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NFL

Same Old Raiders

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - AUGUST 28: Las Vegas Raiders owner and managing general partner and Las Vegas Aces owner Mark Davis (L) and head coach Josh McDaniels of the Raiders attend Game One of the 2022 WNBA Playoffs semifinals between the Aces and the Seattle Storm at Michelob ULTRA Arena on August 28, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Storm defeated the Aces 76-73. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

For the second time this season, Mark Davis, who is mostly good at dressing like his father, decided to have a long postgame meeting with his head coach after an embarrassing defeat. Mark is now channeling Al, and that’s your Raiders Replay for today.

Not that you can’t look this up yourselves, but Las Vegas was pantsed and left in the woods to walk home after losing 24-0 to the largely inert New Orleans Saints. And really, once you see the “0” in “24-0,” do you honestly need to know anything else? They are now 2-5, essentially dead in the AFC, and new coach Josh McDaniels, who chose to/was encouraged to apologize to fans in his postgame dog’n’pony, looks like he is only one more coaches’ room visit from the ghost of the old man from getting the cardboard box of shame.

This should not be terribly surprising to anyone, as the Raiders are among the NFL’s biggest annual preseason liars. They enter every year talking of hope and plans and purpose and just win baby, and end every season drenched in their own spit, and then do it again the next year as they are just about to turn the corner. Since losing Super Bowl 37, they are averaging more than 10 losses per year and have lost the two wild card games to which they managed to weasel an invitation.

And it can be said they’ve tried nearly everything. They’ve changed 11 coaches, three general managers, 20 starting quarterbacks, and two cities (and that only because they couldn’t get to a third). And in the end, Mark Davis’s acorn has not fallen far from the tree. He even retraced dad’s steps while he tried to correct his father’s errors with Jon Gruden, and got burned in a unique way even by NFL standards.

So now he’s apparently doing the postgame office staredowns with the offending coach like Pops would do back in the distant day—like his gaze will wither the offending employee the way his father’s once did. It is difficult to imagine less inspired casting, or a lower chance of success.

True, the Raiders have been imprisoned by their distant past more than most teams, and this in a league addicted to ancestor worship and nepotism. But the idea of Mark Davis doing his dad in cabaret let alone in earnest is the theater of the absurdest. Even if all he’s doing is bucking up McDaniels’s spirits as the supportive boss looking for the best in all his employees, even the ones with a .286 winning percentage, the visual looks, well, way too visual, if you get the drift.

Which is more than can be said for the Raiders, now as then.