souls to the devil to gain a little attention. It is only a matter of time until Terrell Owens departs Orchard Park taking his TV cameras with him. Mr. Davis has created a similar stir with a receiver who has yet to play a single NFL game. All eyes are on Heyward-Bey.al_davis_super

Perhaps you will consider this Raider Rhetoric, simply passing my writings off as myopic propaganda. That’s fine by me, I don’t need the validation, but Roger Goodell does. Why else would he have requested that the two biggest train wrecks in the NFL meet on Thanksgiving Day in 2009? Perhaps Goodell is as big a fool as Al Davis. The ratings are sure to tell something much different when millions worldwide tune in to watch the Cowboys and Raiders lock horns as an entire nation pauses from its turkey chewing to see the drama unfold.

Raider fans can still watch their favorite team playing in primetime despite a hideous half decade while fans in Cleveland salivate over one Monday Night appearance in the same amount of time. Imagine what a successful Raider team would do to the NFL’s primetime schedule.

Call the Raiders a circus all you want, just know that the circus isn’t free. You have to pay in order to get a good view of the three rings in Oakland. If not at the gate, then you’ll feel that tug on your wallet when you purchase the Sunday Ticket or when it’s time to reup with Sports Illustrated. Mr. Davis thanks you for your donation.

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Tags: Al Davis, Oakland Raiders, Raider Nation, Fans, Popular, Featured Darrius Heyward-Bey JaMarcus Russell Jerry Jones Mark Cuban Matthew Stafford Roger Goodell Terrell Owens Tyson Jackson

  • http://Raidernews Phillip

    It amazes me the number of things that have to be brought up(other than wins) for Raider fans to feel good about there team,unfortunately you use Al Davis,a man who for years especially after the lsat Super Bowl has turned this team into a joke of a franchise just so Big Al can continualy try and prove that he’s right and mostly out of spite.You mentioned poor coaches….who hired those poor coaches?I see yet another double digit losing season,and this will continue until Al is GONE.

  • Phillip

    No Doubt the NFL is a better league when the Raiders are good. It’s the Raiders against the NFL and always has been. When the raiders are good, they fill the away stadiums, people want to get a glimpse of the hated Raiders or the bad boy’s of the NFL.

    There is much hate for the raiders, so of course when the raiders are down they are going to get kicked around. The Raiders are on their way up and this 6 years losing steak will come to a end this year.

    It’s not who they drafted this year that will make the raiders winners, it has to do with who they drafted over the last 3 to 2 years that will make the difference. And that will prove AL Davis still has it.

  • Manuel Ramirez

    Raider fans have endured a lot of losing since the team moved back to Oakland, we’ve to talk about the history and what we as an NFL team continue to do for this league.

    Although, there is a lot more optimism coming out of Oakland the last couple of years and heading into this season than there ever has been since Gruden arrived back in 1998.

    Russell, McFadden, Bush, Neal, O’Neal, Miller, Heyward-Bey, Schilens, Higgins, Murphy, and the defensive squad are all things to be excited about for the future of this franchise.

    It finally feels good to be optimistic for once, in Raider Nation.

  • raiderchris56

    Very well written article, you did a good job. I must agree that the NFL would not look the same today if Al Davis were never a part of it. So the question now becomes, will the Raiders remain the Raiders when Al Davis is gone? Ponder that thought and get back to us. I’d love to see an article of that nature… TY

  • JSpicoli

    Well done. I love the reaction from some fringe fan (most of the NFL fans out there) when they discover I’m a Raider fan….”Ewwwwww, how can you be a Raider fan? I haaaaaate them” I then calmy ask them WHY they hate the Raiders and they have about as much substance as air. They don’t know, they are just programmed by the mediots and years of this “Al Davis is bad” talk.

    I actually pity them, not because they don’t like me team, but because they are missing out as a fan by having their thoughts input by the likes of Disney.

  • http://Raidernews Phillip

    The likes of Disney ???? How about crap football ,and even crappier drafts led by a egomaniacle windbag ,I was born and raised in Oakland and have been a fan for 35 years……with Al davis trust me I’ve seen enough.

  • RaiderLuftwaffe

    I remember trying to “hand off” a signed ball to Davis back in 1995 (Seattle) Thursday night game.

    I nearly had my arm broke for my efforts.

    You have no idea who you are dealing with.


  • matthew

    Nicely put, great read. What is the disney reference though?

  • Chris Shellcroft

    Thanks Matthew!

    The “Disney” reference relates to a certain four letter sports networks whose name is never mentioned around these parts.

    Phillip, all I can say is that this article was not meant to praise Al Davis as much as it was just to show how important everything he does is to the football world. If Heyward-Bey becomes a baller then AD sets a new trend, if he becomes a bust then Davis has once again set another lowly standard as well. There is no inbetween with Mr. Davis. He’s all or nothing. Hence the “gambler”.