Oakland Raiders Inform Tony Sparano He Won’t be Head Coach


Oakland Raiders interim head coach for the majority of the 2014, Tony Sparano, lobbied hard for a chance at taking over the job longterm following a promising end to the season where he helped turn things around to the point that the team had three consecutive home victories to close down the year. Earning vocal support of the players, Sparano was adamant that he felt he had earned the chance to coach the Raiders in 2015 despite his lack of quality head coaching credentials save for his debut season with the Miami Dolphins.

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With owner Mark Davis and general manager Reggie McKenzie spending Tuesday interviewing Jack Del Rio with Sparano on-site still as the acting head coach as one of the few Raiders 2014 coaching staff members the writing appeared on the wall that with a second interview of the former Jaguars head coach that Sparano would be on the outs in Oakland soon enough.

That was confirmed early on Wednesday morning as Fallon Smith of CSN Bay Area reported that Sparano was informed that he will not be back as head coach of the Raiders for the 2015 season, effectively ending his bid for the job with the team on the verge of a Del Rio hire this week.

Sparano did an admirable job taking over for Dennis Allen in a difficult situation this season, keeping the Raiders competitive in addition to earning the respect of a locker room that easily could have divided with a mix of rookies and veterans who were on almost all non-guaranteed contracts. Wins over rivals Kansas City and San Francisco as well as a home finale win over the Buffalo Bills salvaged what was a terrible 3-13 year in Oakland which Sparano helped make a reality by keeping the Raiders locker room motivated to win for the fans as well as themselves.

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However Sparano wasn’t a deserving candidate for the Raiders job longterm as he has never reached success as a head coach in terms of the playoffs save for his debut season where he rode the Wildcat offense as far is it could go with the likes of Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams with the Miami Dolphins. After that point Sparano’s teams all had losing records and one playoff appearance in his first year as head coach wasn’t going to cut it for owner Mark Davis. At the end of the day Sparano did a good job keeping the Raiders from turning into a dumpster fire, but that just wasn’t enough for him to keep his job.

Expect Sparano to exit Oakland despite having one year on his contract and return to being an offensive line coach, something that he did excellently with the Raiders before stepping in as the interim HC. A veteran coach in the NFL ranks, Sparano won’t go long without finding a job as an assistant, but his head coaching days will probably be over once again after a brief yet memorable Raiders stint that saw two big victories that fans will cherish as the lone highlights of 2014 in Oakland.