Dec 2, 2009, 10:00 AM EDT
Of course the chances of this actually happening are about equal to that of Carrot Top winning an Oscar, but those plucky Oakland Raiders fans are nothing if not eternal optimists. Look, Al just recently agreed to give up on his JaMarcus Russell fixation; be thankful for small favors.
Anyway, this is the billboard that went up on Tuesday in Alameda, near Oakland’s McAfee Coliseum overlooking the Nimitz Freeway. It’s the handiwork of MessageToAl.com, a group of Raiders fans who are staging a Pollyanna-like NFL coup by circulating an online petition. They’re hoping to pay the $5,500 billboard fee by soliciting donations on the site as well. How are they doing so far?
They’ve collected, they say, $3,514.76 in the two months the site has been up. But the best part is the online petition, which has generated 23,598 signatures so far. The petition reads:
* We kindly ask for Mr. Allen Davis to remove himself as general manager of the Oakland Raiders Organization.
* We ask for a new General Manager to be hired with previous experience and success in the NFL.
* We ask for a new, SuperBowl Caliber Head Coach/Director of Football Operations to be hired replacing Tom Cable. Suggestions include Bill Cowher and Jon Gruden; or any other coach with similiar credentials.
* We ask the Owner and new regime to give the new Coach substantial power in hiring Assistants, installing football philosophies and most roster decisions.
Good luck with that. The site is the brainchild of Raiders fans who got together on a team chat site. One of the site’s authors is a Pennsylvania resident, believe it or not: Jared Staszewski notes that the Raiders have had seven straight losing seasons, and seven is enough.
“We have nothing but respect for Mr. Davis and what he has done for the team over the years,” Staszewski said in a story posted on RF365. “But that effort and our championships are in the past. I have been a loyal fan since 1993 and in those 16 years we (the Raiders) have only had four playoff appearances. We thought a billboard, posted near the stadium might generate some awareness, create a dialogue among the ‘Raider Faithful’ and perhaps make a difference,.”
The billboard looms over a convenience store/gas station near High Street in Alameda, where I noticed patrons more concerned with our notoriously-high gas prices than with the fate of the Raiders. There’s also a tasty burrito joint next door, so the trip over there to take this picture was worth it. Mmmm, NFL regime change.
Petition to the Oakland Raiders [MessageToAl.com]
Oakland Raiders Owner Al Davis Can Read, Can’t He? [RF365]
Billboard Message is clear: Raiders need a G.M. [Sacramento Bee]
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