When Mark Davis made his first major move as the Raiders' owner last January, hiring Reggie McKenzie as the team's general manager and firing coach Hue Jackson after a solitary, 8-8 season, some of us blasted the decision like Jack Tatum lighting up a defenseless receiver back in the day.
In my column likening the late Al Davis' son to "Tommy Boy", I called Jackson's firing an astonishingly dumb move. Then-Raiders wideout T.J. Houshmandzadeh was among those who shared that opinion, telling me, "I'll bet you San Diego, Kansas City and Denver like this move, because we would have been good next year with Hue."
Well, next year is here, and it's indeed a horror show: Two weeks into the 2012 season, the Raiders are the worst team in football – and the obvious occupant of the lowest rung on our 32 Questions status-interpretation ladder. They have taken the term ugly early to a new level, having been blown out last Sunday by the Dolphins, for whom the ignominious 32nd question was saved a week ago.
Or, to put it another way: The Romney campaign has had a better September than the Raiders.
I take no joy in the misery of Raider Nation. Oakland hasn't had a winning season since 2002, and an extensive rebuilding process is a lot to ask of this particular fan base, especially when its rival across the Bay – to whom our first question is dedicated for the second consecutive week – looks like the class of football a year after a rookie coach provoked a dramatic turnaround.
So far, Allen is the anti-Jim Harbaugh. On a positive note, the Raiders' new coach is quite docile in news conferences ("We've got to coach better, we've got to play better") and keeps his grooming habits to himself.
If his unmanicured hand can guide the Raiders out of this Black Hole anytime soon, there's no question I'll be forced to reassess my view of the situation. Until then, I miss Hue – and whether they admit it, I suspect a lot of Raiders fans do, too.
2. Houston Texans: Will the Muddle Huddle befuddle the Broncos at Mile High next Sunday?
3. Atlanta Falcons: After watching the NFL's No. 2 all-time leading pass-catcher shine on Monday Night Football at age 36, shouldn't we all consider heeding his dietary advice?
5. Arizona Cardinals: Isn't it time we start taking these guys at least a bit seriously?
6. Philadelphia Eagles: How awesome was Brent Celek's hurdle of Ed Reed last Sunday – and how incredible is it that someone who had hernia surgery last January would willfully make himself that vulnerable?
7. Baltimore Ravens: Is it fair to conclude that offensive coordinator Cam Cameron doesn't have Ray Rice on his fantasy team?
8. New England Patriots:Where's Welker?
9. San Diego Chargers: When a seventh-year journeyman with five career touchdown catches coming in grabs three more in one game, is it a sign that Norv Turner's offense is clicking?
10. Denver Broncos: Was Peyton Manning trying to make Broncos predecessor Jay Cutler feel better Monday night – or did he just have a really bad first quarter?
11. Pittsburgh Steelers: Um, what holdout?
[Outside the Game: LaMarr Woodley gives back to his Michigan hometown ]
13. Dallas Cowboys: How many Cowboys fans think Jerry Jones should just go ahead and adopt Felix Jones, already – and is Jason Garrett one of them?
15. Detroit Lions: Yo, Ryan Broyles – why the face?
18. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: When I watch Schiano wigging out on the sidelines after a questionable officiating decision, why do I think of "Entourage" mogul Alan Gray's golf course swan song?
22. Carolina Panthers: Given his recent demotion, will Captain Munnerlyn's teammates begin referring to the defensive back as "Sarge"?
25. Indianapolis Colts: What brought Adam Vinatieri more joy last Sunday – his 53-yard field goal to give the Colts a victory over the Vikings as time expired, or the 42-yarder Stephen Gostkowski missed in Foxborough to doom the Patriots a few minutes later?
26. Minnesota Vikings: If I tell Christian Ponder his girlfriend is oblong and leathery, he'll understand what I'm talking about, right?
27. Jacksonville Jaguars: Yo, Blaine Gabbert – is losing to the Texans a pain in the butt, or what?
30. Miami Dolphins: Shouldn't the fan who got called a naughty word by Jeff Ireland at Sun Life Stadium Sunday take solace in the fact that the Dolphins' GM didn't include the words "yo mama" in his insult?
31. Kansas City Chiefs: Does the truth hurt, or what?
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