ALAMEDA, CA - JANUARY 18: Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis speaks to reporters after introducing Hue Jackson as the new head coach of the Oakland Raiders on January 18, 2011 in Alameda, California. Hue Jackson was introduced as the new coach of the Oakland Raiders, replacing the fired Tom Cable. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
NFL Training camp season is always a time for irrational exuberance. Every team thinks it can win the Super Bowl, even though 31 of those teams will end being horribly wrong. And so, to preview the upcoming NFL season, which could be the most unpredictable ever, we now give you five reasons why your favorite team could win the Super Bowl. Today, it's the Oakland Raiders.
1. Because the following strategy is foolproof. I know precisely how the Oakland Raiders can win the Super Bowl this year. Now, it doesn't involve minor issues like "being good at football" or "having a mildly functional front office." No, no. It's much more bush league than that. What they need to do is to call up every other NFL team and explain to them that if they don't let the Raiders win every game the play this season, then Al Davis will break into the homes of every employee of every other NFL team, grab their children, and force them to stare at Al's face for an hour. Just an hour. That's all the time Al needs to psychologically ruin those kids for life.
You've surely seen recent photos of Davis and been rendered a haunted and fearful human being afterwards. He looks like he's gonna crawl out of your monitor and eat you alive. Remember when they showed those up-close pictures of Michael Jackson's nose, and you could see the bandages peeling off and the makeup caked on top of them? Remember how that made you feel? Remember how you felt like you could never unsee it? Those Al Davis photos have pretty much the exact same effect. So the idea that he would break into MY home, and scare my precious little ones? HE CAN HAVE ANYTHING HE WANTS. A Super Bowl title. The deed to my house. ANYTHING. I'm telling you, why not play to Al's greatest strengths?
2. Darren McFadden is good again! Yay! An underachiever and injury-prone mystery for the first two years of his career, Darren McFadden finally became the brilliant speedback everyone assumed he'd be the day he was drafted. And now he'll have new offensive coordinator Al Saunders calling plays for him. Saunders, last seen flaming out with the Redskins as the NFL's highest paid coordinator, will try and rebuild his reputation using McFadden in much the same way he used Marshall Faulk and Priest Holmes: lots of receptions out of the backfield, lots of big runs to the edge. I'm sure the word "explosive" will be promised many times by this coaching staff. Speaking of which...
3. HUE! Just as manhulk Tom Cable was getting the Raiders to look like something resembling a respectable team (they were 8-8, man! That's livin' the sweet life!), Al Davis swiftly canned him and promoted Hue Jackson to take his place. Perhaps Davis was right to do so. Perhaps Jackson was the real reason behind Oakland showing a pulse last season, and Cable was just a dead weight at the top of it all. Or maybe Jackson is yet one more convenient scapegoat in a long and undistinguished line of them, ready to be swiftly blamed and fired at a moment's notice. It's hard not to think that way since these are the Raiders, but this wretched cycle has to end with someone, right? RIGHT? Oh, God.
4. Jason Campbell Is Still Mildly Unobjectionable! For years, Redskins fans believed that Jason Campbell got the short end of the stick in Washington. They cited the numerous coordinators he was forced to learn under, the dearth of talent around him, and so on and so forth. So when Campbell came in and led the Raiders to a .500 record and had a better statistical season than Donovan McNabb, many of those same fans cried out, "SEE! YOU MEED A MISTEEK, COOCH!" The problem is that Campbell is still very much an average NFL starter, and barely that. He doesn't make tons of mistakes, but he never makes tons of plays either. His yardage average last year was under 200 a game. He only threw one TD per game. He's a stopgap solution disguised as a savior for a team that has only known horrible quarterbacking for the past decade. That's not good enough in a conference with Tom Brady and Peyton Manning and Philip Rivers. Campbell needs to make plays. The light needs to go on. Oh, and Trent Edwards is here now too. Goody.
5. Don't forget the "scare everyone with Al" plan! Okay, this team isn't winning it all this year, not with Nnamdi Asomugha gone and such frail leadership. UNLESS AL GIVES YOUR KIDS THE FACE. YOU KNOW HE'S CAPABLE OF IT.