Lane Kiffin has never mattered much to me. When he was at Southern California calling plays, maybe he was a big part of the Trojans' dominance, or maybe not. Maybe you and I could have called plays for Matt Leinart, Reggie Bush and LenDale White.
|Lane Kiffin has not backed down with omnipresent Al Davis. (Getty Images)|
Whatever the case, Lane Kiffin didn't mean much to me.
He does now.
By standing up to Raiders owner Al Davis, Lane Kiffin has become a star in my eyes. That's not the popular assessment of Lane Kiffin today, of course. Today Lane Kiffin is being mostly roasted by media and fans as the guy who sold out his defensive coordinator and the guy who wasn't smart enough to play the game the right way. He's the guy who was handed an NFL head coaching job at age 31 -- a job he didn't deserve -- and then arrogantly threw it away. He's Dead Coach Walking, just waiting for Davis to drop the guillotine, and it's all his fault.
That's the popular assessment. Me, I'm not popular. And the only part of the word "assessment" that strikes a chord with me is those first three letters. Lots of horse's asses out there assessing this situation, is what I'm saying.
Lane Kiffin isn't a sellout. He isn't disloyal. He isn't arrogantly throwing away his dream job.
Lane Kiffin is what I want to be when I grow up. He's what you need to be when you grow up. He's the guy who stood up to the machine, even as the machine was sharpening its nasty little teeth and preparing to chop him into small pieces.
Lane Kiffin told Al Davis to go to hell. And the popular assessment says Lane Kiffin is the bad guy here?
Idiots. That's what people are. Complete and total idiots.
Al Davis is one of the worst owners in the NFL. He would be the worst, but Mike Brown still owns the Bengals. So Al Davis will have to settle for second. That's a lot closer to the top than Davis has been in years, by the way. He has driven Oakland so far into the ground, the Raiders have a better shot of finding a natural gas reserve than a playoff spot.
|lookalive: I must say...I'm impressed. I have read several of your articles, some of which have left me with smoke bellowing from my ears and others not so much. Very well written, excellent read, and the TRUTH.|
|Gregg Doyel: Amazing how much better I become as a writer when we agree, huh? All of a sudden I'm good! Woohoo!|
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Davis is to Oakland what Bobby Bowden is to Florida State, and what Joe Paterno is, at times, to Penn State. He has overstayed his welcome, blinded by his past success and his cadre of ass-kissers into thinking that today's struggles are the exception, not the rule.
Once upon a time, Davis was one of the best owners in the NFL. He was Jerry Jones before Jerry Jones ruthlessly remade the Cowboys back into a premier franchise. The irony here is that Al Davis has become the cold machine he once battled. Davis is the guy who took on the NFL and won, over and over and over, becoming heroic not just to his team's fans in California but to lots of us around the country.