Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Lane Down the Law

With luck, Lane Kiffin has learned something useful from his time in Oakland: Never work for anyone more than twice as crazy as you are. By all accounts, this is going to be an expensive mistake for the Raiders, who made a very public point of how they're not going to pay any of the money left on Kiffin's contract. This comes amidst reports that the team (and by the team, I of course mean Al Davis) tried to falsify paper trails on personnel decisions, sent Kiffin resignation letters to sign, sandbagged staffing decisions, and tried to get Kiffin to wear one of those weird Boca-gone-biker tracksuits that Davis seems to favor. While we don't know everything, it seems like everyone from John Clayton on down is lining up behind Kiffin on this one, and the only question is how much legal pressure is going to get applied before Kiffin gets his money.

And even if he doesn't get all of it, Kiffin's going to come out of this smelling like a rose. He made the Raiders far more competitive than they had any right to be, especially considering some of the roster decisions (Javon Walker, anyone?) that were made for him. There won't be any shortage of jobs waiting for him in the NFL, and the fact that hiring him will be putting a dull stick in Al Knievel's eye won't hurt his employability, either.

Of course, the saddest thing in all this is why the whole thing started. According to ESPN, Davis became convinced that Kiffin was sniffing around the Arkansas job, and Big Al's got no use for that sort of disloyalty. Of course, this would be after Davis-instigated rumors that Kiffin was going to be fired, so assuming Kiffin did look into the job, it would only be self-preservation. But the really sad part is this: the Raiders job used to be the one that everyone aspired to. The fact that Al Davis, the most savage and battle-tested Raider of them all, seriously thought he'd lose his coach to the socially tectonic nightmare that is the Arkansas program - you know, the program where boosters subpoena the coach's cell phone records - is a signifier of how far the Raiders have fallen, even in their own estimation.
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