It is one OF pro football's most revered maxims, right up there with the "Who-Dey?" chant and "I love me some me":
Why be a second-guesser if you can be a proactive smarty-pants?
The Oakland Raiders will be looking for a new head coach soon. We know it. They know it. The Napa DA knows it, but he isn't comfortable taking it before a jury.
Tom Cable has about exhausted his tenure — some might call it a sentence — with the team. He's coached 20 games; the previous four Raiders coaches lasted an average of 25. His record is a dismal 6-14 (though it bears noting his .300 winning percentage ranks fourth among the eight men who have coached the Raiders since their return to Oakland).
Most troubling, he keeps making headlines for the wrong reasons. His altercation with then-assistant coach Randy Hanson, who woke up the next morning with a broken jaw, was investigated but not prosecuted. An ESPN report alleges Cable committed domestic violence against an ex-wife and a former girlfriend.
What next? Is TMZ going to disclose that Cable handed out soap-flavored chewing gum to trick-or-treaters on Halloween? The guess here is it doesn't matter because Al Davis has already decided on half his next move — sacking Cable, whether it be this week, next week or at halftime of the season finale.
We're here to help with the second half of that next move — lining up a successor. As you know, this gets more challenging with every failed Raiders coaching regime. Once it was easy enough to compile a short list of familiar names and unheralded wunderkinds. These days the short list of men who would even consider the job could be scribbled on the back of a business card.
Unless you get creative, which is where we come in: Ted Tollner. Currently a Raiders assistant, he's available and on-site. That's not the only reason he'd be an ideal battlefield promotion. He's been a head coach at three different levels — junior college (College of San Mateo), college (San Diego State), and semipro (USC). Given that he's currently the team's passing game coordinator, he might be eager for a new assignment. Odds: 9-1. Paul Hackett. Currently the Raiders quarterbacks coach, he might be even more eager than Tollner for a change of scenery. Served as head coach at Pitt and USC. Like Tollner, specializes in offense. And though you wouldn't know it by the numbers, Davis has a demonstrated preference for offensive-minded head coaches. Odds: 15-1. Joe the Plumber. It's been quite a year for Samuel Wurzelbacher, who rocketed to prominence during John McCain's presidential bid last fall. Ol' Sammy Joe is a hard worker, as evidenced by his desperate struggle to maintain his infamy. The Raiders might be scared off by the gay slur he dropped during a recent interview with Christianity Today — talk about a plumber's crack — but based on what he told McCain last year you figure he'd appreciate any lucrative job offer. Odds: The-biggest-number-you-can-think-of-divided-by-2-1. Jim Fassel. You know the story. Led the New York Giants to the Super Bowl. Crazy-mad to get another NFL head coaching job. Informed Davis of his interest in the Raiders position in a letter written last fall and rumored to contain the phrase "pretty please." Currently coaching the Las Vegas Locomotives in the fledgling UFL, and thus makes more sense as an offseason hire. Odds: 20-1. Rush Limbaugh. Bitter after being dropped from the group trying to buy the St. Louis Rams, this could be his sweet revenge. Yes, there would be the obligatory jokes about conservative game plans and running to the right. But after blaming his failed bid on "the hatred that exists ... in the sports writer community," his news conferences would be priceless. Then again, he'd have to take a 97 percent pay cut. Odds: 500-1. Jim Haslett. Briefly a linebackers coach for the L.A. Raiders, he once spoke to Davis about being the head coach in Oakland. Had a respectable six-year run as coach of the New Orleans Saints, and a forgettable 12-game interim slog with the St. Louis Rams. Currently coach of the UFL-leading Florida Tuskers, who are averaging 31 points per game. (Fun fact: The Raiders haven't scored 31 points in their past three games combined.) Odds: 50-1. Javon Walker. Hey, you might as well get something for all that money. Odds: 250-1.
Contact Gary Peterson at firstname.lastname@example.org.