Saturday, February 11, 2006

It's Art Shell

It’s long been hard to imagine who was more stuck in the past—UCLA hoops or the Oakland Raiders. To the Bruins credit, when they hired Ben Howland a few years ago, Walt Hazzard was not a candidate.

That leaves the Raiders who proved that you can go home again (which they literally did in 1995) with the hiring of Art Shell. But this is a good thing. Even ugly people need love, too. Shell drew minimal interest as a head coach after the Raiders fired him in 1995. Likewise, the Raiders couldn’t find anybody who wanted to coach the team. Even Mike Martz decided that he would rather work for Matt Millen than call plays for Al Davis. So this marriage is perfect in a dorks-in-love sort of way.

The hiring of Shell shows just how far the Raiders have fallen in recent years. Shell was dismissed after going 9-7 in 1994—a mark that would look pretty good to Raiders fans right now. Shell’s best season came in 1990 when he led the Raiders to a 12-4 mark.

Of course, the Raiders were destroyed, 51-3, in the AFC Championship Game. That’s a return to excellence right there.

Raiders fans will be quick to point out the 54-38 record Shell put up during his first term with the Raiders. But not everybody is myopic as some of the Koolade drinking Raider Nation. This is from our reader, Foo:

Let us not forget Shell’s final season: Predicted to go SB XXIX, the Raiders promptly get blown out in their first two games. Their defense, which had been so good in 1993, flounders under new coordinator John Fox, who Al brought in after he tried to demote coordinator Gunther Cunningham, the man responsible for the great play from 1993. Fox, of course, is distracted because he has knocked up one of the flight attendants on the Raiders team plane, which Al frowns upon. All the while Shell’s work ethic makes Bud Grant look like a workaholic (at least Grant won).

The season ends in perfect fashion. Needing a win over the Chiefs to make the playoffs, the Raiders completely dominate time of possession, move the ball at will, but cannot score (including an 18-play, 98-yard drive that took 11 minutes and netted nothing).

The good news for Raiders fans: Al is feeble, so maybe he will die soon. The bad news for Raider fans: Al’s mother lived to be 102. The worse news for LA: the Raiders are coming back in 2011.


Nice hire, guys.

5 comments:

Zach Landres-Schnur said...

who are those folks in the picutre? they look happy.

NFL Adam said...

It's Art Shell and Al Davis.

benny said...

Adam,
Your mom and dad look good in the picture.

NFL Adam said...

Maybe that's the source of all of my rage.

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