Here’s what we know: Al Davis is a powermongering bad guy.
(And to think I never thought we’d see a sequel)
Here’s what you may not know: Lane Kiffin is apparently a powermongering bad guy too.
Davis’ unrelenting demand for unjustifiable blind loyalty has been well-documented over the years. Meanwhile, Kiffin’s personality has been portrayed very differently than that by the main media, because (apparently) he’s done such a great job in personal perception manipulation.
But if you were reading SbB when Kiffin was hired by the Raiders in 2007, you know that he is every bit the bad guy Davis is. Former USC football captain Petros Papadakis, now a sports radio guy for KLAC-AM and college football analyst for FSN, is as close as anyone to the Trojan program. Here’s what he said about the former assistant coach at USC when Kiffin was hired by Davis:
“Hiring Lane Kiffin is not fair to the players and fans of the Oakland Raiders. It’s a desperate hire by a desperate man, Al Davis. Comparing Kiffin to John Gruden is ridiculous, Gruden had eight years of legitimate coaching experience in the NFL, and had been interviewing for head coaching jobs in the league when he was hired by the Raiders.
“What’s his (Kiffin’s) most significant NFL experience to draw from? One year of a defensive gofership seven years ago with the Jacksonville Jaguars.”
“I know him personally and he doesn’t command a lot of respect from the players or other coaches. I never looked at him as head coach material or even offensive coordinator material. He couldn’t even manage players at USC, how can he manage players in NFL?
“Watching him call the plays for the offense of the 2005 team, with Leinart, Bush, and Lendale White was like watching a little kid trying to drive a Ferrari.
“He was coaching at USC because of Pete Carroll, who was mentored by his father, (longtime NFL assistant coach) Monte Kiffin. So Carroll basically parented Lane at USC.
“Coaching the Raiders isnt going to be an uphill battle for Kiffin, it’s an up-cliff battle.“
Sounds a lot like the guy Davis described today at his press conference.
And even well before Kiffin was hired by Davis, and still under the employ of USC, Papadakis made abundantly clear on former USC football flagship KMPC-AM in Los Angeles that Kiffin was personally disdained by USC players, and commanded little-to-no respect on and off-the-field. Kiffin was a borderline laughingstock who only had his job with the Trojans because he was Monte Kiffin’s son (per Monte’s close personal relationship with Carroll).
Now, I by no means am defending Davis’ actions. It’s clear that when Kiffin would not submit to the owner’s every oft-misguided whim, he was doomed. But as Davis gets demonized in a one-sided manner today all over the main media, it’s clear to me that Kiffin isn’t much different than the man who showed him the door.