The Oakland Raiders were once a proud, victorious franchise, but despite zero ownership changes in over 30 years they become an organization synonymous with "ineptitude." The 2009 campaign didn't reverse this spectacular descent.
The team is overrun with pathetic draft picks, rage-filled losing coaches and a violent crazed fan base, but all roads lead to senile octogenarian who set the tone and call the shots. His Commitment to Excellence in Insanity has made the last year difficult, but highly entertaining. Let's remember when.
ESPN football reporter Chris Mortensen responds to accusations that he made no attempt to contact the Raiders organization before reporting that the team was available for sale, by saying that "the Raiders have lost the privilege with me of running stories past them for comment," because he claims they would have simply denied it anyway. Mortensen later apologized and the Raiders were not sold.
Three days after the Super Bowl, Tom Cable—who was 4-8 as interim head coach in 2008—is named the full-time Oakland head coach.
Raider owner Al Davis pens a letter to the University of Tennessee explaining that their new head coach (and former Davis employee) Lane Kiffin "broke NFL Rules," lied to the media and his team, gave insider information about Oakland to its opponents, stole an Oakland assistant to work for him at UT, and conducted an ongoing "personal agenda" to "damage the Raiders."
Offensive lineman Cornell Green is arrested in Florida after allegedly beating the mother of his two children with an aluminum mop handle. Green starts 12 games in 2009.
With the 7th pick in the 2009 NFL Draft, the Raiders select Maryland wide receiver Darius Heyward-Bey. Despite being chosen well ahead of more highly regarded receiver prospects like Michael Crabtree, Jeremy Maclin, and Percy Harvin, Heyward-Bey is offered a five-year contract with a guaranteed salary of $23.5 million, far surpassing the typical wage for previous 7th round picks, leading to protracted holdouts for No. 6 pick Andre Smith and No. 10 pick Crabtree, who both demand contracts relative to his deal. In 11 starts during his rookie year, Heyward-Bey collects just 9 catches for 124 yards, before being benched for the last five games of the season. [AP]
August 5: Assistant coach Randy Hanson is taken to the hospital after breaking his jaw during a team meeting. Conflicting reports indicate that Hanson was hurt by head coach Tom Cable, when he knocked Hanson out of a chair during a heated argument in which he threatened to kill Hanson. During the investigation, Hanson is put on paid leave and does not coach again. (He later returns to the team in an administrative office position.) Cable does not receive a fine or suspension by the team or the NFL. In October, the Napa District Attorney rules that the injury was the result of an accident and declines to press charges. [AP]
Week 1: Just beofre the season begins, the Raiders trade their 2011 first-round draft pick for veteran defensive end Richard Seymour. Seymour initially refuses to report to the Raiders but changes his mind when the team threatens to suspended him for the season without pay. He plays in the season opener at home, as the Raiders squander two fourth quarter leads to the San Diego Chargers and lose 24-20.
Sept. 27: The Raiders try, unsuccessfully, to have CBS football analyst Rich Gannon removed from the broadcast team for their game. Team officials were upset that Gannon described the organization as "dysfunctional." The Raiders accuse Gannon of not being able to "get over the fact that he played the worst Super Bowl game in the history of the game and he wants to blame everybody but himself. I guess it's our fault he threw five interceptions." Gannon played that game as quarterback of the Raiders.
Week 4: The Raiders are blown out at Houston, 29-6, to the delight of their visiting fans.
Week 6: Aided by a special teams pigeon (that some believe to be the ghost of former Raider Marquis Cooper), Oakland upsets the Philadelphia Eagles, 13-9. A week later, they suffer their worst lost of the season, a 38-0 shutout against the New York Jets.
Less than two weeks after being cleared of wrongdoing in the Randy Hanson incident, ESPN airs interviews with Tom Cable's ex-wife and ex-girlfriend, in which both accuse him of being physically abusive during their relationships. [Getty]
Week 11: After throwing for 64 yards the previous week in a 16-10 loss to Kansas City and with only two touchdown passes in 9 games, starting quarterback JaMarcus Russell is benched. Russell was 7-18 as a starter since joining the Raiders as the No. 1 overall pick in the 2007 Draft. At that draft, Mel Kiper Jr. declared that he would be "one of the elite top five quarterbacks" in the NFL within three seasons. When asked at the end of the 2009 season, "if [he] had gotten average to above-average quarterback play this year" would the Raiders have made the playoffs, Tom Cable answered, "You know we would have." (Although Cable added that he personally did "an exceptional job" coaching the offense.) With Russell on the bench, the Raiders beat Cincinnati, 20-17.
Week 14: The Raiders lose to Washington, 34-13. Two days later the team signs QB J.P. Losman, who has spent the entire season in the four-team startup United Football League.
Week 15: The Raiders beat Denver on a JaMarcus Russell touchdown pass with 35 seconds left, but lineman Tommy Kelly still lost something. His pants.
Week 16: In one the few bright spots of the Raiders' season, Sebastian Janikowski kicks a 61-yard field goal to end the first half, but the team commits 13 penalties and sees two players ejected in a 23-9 loss to the Cleveland Browns. [AP]
Week 17: The Raiders finish the season by losing 21-13 to the playoff-bound Baltimore Ravens. Their final record is 5-11. The next day JaMarcus Russell is excused from the Raiders final team meeting for "personal reasons" but is allegedly spotted at The Palms hotel in Las Vegas. [Pic]