The 2009 Oakland Raiders should be ranked with some of the worst NFL teams ever.
The 1980 Saints (1-15), the 1976 Buccaneers (0-14) and the '08 Lions (0-16) came to mind when I was watching the Raiders get a thrashing from the Jets last week.
It is so embarrassing to be a Raider fan right now. Oakland has been bad for seven years straight now, which is very uncharacteristic of a once very proud and successful franchise.
So what needs to be done? Well, it's easy to blame Al Davis. He "is" the Raiders. Hated by many in the NFL, and respected by some, Davis is the archetypal maverick of the league.
I admire that "take what we want" style that drew me to the Raiders when I was a kid. But has this approach lost its effectiveness? I think so.
In 2006, Oakland drafted a safety (Michael Huff) over quarterback Matt Leinart. In 2007, Davis picked JaMarcus Russell over offensive tackle Joe Thomas and running back Adrian Peterson. Both picks are very bad decisions.
Huff is a project, and Russell appears too obtuse to be an NFL quarterback. But hindsight is 20/20.
A change in player management is a must. Mike Holmgren, Jim Fassel and Bill Cowher can all run an NFL team.
Al Davis needs to put someone else in charge of the Raiders without meddling and just be the owner.
I'll try to be patient until this happens, but I still have no intention of rooting for Pittsburgh.
PSU spirit 'stifled'
I was pleased to learn that so many Penn State fans adapted to the freakish weather conditions and could park at Target and Wal-Mart and then proceed to Beaver Stadium by shuttle for the football game on Oct. 17.
My situation was completely different. Arriving by 11 a.m., as directed by a phone conversation, the pre-paid parking space I've had since 1989 was gone. My boundless PSU spirit was stifled, and my blue blood boiled because the stadium was inaccessible to my wheelchair.
I could not attend.
Someone dropped the ball on this one.
Welcome to the club
The club I am referring to is for so many sportswriters who don't know Penn State's proper address. In Sunday's (Oct. 18) front page, the name above the picture of Ki-Jana Carter reading building a snowman outside Beaver Stadium was State College. It should have read University Park, the true address of Penn State sports.
State College has nothing to do with PSU, but they will accept the glory made by PSU sports. This has been going on for far too long. When Iowa was here, this Jed Donohue fellow said this on TV: "Welcome to State College."
It's really a shame so many people don't know PSU's proper address. After 19 years of working for and retiring from PSU, I think I know what I am talking about. From Beaver Avenue North is University Park; from Beaver Avenue South is State College.
To put things into perspective, a talented young man was maliciously murdered on the University of Connecticut campus Oct. 18.
Storrs, CT is not your typical environment for a murder to occur. One other murder took place some 30 years ago.
Football player Jasper Howard, a 20-year-old who moved from Miami to get away from violence, was buried Monday.
Nobody knows if this was a random act or whether organized underworld figures were involved. But we do know this young man was an expectant father and was the first member of his family to attend college to better himself.
Perhaps a greater question arises: Could this type of crime could happen right here in Happy Valley involving an athlete?
The answer is unequivocally yes. History shows several students have been mysteriously murdered on campus. If there is a lesson to be learned here, it is that life is precious and can be snuffed out at any moment.
So take each day and live it to its fullest. Yes so easier said than done.