Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Inaugural CLOAK OF IMMORTALITY Nancy Gay Memorial Hater of the Week Award

I was reading The Sporting Green in the Chronicle this morning while riding BART. Ray Ratto had a clever column asking Roger Goodell to step in and help fix our two struggling Bay Area teams by combining them. Then I got to Dan's Favorite Football Writer's column on the elite teams of the NFL. It was informative; I learned a lot of new things about what's going on around the league. Who knew that Vince Young needed to be defended by his coach? I didn't get that info from ESPN.

Then, in her last item, she took an incredibly cheap shot:

-- Interesting e-mail of the week: I posed this question last weekend to an NFL general manager - why has Steelers rookie coach Mike Tomlin, 35, shown himself to be a more confident, commanding, respected leader than Raiders coach Lane Kiffin, 32?

Talent aside (particularly at the quarterback position), the GM summed up the difference in a surprisingly succinct way: "Because Mike Tomlin was prepared for the Steelers' job and Lane Kiffin was given the Raiders' job."

This general manager has a point. Tomlin had been the Buccaneers' defensive backs coach from 2001 through '05 and the Vikings' defensive coordinator in '06. He had NFL credibility that his players instantly respected.

Kiffin had been USC's offensive coordinator and shared play-calling duties with Trojans assistant head coach Steve Sarkisian - Al Davis' first choice for the job - in 2005-'06. Before that, he was a position coach on offense at Fresno State, Colorado State and USC, where he also had recruiting coordinator responsibilities.

In retrospect, Kiffin's greatest selling point to the beaten-down Raiders' players was that he wasn't Art Shell.

Really? Which GM did she ask? Isiah Thomas?

Talent aside?

Talent aside?

One more time:


Has anyone ever heard the phrase "Making chicken salad out of chicken shit?" Because what Lane Kiffin's been asked to do in the job he's been "given" is make chicken salad out of bat guano.

The Steelers are a team a year removed from winning the SUPER BOWL. The only key contributor not still on that team is locker room-cancer Joey Porter.

The Raiders haven't won more than 5 games in 5 years now. The only player on the team who played there when the Raiders were good is Barry "False Start" Simms.

So how could talent just be pushed aside when asking that question? I'm not saying Lane Kiffin is a better coach than Omar Epps or anything like that. I'm just saying that Vince Lombardi couldn't win more than 6 games with this Raiders team as currently constructed. Hell, Al Davis circa 1963 couldn't win more than 6 games with this team.

Give the kid a break. He's got Mono. He's trying to rebuild not just a team's talent but an entire culture of losing that goes back at least five years. He was "given" the job because Nobody Else Would Touch it with a Ten Foot Pole. At least nobody whose previous job wasn't turning down sheets in a bed and breakfast.

So congratulations, Nancy. The CLOAK OF IMMORTALITY is naming a new award in your honor:

The CLOAK OF IMMORTALITY Nancy Gay Memorial Hater of the Week Award.

This weeks winner of the inaugural CLOAK OF IMMORTALITY Nancy Gay Hater of the Week Award is:

Nancy Gay

Congratulations, Nancy. You've just been named the winner of the CLOAK OF IMMORTALITY Nancy Gay Memorial Hater of the Week Award. Prizes include scorn heaped upon your head by the members of the Raider Nation, Al Davis never ever saying at your funeral, "Time never stops for the great ones, we give them the CLOAK OF IMMORTALITY," and the wishes of hundreds that you get a parking ticket.