Looking back into the decade of the Oakland Raiders’ coaches, there is one glaring standout: The Raiders have had one coach with a winning record. Jack Del Rio, the Raiders’ coach from 2015-2017, posted a 25-23 record in his three years with the team before being removed to supposedly make space for Jon Gruden who is currently posing a 10-16 record in his second tenure with the team.
To find the last time the Oakland Raiders had three straight winning seasons, one would have to go back to 2000-2002, where the Raiders went 33-15, coincidentally with Gruden coaching the first two years. It could be considered greedy to expect three straight winning seasons in a decade, especially when the Raiders actually have one winning season since their winning-season streak ended. The 2000s certainly have not been good to the Raiders, almost to a point of embarrassment. The team appears to be suffering in silence.
Unlike the Cleveland Browns of this decade, the Raiders have not been horrendous, but they have been close. The team has bounced around draft positions year after year and because of this, do not appear to be that bad of a team. But, do not allow the team’s constant flip-flopping of third and fourth in the AFC West deceive you, this team has suffered. Even the incredible 12-4 season ended in more heartbreak than excitement. Perhaps the Raiders are cursed. It might seem beneficial to assume that, because at least then there would be an excuse.
In reality, the Raiders have been stuck in a purgatory-esque place. They are good enough to stay out of the “first pick in the draft” conversations, but not good enough to make noise in the playoffs. However, when the Raiders do acquire the first pick in the draft, their pick flops out of the league before making a significant impact. However, the Raiders are now, finally, trending upward. Maybe not in wins, but certainly in young talent. Who would have thought the most prominent front-office signing in the Raiders’ recent history would not be a coach, but a draft expert from NFL Network?
Gruden can be a great motivator, quarterback coach, and playcaller. However, the future of this team lies in the hands of Mike Mayock. The Raiders see success on the horizon. Also, Gruden holds the reins during it. Yet, when fans look back on his tenure, they will discover Gruden in Mayock’s shadow. Yes, the second decade of the 2000s felt rough. However, something about seeing a new third digit of the year inspires. The Raiders’ future is certainly bright. With all eyes looking forward instead of back, it is safe to say the Oakland Raiders have 2020 vision.