CEO Amy trask (Photo by P.A. Patterson)
After looking back at the last five decades of Oakland Raider football, its time to use that to project there the team is headed. The team had a meteoric rise to the top, where they remained for two and a half decades, and it was followed by a precipitous drop mixed with struggles for the ensuing two and a half decades.
This is a three part series that chronicles the rise and fall of the Oakland Raiders: The rise, the fall, and the future. This third and final entry will focus on the future of the Oakland Raiders. The first entry told the story of their rise to the top of the football world from 1960-1983. The second entry chronicled the fall of the Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders from 1984, the season following their final Super Bowl win through the present day.
With the broader understanding of how the Raiders fell from their heights to their current chasm of losing, the future while hard to see is coming as a ghostly image.
The Rise and Fall of the Oakland Raiders Empire: Part III the Future
On the field
On the field, the Raiders have been the stuff of football follies for the past seven years. Whatever can go wrong has gone wrong. Can’t miss draft picks have failed. Coach after coach has failed to put the team on the right track. However, as was seen in this series, the last 25 years have been a period of decline.
In the immediate future, the team has to make decisions on what they are going to do with their last three number one picks: Darrius Heyward-Bey, Darren McFadden, and JaMarcus Russell, none of which have come near living up to expectations. They are also facing an uncertain 2010 offseason due to the uncapped year, and the potential for a work stoppage in 2011.
Beyond 2011 and the collective bargaining agreement, it is hard to say what the future will hold for the team. There is no way of knowing what future landscape of the NFL is going to look like.
Al Davis, Mark Davis, and the future of ownership
Throughout both the period that was the rise of the Oakland Raiders as well as the fall, Al Davis has been the one constant with the Raiders organization. The team and the fan base both reflect Davis’s visions of dominance and intimidation.
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- Changes in free agency explained
- 2010 Free Agent wish list offense
With Davis now 80, his time at the head of the Raiders is growing short. Much like any other absolute dictator throughout history, how his succession plays out is going to go a long way towards determining the fate of the team. Davis is the last of a kind, and when he either retires or passes away, there will be no remaining owners who rose through the ranks of the game. They will either be the scions of ownership families like the Rooneys or the Bidwells or billionaires with their exclusive toys like Jerry Jones or Dan Snyder.
The few post-Al smoke signals that have come from 1220 Harbor Bay Parkway involve Al’s son Mark taking the reigns of leadership. In the past few years, Mark has been representing the Raiders more at public functions, and he has been involved in stadium issues, including approaching the city of Dublin about locating a stadium there.
Even with Mark being groomed to take over for his father, there are still many more questions than answers. The good news is that Mark is an only child so there will not be King Lear-esque struggle for power. It will remain to be seen whether Mark wants to keep ownership and control of the team, or whether he will see dollar signs and a nine figure payday. It also becomes a question on whether he will be able to cover the estate taxes.
Whilst, there cannot be a doubt that and future owner will keep the shield mostly intact, as well as the Silver and Black that are synonymous with the Raiders, the personality of the team will undoubtedly change. It is Al’s way that permeates everything about the Raiders for the good or the bad.
There is a lot of speculation outside the organizaiton about Amy Trask possibly being groomed to be the ultimate successor to Davis. That is unlikely, as Davis is on the record as passing ownership to his family. However, Trask will be continue to be a key figure in the future of the organization.
Oakland, LA, or somewhere else…
(Photo by P.A. Patterson)
The NFL is pressuring the Raiders and the 49ers to cooperate on a joint stadium. This is not sitting well with the fan-bases who don’t like each other, but it is the only realistic way for the two teams to continue to coexist in the Bay Area. The current Oakland Coliseum was small when it was built in 1967 and the remodel in 1996 brought it to a barely passable standard. In order to compete economically, the Raiders need a new stadium.
They are in the first year of a three year extension with the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. There has been much speculation that the Raiders would be a potential tenant in Ed Roski’s Los Angeles stadium plan. There has also been movement by the coliseum commission to be pro-active in not only keeping the Raiders in Oakland, but making that city the home of the Bay Area’s NFL stadium. They have begun a feasibility study to determine the possibility of a new football only stadium adjacent to the current facility.
Essentially, the stadium issue is going to be the determining factor in the future location of the Oakland Raiders. If the joint Bay Area stadium can get built within the next few years, the Raiders will remain in the Bay Area with the name Oakland Raiders, even if they are forced to play in Santa Clara, Dublin, or elsewhere in the Bay Area. However, if they can’t get their new stadium built in time, then the Raiders will be forced to look at relocation options.
Davis is undoubtedly working hard to have this issue resolved before he passes the team along to his son.
Rise and Fall of the Oakland Raiders Empire