Rich Gannon, who won a league MVP award while playing quarterback for the Oakland Raiders, spoke about the situation in Oakland during a visit with Bruce Murray and Gil Brandt of Sirius NFL Radio.
Echoing recent criticisms of the team, Gannon elaborated on his perceptions of the environment there.
“From a guy that has been in the organization, that’s been around it, I know just how difficult a place it can be to work,” Gannon said.  “And they have problems, there’s no question.  It’s an organization that is going through a very difficult period.  It’s an organization, in my opinion, that is dysfunctional.  They have a lot of issues. 
“This is not something that I haven’t discussed publicly and privately before with the owner.  I’ve talked to Mr. Davis at great length about our philosophical difference of opinion.  I believe that you need to have discipline, structure, a system in place, organization.  He is a guy that is not a big believer in having too many rules and that’s one of the reasons why that team, in my opinion, hasn’t had any real leadership and hasn’t had any real direction.”
Gannon was then asked by Brandt whether the tendency of owner Al Davis to make strategy suggestions makes it difficult for the coach.
“I always said it’s not a tough place to work, it’s an impossible place to work,” Gannon said.  “I left there on a high note.  I went to four straight Pro Bowls, was league MVP.  I don’t have any bad feelings about the place.  I just know how difficult it was for me and I just look at the people that have left.  Mike Shanahan leaves and wins two Super Bowls.  Jon Gruden leaves and wins a Super Bowl.  Norv Turner is having success in San Diego.  To let people like that leave, particularly a guy like Jon Gruden who really worked and really threw every ounce of energy he had into the place.  To let him leave the way he did was just a mistake. 
“And what happened is, in my opinion, people say, ‘Why have they had the big fall-off since the Super Bowl and stuff?’  I think that it’s about six people who have left the organization that really were the heart and soul of the whole group and really kept it going.  Guys like Jon Gruden, Bruce Allen, the general manager, Bill Callahan, who was our offensive coordinator and offensive line coach.  You lost quality people and some players and they’ve never been able to recover.”
“This guy, Tom Cable, the poor guy, does that he think he is more equipped and better prepared than his predecessors?  In other words, if Gruden couldn’t make it there and Bill Callahan couldn’t make it there and then if Norv Turner couldn’t make it there and then Art Shell couldn’t make it there and then Lane Kiffin couldn’t make it there, why does he think, all of a sudden, he’s going to make it there?  I don’t understand.”
We wish Gannon wouldn’t be so bashful about stating his opinions.


  1. Maybe a little perspective for everyone who has been using other posts to suggest Kiffin is the whole problem in Oakland?

  2. Yikes, Rich. Tell us how you really feel about the Raider organization, it seems that you are holding back.

  3. We tend to believe everything Gannon is saying. We think that Gannon is mentally aware as well.

  4. I don’t disagree with Gannon at all, especially regarding the loss of Gruden and Allen.
    However, Art Shell’s return to Oakland really was an unmitigated disaster of Shell’s own doing. Regardless of whatever organizational dysfunctions plagued Shell, the “our o-line is going to protect the QB as long as he needs to throw it” philosophy was a gong show that scuttled the whole season.

  5. The reason everyone is being straight forward about this organization is because Al Davis was straight forward with all the internal details of Kiffin’s firing.
    It’s like, “well Al if your going to put it that way and tell it how it is/was, then we’ll all share how it is/was within that organization. I think there is a fine line between how much an owner should interact with the team and Al crosses it all of the time. He should really talk to Dallas’ owner and take notes.

  6. I used to work for Al Davis and the Raiders and Rich Gannon is absolutely correct.
    The continual loss of key people in the organization has been its fall from prominence. This once great organization has fallen so far that any return to greatness is years and years away and well after Mr. Davis no longer running the show. It is a shame that a once great team has been driven to this shameful existence, all by one man……….
    It is an impossible place to work..

  7. ….Hey Florio, looks like YOU are the only one on the, ” Al Davis deserves our deference and respect” island……I still can’t believe you wrote that…..ha, ha, ha, ha,

  8. Thanks for your Super Bowl record setting performance Rich;
    In the Super Bowl, Gannon threw a Super Bowl record 5 interceptions, three of which were run back for touchdowns, in a 48-21 rout by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

  9. I am a management consultant involved in organizational re-development and Rich is “spot on.” You must have a nurturing culture of delegation, empowerment, and a certain amount of autonomy. The owner can’t do it all themself. That’s why you surround yourself with good, no make that great, people. Then you just sit back and let them do their thing once the systems and procedures are in place.
    Look at Bill Gate at Microsoft. He surrounded himself with people that were as smart, if not smarter than him, in particular areas. He then gave them authority and ownership to run their divisions and held them accountable. Look at how sucessfully that worked. In fact, he had moved out of the operation and became Chairmon of the Board. Things continued to run smoothly to the point where he currently is not involved at all since he stepped down as Chairman.
    That’s how you run a successful organization. Not by constant intervention, over-ruling your key decision makers, and causing confusion. (are you listening Mr. Steinbrenner?)

  10. Hey Rich, weren’t you a run of the mill journeyman until Al dropped 16 mill in your pocket? How many pro bowls and super bowls did you go to when you were leading KC and Minnesota, etc? Unfortunately you are correct. My Raiders are about as dysfunctional as you were in the Super Bowl.

  11. Rich pointing to everything that people already knew…
    Such a hard place to work but yet the place where he played the best.
    Until he choked in the biggest game of his life.
    Doesnt change the fact that Lame was trying to get fired in a passive aggressive manner.
    If Lame isn’t the liar Al said he is then he should sue,
    but if he doesn’t then we know the truth.
    Everyone wanted Al to set the record straight
    when Lame was yappin’. So he did
    We all knew Oaklands crazy..
    Al’s just calling someone else out.
    GFY haters.

  12. Hey Florio, how come you didn’t include the fact that “we” don’t believe a word that Gannon’s saying in your article? If you read the response from your readership, it appears that you’ve lost all credibility here. “We” appears to refer to you and Al Davis these days.

  13. “Rich is a Biatch that is bitter because he got Goosed out of his only Sb opportunity when Siragusa crushed him into the turf.”
    Exactly when did Siragusa, a member of the Ravens, crush Gannon to the turf, during a Superbowl where he played on neither team … a full year after he’d retired?

  14. As long as Al is owner of the Raiders they will never be in the Super Bowl again. He trusts No One even his inner circle.
    Gannon is just one of the former Raiders who have said much the same thing. As a player a good place to be as an employee of Weird Al a very bad place to be.
    Gannon just has the guts to say it for the record.
    Al brought Shell back because he thought he had made a mistake in firing him the first time.
    Face it Raider Fans – OLD TIME Raider football is not the way to win it all in the 21st century. Russell may turn out to be a very good QB and McFadden might last long enough to be remembered; however, both may not survive long in the current and foreseeable future in Raiderville.

  15. Screw Rich Gannon. The guy was a Raider because Al Davis saw something in him and signed him to a contract to be a starter. Before that he wasa career journeyman. He came to a team and won 3 straight AFC West titles and made a SB appearance. Teams that Al Davis built. Now all of a sudden Davis doesnt know anything. Whatever Gannon. I guess it’s Al Davis’ fault that Gannon hrew 5 ints in the Super Bowl too. Riiiight.

  16. FCSquid: he was talking about a different season, one in which the Raiders looked strong in the playoffs until Goose landed on Gannon, taking him out of the game and ending the Raiders playoff hopes.
    OutFoxed: Excellent post.

  17. I like Gannon and respect his as a very intense player. But one thing about Gruden leaving Oakland…YOU CAN’T MAKE SOMEONE SIGN A CONTRACT TO COACH A TEAM HE NO LONGER HAS INTEREST IN COACHING! Why don’t people get that through their thick skulls. I’m sure if Gruden had wanted to stay and not got to ND or OSU, Davis would have given him an extension and all would be well.

  18. FCSquid – Old Jeremiah would never want to confuse us by letting the facts get in the way of his comments. He was just hoping that no one would actually do any research on his post.

  19. “Rich is a Biatch that is bitter because he got Goosed out of his only Sb opportunity when Siragusa crushed him into the turf.”
    “Exactly when did Siragusa, a member of the Ravens, crush Gannon to the turf, during a Superbowl where he played on neither team … a full year after he’d retired?
    Dude, in the playoff game Ravens vs. Raiders, Siragusa sacks Gannon and let’s all his weight fall on little Gannon. Siragusa made no effort to put his hands down to catch his weight. I call the play “the Siragusa flop”. Tui came in and the Raiders lost. They were SB bound that year and would have crushed the Giants.

  20. Sadly for us Raider fans, this is what you hear from anyone who has left Oakland.
    It’s either Al who is the weak link or it is “everyone else”…

  21. FCS: He was talking about the 2000 AFC Championship game when the Raiders had maybe an even better team. Do you even watch football?
    Even though Gannon is spot on, why is all this sh*t coming out after the fact? This has been going on since the early 80’s, but Flores and Gruden won in spite of Al.
    Invaiduh is right on the money.
    I am not a Jim Rome fan, but I agree w/ his take: Al is bringing down the franchise over $3M+…just pay jackass Kiffin and move on for the good of the team. Damn it’s frustrating being a fan of these guys. Let’s beat the Saints in 2 weeks!

  22. my question is, if the organization is so bad and you hate it so much why did you go there and accept that big contract? In other words, YOUR PHONE WAS NOT RINGING. You were a back up to Steve Bono and Elvis Grbac.Before Davis signed you, you were a bum on his way out of the league and he gave you the chance to be somebody. I just find it strange that when ex players talk about there former teams so bad when they leave them, but they have no problem accepting there paychecks.

  23. Gannon is lying because Florio said Al Davis was 100% absolutely with-no-doubt truthful.
    Florio, its like you were a patriots fan but now are a raiders’ honk. Sad.

  24. Jeremiah W,
    Thanks for not doing much to dispell the myth about Raider fans being uneducated morons.

  25. FCSquid–
    It was in the AFC championship game–the year the Ravens went to the Super Bowl.
    Siragusa didn’t just take Gannon down–he rolled on him and gouged him into the turf like he was trying to smother a brush fire with his huge gut. Check the film.
    I think he got fined for it, but I could be wrong about that.

  26. Who is Rich Gannon…Is this the same guy that choked in the superbowl? 5 int’s count’em FIVE!! and 3 for tds. hell gruden could have won with anybody at the helm..hell he did in fact.. he beat his own system…He made quarterbacks look good with his system. How many coaches went to a team and put in his own offense and won a superbowl the same year?(with another mans defense i might add lol) 4 pro bowls? gruden put you there Rich!! you know nothing about the Raiders. Its funny how its all anti-raider posters here posting. AL made this league and he will FINISH IT!!! LOVE IT!!! In Al We Trust!! you will ALL bow at Al’s feet within the next 2 yrs!!!

  27. I for one am pretty befuddled with Florio and other posters who think Al Davis is all of a sudden some kind of level headed NFL version of Winston Churchhill. The guy has some quacked out press conference, which is nothing less than a paranoid, ill advised, diatribe against his beleaguered former head coach. Florio, somehow, extrapolates this as the most lucid speach since the Gettysburg Address. The press conference was pathetic and patently unprofessional. Im not absolving Lane Kiffin from anything, but with all the conflicting rumors swirling around this issue I think it would be disingenuous to defer judgement to Davis when you look at the guys trackrecord, which Gannon so poignantly hit on. Not to mention, Kiffin seemed to be have the support of most of the players. The truth is that Davis, although clearly impassioned about this franchise, should delegate football decisions to a competent GM and stay the hell out of the way unless its absolutely necessary, the guy is trainwreck and its no coincidence so is the football team. Al Davis is not to be admired for this overly candid and ridiculous press conference, in fact it just hilights the dysfunctionality of the whole situation.

  28. Jeremiah – I did not do my research either. Next time I will before jumping in so soon.

  29. I love all the Raider fans blaming the messenger and not the message — keep your ostrich heads buried in the sand and repeat after me:
    “I’m in a warm happy place… I’m in a warm happy place… I’m in a warm happy place… I’m in a warm happy place…”
    And repeat

  30. In that AFC Championship game,I believe the ravens would have won regardless of Gannon playing the full game. Bobby Hoying replaced and actually played pretty decently,but the Ravens D was just too good for anyone that year. Certainly you can’t say that was Gannon’s only opportunity when he actually played in one two years later.

  31. Obviously I meant the year the Ravens won in Oakland when they had a much better team. I know he went to the SB and got waxed, but they clearly would have beat the Giants that year, and Gannon would have been in the HOF. But he did not, and he is bitter. Every time he does a Ravens game he says something to show how much it still hurts on ht e inside. Goose squashing Gannon is the ugliest QB hit I have ever seen since Brown turned Aikman upsidedown and pile drove his head into the concrete turf in Philly.
    Hey the Raiders are not as bad as the Bungles, Lions or even the Cards until they actually win something. Al is not an idiot, he just sounds like one on occasion because he is old and dreses like a pimp from the 70s.
    I think if he just hires some better scouts and front office people, he can keep doing what he has always done. it is not that hard to build a contender with high draft picks and a few good hires. Some of his personel moves have been questionable, but he has not made as many dumb ones as Matt Millen or the Bungles, and he has won some playoff games a lot more recently than Jerry Jones.
    Even if he has to pay the 3 million, he is going to get his moneys worth in publicity even if it is negative, he knows how to use it, and unlike a lot of other owners, he gives a crap, and puts as much money into the team as anyone.

  32. “…his only Sb opportunity …”
    That’s the phrase that threw me off … since, obviously, Gannon went to the SB a few years later.
    “FCS: He was talking about the 2000 AFC Championship game when the Raiders had maybe an even better team. Do you even watch football?”
    Uh … yeah … I watch football. However, I try to minimize the number of times I’m forced to suffer through either Raiders or Ravens games.
    It’s similar to asking someone “Do you even watch movies?” when the only thing available are re-runs of “Dude, Where’s My Car?”.

  33. Sounds about right for a titan fan to respond to this…raiders 41-24 AFC CHAMPIONSHIP ..YOU know the games that count!!! We will be feared once again!!!

  34. The Raiders got owned in the Superbowl, not because Gannon choked, but because the genius Al Davis thought he could win without Gruden and let him go to Tampa. In return Gruden knew everything top to bottom about the team, the personnel, the coaches, the offensive system and the Raiders got trounced. Watch the NFL Films video of that superbowl and you’ll hear John Lynch thank Gruden saying “we practiced everything they ran, nothing surprised us” and that is evidenced in the time he calls out the “sluggo seam” pass route to fellow safety Dexter Jackson who picked off the pass in short order. Point being that more blame goes to Davis for letting a good coach leave and facing that coach in the Superbowl when he was intimately familiar with the entire organization.

  35. There’s only one thing more pathetic than Florio’s “deference” to Weird Al, and that’s the Depends-sniffin’ Raider fans who are throwing Gannon under the bus.
    True, Gannon did a lay an egg of gargantuan proportions against Gruden and the Bucs in the Super Bowl, but do you delusional imbeciles think the Raiders would have been ANYWHERE near the Big Game without Gannon’s performance during the regular season and the playoffs?
    I’m laughing my butt off as I picture you bunch of losers, sitting at home in your black and silver face paint and your Road Warrior shoulder pads, punching your wives in the face in between swigs of Nighttrain while bemoaning the fact that your slutty sisters are sleeping with the Golden State Warriors.
    Face it, scumbags, Weird Al’s a has-been, and his ONCE-PROUD is now the Notre Dame of the NFL.

  36. yeah so impossible to work that a career Qb that failed everywhere was able to come in and go to 4 pro bowls and be league MVP. Davis gave Gannon a shot when no one else would. Nice way to re-pay him. Maybe Gannon could have been Super Bowl MVp. oh yea that right the only SB record he got was for most Ints…

  37. Gannon did NOT choke in the Super Bowl. Look up the stats that year. No QB, absolutely NO quarterback had a good game against the Bucs the entire season. I think the average QB rating against them that year was below 50.0.
    I’m not a betting man, and I even put up $100 on the Bucs at 1.25-1 odds because I was so sure the Bucs would win.

  38. gruden laid it all out for the defense how to beat the raiders and gannon.
    gannon didnt lose that sb. the o-line, the coaching and the idiot owner who let gruden go all lost it.
    gannon also wasnt quite on his way out of the nfl. he was signed as a promising free agent, away from the chiefs.
    4 years before that, he almost was…

  39. A little injection of reality here….
    Kiffin, Turner, Shell, Gruden, Gannon, blah blah blah.
    They all KNEW going in what they were getting into. Davis runs his franchise his way. They signed their contracts, took their paychecks, and then, what…they expect it to be different than what they KNEW they were getting into?
    Sorry…I know it’s easy for all the haters to hate Al Davis. But if you look at all the so-called ‘rumors’ involving Kiffin (i.e. The Arkansas job, the Rob Ryan (non) firing, etc) it makes perfect sense.
    I’ll tell you what happened. He got in there, thinking he was going to change things to his liking. Well..that doesn’t fly with the Raiders…never has…never will as long as Al is in charge…and everyone knows this going in. (As someone else has said…other coaches…Madden, Flores, Shell 1, Gruden…were able to win under these conditions…but I digress).
    So he gets pissy figuring he’s going to use the job as a springboard to another Head job…but Petrino pulls the same trick and beats him to the Arkansas job. Remember the rumors about Kiffin flying off the handle when it was made known Petrino got the Arkansas job.
    Then he figures he’s going to stick it out…but still tries to muscle some control from the ol’ man…so he tries to fire Rob Ryan so he can bring in his own guy (whether that is Monte or not is irrelevant). He gets overriden by Al…so he has it leaked to the press and he looks like ‘Poor Little Lane’ being bullied around by big mean Al Davis.
    Now Poor Little Lane is stuck…Al won’t fire him without cause, and he won’t quite risking forfeiting the rest of his contract. So more ‘rumors’ start floating about this and that.
    The point is this…each owner has his own level of involvement with team operations. With the Raiders…Davis has ALWAYS been involved. People have said the same thing over the years about Danny Snyder, Jerry Jones, etc yet their teams weathered the bad times and pulled through.
    I fault the old man with one thing…and that’s hiring a 31 year old who turned out to be a sniveling little bitch.
    I know it’s easy for all the haters out there to bash Al Davis…sure he’s a frail old man and maybe he’s starting to lose it a little but his contributions to the NFL cannot be ignored…he was one of the architects of the early league that made the league what it is today…and if you can’t at least respect that then you’re just plain old-fashioned ignorant.

  40. Sad to see everyone speaking out now about the situation in Raiderland. Where were these guys when they were playing (and getting paid)? It is easy to kick a man when he is down. They should have spoken up before.

  41. Al.. . is that you again posting as BlackJack? I remember a Seinfield episode like that awhile back.. . Anyways Al, it is the 21st century now, it isn’t the 70’s anymore.. . Pride only leads to destruction. Come on Al, time to swallow that pride, get the Raiders back together, and win a championship.

  42. LMAO at all the people Bashing Gannon….anybody who sides with Al Davis is a complete and utter FOOL

  43. The only people who are less intelligent than Al Davis are the people who believe a word he’s saying.
    I’m looking at you, Florio.

  44. I’m with Swervinmervin on this one… Rich Gannon comes to the Raiders and for the FIRST time in his pro football life he becomes an All-Pro QB (multi-years)and goes to a SuperBowl (probably two were it not for the infamous TUCK ruling). Amazing! Three other teams (Minny, Washington and KC) all failed to allow him to display his ability and here are the dysfunctional Al Davis Raiders that somehow provide him the opportunity to blossom. Instead of blasting the Raiders, he should be calling Al Davis daily to THANK him for saving his (Rich Gannon’s) career! Will the Raiders win again? Of Course! They SHOULD be 3-1 at this point already. This is a team on the way UP, not down!

  45. Gannon and Gruden are kindred spirits, they made each other better and Rich had the best years of his career with him….what do you expect him to say?
    Gruden wanted to leave, he WAS NOT fired-he was TRADED!
    Art is a good and loyal soldier, he helped Al when in a pinch and has NEVER had a negative Raider quote attributed to him. He gets it, he will tell you he is a “Raider for life”.
    Callahan had the people skills of Atilla the Hun and took a team assembled by Jon to the S.B until MASTER destroyed PUPIL and his ineptitude was exposed. He did a great job in Nebraska too….lol.
    Norv……well…is just Norv…..a proficient coordinator and an adequate (at best Head Coach)..S.D. has an immense amount of talent and veteran leadership which delays the “Norvalization” factor (i.e. into mediocrity). I wonder why they start so slowly…hmm…..
    We have all worked in places where we did not like all the rules/regulations. Since we were aware of them at inception, why is it acceptable to complain about them later?
    All Lane had to do was play the game (Chucky was great at it….talk about professional liars…lol), communicate and defer to Al periodically, refrain from disparaging remarks regards staff/organization to the press and he might have made it.
    We all have had to play the game to please our boss before, I bet if we made a public proclamation that our boss is a dummy…we would be looking for employment also.
    “Noel Devine cannot carry Joe McKnight’s spit bucket”

  46. those five int’s that gannon threw in the super bowl
    were plays called from the owners box,wanna bet…

  47. EZeNKCLA said it best with Gruden and Gannon being kindred spirits. They both would have given their left nutz to figure out a way to put in a 25th hour each day so they could practice/think/talk football. Let’s face it. The typical modern athlete is not like that and probably doesn’t appreciate that amount of dedication and discpline because it reflects poorly on their own efforts.
    Back to Gannon. Hindsight being what it is, the Raiders were doomed in his SB with their former coach leading the other team. Callahan should have spent the two weeks between the AFC champ game and the SB by completely scrapping the playbook, but he didn’t and the rest is history.
    However, remember also that Barrett Robbins blew his potentially HOF career by going bat-s*** crazy right before the game and was last seen robbing a Zale’s in Miami. When your pro-bowl center goes AWOL like that, it completely destroys a team. Look at the Colts when Jeff Saturday hasn’t played. They are an entirely different team and the Colts have had time to practice with someone else. The Raiders didn’t find out about Robbins until the day of the game or the night before, I don’t recall.
    Gannon’s thoughts on Gruden are rose-colored. Raider fans remember how the Raiders lost their last three games of the 2001 season when Gruden was openly auditioning for the Notre Dame job. If they would have won even one of those games the Patriots would have been playing in Oakland where the chances of playing in a blizzard were substantially lower. This possibly is what Davis was referring to when he says that the “Tuck Rule” game changed everything. Davis blamed the Raiders late-season swoon on Gruden’s dalliance with Notre Dame. Of course, Walt Coleman could have still conjured up the ghost of Pete Rozelle and screwed the Raiders in what remains the single worst call in the history of professional sports, but that is another story.
    Ironically, Al expects/demands the kind of devotion to the Raiders that Gannon/Gruden show to the game of football, but not necessarily to their employer. When Gruden started flirting with other opportunities-and it started affecting the team’s wins and losses- he had to go in Al’s mind.
    For Gannon to even mention Norv Turner as a good head coach hurts his argument. Sure Turner went 11-5 last season…but Schottenheimer was 14-2 the year before! Puh-leese, Turner is weak.
    Gannon had a great time with the Raiders but his opinion must be taken in the whole scheme of things. Gannon complaining about someone else’s efforts are like Paul O’Neill complaining about other players’ lack of intensity. They were just starting from a place that even elite professional athletes simply don’t visit that often.

  48. The only people who are less intelligent than virtualplague are….well….uh…I can’t think of any.

  49. Al Davis needs to sell the team or die for all Raiders fans sake. Kiffin did a good job and could have finished the turnaround. Al Davis made another stupid choice in firing Kiffin just like signing Walker, trading for Hall when you don’t even have Asomugha resigned the better corner of the two, and signing tommy kelly for so much money is he the best DT in the Nfl because he is paided like one. Al Davis should have let Bob Ryan be fired by Kiffin, but Al Davis wants to run the team into the ground and blame yet another coach for the teams preformance.

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