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Commentary from the Edge - Week 12
Kevin Ratterree
November 18, 2008
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When I heard that Jim Fassel wrote a letter to Raiders owner Al Davis asking for a head coaching job, I was filled with the same emotion I get when I see a guy begging for change on the street in Vegas, then rushing in the casino to put $2 worth of quarters and dimes on black 22.

Dear Mr. Davis,

I am writing this in regards to the head coaching position you wish to fill. First, I would like to thank you for your consideration for my services during your last head search. I thought we hit it off really well during our meeting, and thanks again for your compliments on the jump-suit I purchased for the occasion. I still have it in my closet, though I’m afraid it is still a bit soiled in the knees from when I cleaned up that little accident you had as a result of that unexpected sneeze. In any case, I will always treasure that jump-suit, as a memento of the moment I was in the presence of greatness. I’m not afraid to admit it, sometimes I sleep with that jumpsuit under my pillow.

I was very sorry to hear about the Lane Kiffin situation. I assumed that since you hired him instead of me that he must surely be a highly qualified guy. How could any of us known what a rotten son of a bitch he would turn out to be. I watched your press conference when you exposed all of Mr. Kiffin’s transgressions and I must say I was outraged. The very thought that little weasel would try to undermine your brilliance and authority is an atrocity for which he will surely burn an eternity in hell. I pray for that to happen every night before I go to bed now. Much as I do for that rat Shanahan.

Rest assured, you will have no such problems if you honor me with a head coaching position. I am an Al Davis man. The Raiders head coaching job is the only one for me. That is the only reason why a supremely qualified candidate such as myself is still available. I tanked all of those other interviews. My heart just wasn’t in it. I tanked the Rams interview when they hired Linehan. I tanked the Chiefs interview when they hired Herm Edwards. I just couldn’t bring myself to coach against the Raiders. They were ready to give me that job. They really were.

Then last year after my dream job with the Raiders wasn’t realized, I fell into a deep state of depression. I mean, I love the Raiders and you Mr. Davis so much that I just fell apart when I couldn’t be a part of the family.

But I am a man Mr. Davis. I picked myself up off the ground I painfully decided to move on. You may have heard about the Redskins job. I had that one too. Then those damn bloggers started saying nasty things about me, and that little weasel Danny Snyder couldn’t handle the pressure and hired that punk Zorn instead. Snyder is such an idiot. He isn’t worthy of shining your shoes sir. And he is probably too stupid to know that you don’t even have to shine polyester tennis shoes anyway. I hate that little bastard almost as much as I hate Shanahan.

In summary, I do hope that you will consider me once again for this job which has been a dream of mine ever since I resigned from the Giants. I feel my qualifications speak for themselves. 3 winning seasons out of 7. And don’t forget, I won a SuperBowl. With Kerry Collins at quarterback. I made Kerry Collins a winner! No other coach in the league could win with that sloth behind center. I am salivating at what I could do with a real talent like JaMarcus Russell or even Andrew Walter.

I can get you the championship you want sir. Not to mention a lot of other things. I have a way cool zero-turn mower. I could come over and mow your grass in the summer. I have a pressure washer, I could wash your car in my spare time. Pick up your dry cleaning. Take you to the airport. I’m ready to do all that stuff. Babysit your dogs and cats. Or hell, even grandkids. I will get your coffee and offer you foot massages during personnel meetings. I think you will find my commitment to excellence knows no bounds sir. And when I say no bounds, I mean NO bounds.

Whatever you need to make this team better I am there for you. I know you are a football genius so every move we make would of course be entirely up to you. You can have a direct line right into my headset and call all the plays if you want. I’m cool with that. And hey, even if you are wrong (which we both know would never happen), I will take the blame for you. I will say it was all my fault. Because it is all about the team with me sir, that and sustaining your status as a great American hero.

And if for any reason you ever decide you don’t want me anymore, you can fire me without pay. If I can’t live up to your expectations, and I can’t bring a Championship to the best run organization in the history of sports, then I wouldn’t deserve to get paid at all. After you fire me I could do a press conference and read whatever script you want me to. We can put that in the contract if you want. Or we can do just do the contract in pencil if you would feel more comfortable with that.

I will be anxiously awaiting your phone call should you choose to grace me as such. I’ll pack the jumpsuit and be on a plane faster than you can say Marques Tuiasosopo. In any case, I am just blessed that a great man such as yourself would take the time to read this letter and even consider me for the great honor of coaching the Oakland Raiders. God bless you Al Davis, and God bless the Raiders.

Jim Fassel

(Al Davis pulls off his cubic zirconium encrusted reading glasses, dabs the drool off his chin, puts the letter down, and presses the intercom switch)

“Bambi, get me that ass-wipe Fassel on the phone…”

Misery Index

10a) Mark Cuban: Sorry to break stride here, but I would be remiss to miss on this one. Cuban is having an uncharacteristic bad run here. His basketball team broke out of the gate 3-7. The baseball owners (who seem hell-bent on keeping the sport just as lifeless as it is) told Cuban he was not welcome to play their reindeer games, and now the SEC is jacking him up. Yes, the rug is being lifted up yet again on the dirty little tricks of the rich and famous. But here is what I don’t get. If you are worth 2.3 billion dollars, you can basically wipe your ass with 750,000. I mean, I could live comfortably for the rest of my life on 750,000, but to Mark Cuban, dropping a million is about like me having to replace the transmission on my car. I wouldn’t have my name dragged through the mud and possibly go to jail just to avoid paying for a new transmission. Man up Mark. Or maybe that is one way people end up with 2.3 billion to begin with? Allegedly. Tough call.

10b) Bills: If you punt the ball for the first time on your fourth offensive possession, yet have no points on the board, that is going to be a hard game to win. Trent Edwards is throwing more picks than Motley Crue at a concert filled with shirtless girls in the front row.

9) Eagles: Playing in the tough NFC East, this team has been under more pressure than Andy Reid’s belt. But unlike that magical belt, they haven’t held up. I remember early in the season I wrote in this very column that the Eagles were going to be right in the mix this year. Well, the mix is ready. You can place them in a tub of the mix. Let the mix set. Then drop them off a bridge in Jersey. That is the only way they will be near the Meadowlands come January.

8) 49ers: Okay, you got your compulsory home win against the worst team in the division. Calm down. Keep your pants on.

7) Seahawks: Remember when Seattle used to be a hard place for opponents to win. Now it is like shore leave for every fleet that comes through. The Seahawks are an NFL best 43-18 at home, and had beat the Cardinals 5 of the last 7 times before Sunday’s loss. With the impending loss of Holmgren, and an aging cast of “skill” players one might expect Fisherman’s Wharf to be the second stinkiest thing in town for the foreseeable future.

6) Raiders: No matter how many coaches Al Davis torches, there will always be someone desperate enough to play Smithers to his Mr. Burns.

5) Chargers: Hey, take a close look. Can you see it? It is called reality. That’s right. Let’s take a look at the Chargers. Like the Cowboys, they decided a couple of years ago to get rid of their disciplinarian style coaches and bring on the fun bunch. The first year, players were glad to have hard-nose coaches off their ass. Things went well. The Chargers went 13-3. Same story with the Cowboys. Now, the second year removed from “the hammer” and those previous powerhouses spend their Sundays playing the part of “the nail.” The Chargers have deteriorated to 4-6 and losing every close game. It isn’t hard to figure out. This team is like a banana is on the asphalt on a hot summer day. We are watching it disintegrate before our eyes under the intense rays of Norv Turner’s brilliance.

4) Bengals: Misery is the Bengals specialty. And nothing is more miserable than a tie. Unless of course you only have one win. Then a tie is almost like a win. Congratulations Bengals. You move down the misery rankings for that game yet typically futile effort. I have to give Bengals fans credit. They are sick of this futility and have put their money where their mouth is with protest billboards, which ironically themselves will likely prove futile as well. Power to the people!

3) Chiefs: Well, the Chiefs have had an interesting season. If you consider horrible football interesting. They are heading for a historically bad season record-wise. But surprisingly over the last several weeks, they actually competed in several games in a row and convinced me they were going to be a spread covering machine despite losing 14 games. Then they immediately go back to being the “same old sorry-ass Chiefs. So now, not only have they broken my spirit as a fan, they are now costing me money. Chiefs, we need to talk. I think we should see other people for awhile. As a matter of fact, I might as well just tell you. I have been going out with the Titans for about 3 months now behind your back. They are super-hot and have bought me many nice things which arrive every Wednesday in an envelope. I hope you will understand. It’s not you. It’s me. I still love you, I’m just not IN love with you. We have drifted apart. Maybe if you stop associating with people like Herm and Carl, we could talk about it. But as for now, I think this is for the best for both of us.

2) Rams: This team is a bigger slump-buster for the NFL than Madonna is for guys that were barely old enough to get their first sproinger from watching the “Like a Virgin” video.

1) Lions: When I look at the Lions remaining schedule I get as excited as I do when I see my upcoming fantasy opponent has multiple matchups against the Giants and Titans. I smell blood in the water. One of the ESPN guys (either Crazy Keyshawn or Koo Koo Carter) thought it would be a hoot if the Titans first loss would come at the expense of the Lions first win. On Thanksgiving Day. Oh yeah, that would be just f’ing hilarious. Oh the irony. Two perfect seasons come crashing down while I sit there with a full stomach of food and alcohol to dull my senses enough to survive the ordeal. That would be a tragedy even greater than the tragedy of the NFL refusing to remove the Lions from our holiday viewing, in favor of a game people might actually give a damn about, or bother to stay awake past the first half for. Oh the humanity…

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