Many in the Raider Nation have expressed dismay and outrage that the NFL could force the Oakland Raiders to appear on the hit HBO series, Hard Knocks. The show would give viewers unprecedented access to coaches and players throughout the Raiders’ off-season. Old school Raiders fans probably don’t want to have cameras in the Raiders locker room because they know that former owner Al Davis would have fought tooth-and-nail to deny the NFL access to the Raiders facilities. There has long been a mystique about what goes on inside the secretive Raiders facilities, but times have changed since the passing of Al Davis. Obviously, the Raiders no longer hold the secrets to success that they once had during their glory days. The time has come to show the football world that the Raiders are a new franchise that is not held back by 20th century football philosophies, which is why the Raiders should appear on Hard Knocks.
I know that any bad talk about Al Davis and his secretive ways will cause some Raiders fans to get angry. Let me reiterate that Al Davis was one of the greatest owners in all of professional sports and that he truly was a pioneer in the NFL. However, there is no debating that his actions over the last decade led the Raiders into the gutter. It was Al Davis’s call to pay big bucks to overrated players like Javon Walker, Warren Sapp, Richard Seymour and Kameron Wimbley. Let’s not forget the string of first round busts like Jamarcus Russell, Fabian Washington, Robert Gallery and Darrius Heyward-Bey. Some Raiders fans have a delusional vision of Al Davis, that is comparable to a North Korean’s love for Kim Jung-un. Unfortunately, Al Davis had too much control over the Raiders during his last decade in charge, which ultimately led to the demise of a once great franchise. Davis lived under the “Just Win Baby” mantra but he just couldn’t get it done in the 21st century.
Mark Davis handed the keys to the organization to Reggie McKenzie two years ago, because he knew McKenzie would help to rebuild the downtrodden franchise. McKenzie had to cut all of the terrible contracts that were preventing the Raiders from bringing in talent. In fact, over 40% of the Raiders salary cap last year was spent on players not on the team. For the first time in years, the Raiders will have the money and the draft picks to bring in game changing talent.
So what does all of this have to do with Hard Knocks? Well, the Raiders can show the football world that they are finally a team that has come into the 21st century. Reggie McKenzie and Dennis Allen will basically get a series of infomercials to show potential players that the Oakland Raiders are a well-run team, that is coming back to greatness. The show would also give Raiders fans a chance to get to know both Allen and McKenzie. Raiders’ fans are in a unique situation because we are still getting used to life without Al Davis at the helm. So why not get an in-depth look at the new men in charge of our beloved franchise? The Raiders would be crazy to pass up the opportunity to be featured on this season of Hard Knocks.