How the Raiders' obsession with success led to prolonged failure


Al Davis had a fairly simple mantra: just win baby. The Oakland Raiders did a lot of that from 2000-2002, culminating in a trip to the Super Bowl to face their former coach and architect of that early 2000s squad. As we all know, for Oakland, it didn’t go well…like at all.

But having won three straight division championships, there was understandably a belief that this team could maintain some level of success. They made it to the Super Bowl once, why couldn’t they do it again? Well, as it turned out there were quite a few reasons. Check out this episode of Collapse to relive how they fell from greatness.

Written and produced by Will Buikema (@wbuik)
Edited by Ryan Simmons (@rysimmons)
Shot by Joe Ali (@draftdaydeion)
Graphics by Phil Pasternak


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  1. My favorite thing about this (that I didn't have time to squeeze in) was that in 2008, the Raiders were so bad that four of the five teams they beat then immediately got rid of their coach. Thinking about starting a blog on where we can post details like that or go deeper into aspects of this that didn't fit the video. Would y'all read that sort of thing?

  2. As easy as it is to mock the JaMarcus Russel Pick in hindsight
    There wasn’t much top tier QB talent in that draft

    Not going in after QB talent in the 2004 or 2005 draft
    To at least find Gannon’s successor
    Is why the raiders didn’t have a mainstay at quarterback until Derek Carr

    Aaron Rodgers
    Ben Roethlisberger
    Phillip Rivers

    All picks the Raiders could’ve made

  3. I think you overlooked a big factor, despite the signs for it being all over the video : their locker room fell apart. For example in teams with a good locker room an ofense player would never punch a defence player. Another sign is someone refusing a franchise tag and miss most of training camp. Players demanding trades. Now each in itself (except the punch) is not saying a lot, but the collection of all of them together (and there are many more not named in the video) shows that locker room had become toxic

  4. R.I.P Oakland Raiders 1960-1981 1995-2019.
    Blame Oakland politics for not building a new stadium for the Raiders

  5. Hearing that the raiders led the league in penalties for 3 straight years is no suprise considering the nfl and the refs have always had it out for the raiders and al davis

  6. You should rename this series "Reversion to mean". Sam Cassell and Latrell Sprewell may have been disgruntled, but the deals they got were not unfair. They were not superstars, just good players on the back half of their careers, and McHale would have been insane to pay 35 year old Sam and 34 year old Latrell better than they were already being compensated. Sure, maybe they could have gotten better arrangements for trades, but you could say that about everyone, and nobody wants to play in Minnesota, so the T-Wolves have a big handicap to overcome.

  7. I'm tired of being called a racist and I don't think I'm gonna support this crap anymore. MLB cheats. NFL kneels. f it. unsub.

  8. I know it is an old vid but I'm a life long raider fan and wrote this article shortly after Al Davis death to show why we all should salute the man committed to excellence


    The Pittsburgh Steelers and the Oakland Raiders have a long and storied rivalry.  Many hard fought battles have occurred at three rivers, Heinz field, and the black hole.  Unbelievable plays such as the legendary immaculate reception and hall of fame caliber players such as Mean Joe Greene, Marcus Allen, Jack Lambert, Ted “the mad stork” Hendricks, Tim Brown, Franco, and of course Terry Bradshaw and possibly the most recognizable definitely the longest lasting Al Davis graced the field over the long years of this incredible rivalry.

    Most Steeler fans hate Al Davis. O.K. maybe hate is too strong, but at least the majority dislikes him.  In fact fans who don’t love the silver and black often have no love for Al Davis.  The above reference to a great rivalry could just as easily played out in another state against another team with another cast of fantastic players and another set of fans who either love or hate or love to hate Al Davis.  I chose the Steelers for two reasons.  First, I live on all sides surrounded by within spitting distance of multiple Steeler fans.  I’m from WV and since we have no professional team by default everybody is crazy about the Steelers.  Of course Cleveland is pretty close but we won’t get into that.  I don’t blame the population for choosing Pittsburgh.  The second reason is a conversation between Bradshaw and Al Davis shortly after Bradshaw’s retirement, which has only come to light after Al Davis recent death.  The story according to Bradshaw was as follows:

    “When I retired from the Steelers I went home to my ranch in Louisiana and one day I got a call from Al Davis.  He asked me what are you doing?   How are you doing?  Then I’ll never forget this, he asks me how are you doing financially?  Well I don’t have any money coming in I don’t have any money going out.  And, He said if you ever need anything at all, call me.  And, I said yes sir, I appreciate that.”  

    Bradshaw was his rival on the field.  Bradshaw beat his team and went to the super bowl.  They weren’t friends, nor were they enemies.  They held a mutual respect and Al Davis reached out to help if it was needed.  That was but one of the examples of what a great man Al Davis was off the field.  When superstar linebacker Derrick Thomas was tragically killed, the funeral was paid for by Al Davis.  For those of you unfamiliar with Thomas, he’s a hall of famer who was killed in a car wreck.  He played for Kansas City.  Yes Kansas City another Oakland rival. That’s just the type of guy Al Davis was.

    Davis paid the medical expenses for his former players.  He gave his former players jobs when they were in need.  His motto was once a raider always a raider.  There were many other incidents of exemplary conduct on Davis part.  He was the first to hire a latino coach in Tom Flores.  He was the first in the modern era to hire a African American coach in Art Shell.  He was the first to have a female as management in the front office.  Most importantly it was Davis who was absolutely vital in making the NFL the multi-billion dollar industry that it is today.  In the 60’s when the AFL was around Davis was crucial in forcing the merger.  Otherwise we may have two football leagues, neither of which would be what the NFL is today.  So Steeler fans, Kansas City fans, and for that matter all football fans, take a moment to remember a man that truly had a commitment to excellence.

  9. And yet you come back to us Gruden. You helped our downfall two decades ago and yet here we are. What you got left to prove? You already won one with the Bucs. You were meant to win one with us but Davis was in your way. Just a bad taste on all of our mouths. First two seasons didn't pan out so well but we gotta account for development. Still think your QB position is one big question mark (my opinion) and we'll see how the team plays with upgraded positions. Will they be a strength to our team or a weakness? I've watched some film on some new players and it looks promising but as you can see it always "looks" promising in the offseason. Can it actually translate into the season? Our rival just won a Super Bowl. In fact TWO of our rivals within the last five years have won Super Bowls and we have not. The Chiefs itches ever closer to winning the same amount of Super Bowls we have. The gap is close there but the gap between us and them is wide when it comes to who's the better team until proven otherwise. Is this it? It's a fair question coming from a Raiders fan. Is this it? Will it make a difference this time? We've been struggling to close the gap for years. We've been struggling to be a contender for years. We've been struggling to compete in our division for years. We've been struggling with finding the right team to consistently key word CONSISTENTLY stay in the play off hunt. The title hunt. In all of my 3 decades of living I have yet to see this. I thought it was beginning in 2016 but that was a floosy. Can it happen now? Can I see this? Is it not time to take back your greatness? Is it not time? What better time than when the pandemic blows over. Life has proven to be a minefield for all of us. I wouldn't mind seeing my favorite team kick some ass before it's my time. I've been patient. Still patient. Still waiting. Hopefully not for too long. Time will tell.

  10. We got robbed. The rippoff tuck rule. Gruden would have several super bowl wins but the nfl isn’t about fairness

  11. The following also happened during this time:
    1. Tom Cable punched his assistant in the face, breaking the guy's jaw.
    2. Davis repeatedly called Lane Kiffin "Lance" at the press conference to announce his hiring.
    3. Shell's offensive coordinator was running a bed and breakfast in Idaho when Shell hired him.

  12. Y’all should do the Timberwolves. That’d be interesting since we collapsed from a championship contender to a stream of 10+ years of no playoffs

  13. Raiders. 😭😭😭😭. Failiares. Since. 1985. Patriots. 6. Ring. Kings. 👑. N. F. L. Icons. Legends. Greatness. And. Dynasty. America's. Team. 🇺🇸. 😃😃😃😃😃😃😃😃😃😃😃😃 Raiders. 💩. Nation.

  14. Thank you for briefly mentioning Jamarcus Russell. But why didn't you mention 2010. 8-8. 6-0 in division. Other 2 wins Seahawks and Rams

  15. Ideas for more:

    How the Senators came one goal away from the Final, to becoming a dysfunctional mess in just 1 year.

    How the Raiders tumbled from contention their final seasons in Oakland.

    How Doug Marrone's "Sacksonville" Jaguars came a stop away from the Super Bowl, and then suddenly fell apart. (Maybe wait until after 2020 season)

    How the Panthers almost had an undefeated season, then suddenly fell apart. (Maybe wait until after 2020 season)

    How the Royals ended a 30 year playoff drought with a back to back World Series appearances, then fell back down to the stellar.

    How the Steelers created a potential dynasty, then suddenly collapsed before they could win a Super Bowl. (Maybe if they miss the 2020 playoffs)

    How the Patriots accidentally started a dynasty in the middle of their collapse.

    How the Patriots dynasty began to collapse, but suddenly restarted.

    How the Falcons took a 25 point lead in the Super Bowl, blew it, and went down from there. (Wait until end of 2020 season)

    How the "Legion of Boom" Seahawks came a yard away from back to back Super Bowl wins, then slowly died. (If they miss the 2020 playoffs)

    How defense single-handedly won the Broncos a Super Bowl in Peyton Manning's final year right before falling apart again.

  16. Al Davis has been deceased for almost a decade now, how come the Raiders have still struggled even after his death? Was the 2016 playoff season a fluke? Why couldn't the Raiders keep that momentum going following that 2016 playoff season? Why did they return to their losing ways the following year, they've had only one winning season in the past almost 20 years now.

    Anyway, I found this posted on reddit, I feel it's a good way to describe how Al Davis was in the last decade of his ownership.

    "When they lost the tuck rule game, and then got stomped in the super bowl the following year, Al Davis's mind snapped. It then became win at all costs.

    He would step on coaches toes so that the Raiders would play his way. If they stood against him or disagreed with him, they were gone.

    He was stuck, stubborn, adamant on how he won in the past and refused to change, adapt along with the game. It drove him nuts and he would just throw money at the problem. He drove things into the dirt so he could get one last trophy before he died and towards the end he became a man of desperation."

  17. 15:13 Lol at that wish list (except for Peterson of course). What's stunning is that Raiders did actually manage to select worse with JaMarcus Russell.
    2007 was really the draft where decent quarterbacking died. It looks like Drew Stanton or Trent Edwards had the best career of this godforsaken gang and neither has a TD / INT ratio over .500.

  18. las vegas faiders. 3-times house hopping franchise always looking for a free stadium from their host city. i bet after 20 years, the faiders would be moving again from their run down las vegas stadium looking for another hand-out!!


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