Originally posted on NBC Bay Area  |  Last updated 1/11/12
While the rest of the NFL was moving swiftly into the second decade of the 21st century, the Oakland Raiders remained a throwback to the days of the AFL. As the 2011 season began, Al Davis remained the man in charge, just as he’d been in the 1960s, '70s and '80s. The Raiders and Davis were one in the same. Everything that happened – from uniform design to contracts and media statements -- went through Davis. He was the feudal lord, hiring (and firing) coaches, making personnel moves, moving his franchise up and down the state of California and still making decisions with his gut and his football mind. But it was a franchise run by feel and instinct rather than organizational structure, cost-benefit analysis and a deep front office full of diverse voices. The Raiders hadn’t been to the playoffs since the 2002 season, and the head coaching job had become a carousel of failure. As Lynn Zinser of the New York Times wrote, “The Raiders have been the league’s unintentional reality show fo...
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