There’s been a lot of talk lately about how teams need a wise, experienced voice to provide stability and perspective in their respective front offices. Supposedly the 49ers are a Carmen Policy or John McVay-type of hire away from heading back to the promised land, for example.
It appears the Raiders have found that voice, and it’s arguably the most famous voice in NFL history.
Madden’s role in Raiders’ decision to hire Del Rio was big, even bigger than GM Reggie McKenzie. Madden ultimately decided against Sparano.
— Jeff Darlington (@JeffDarlington) January 14, 2015
It’s a reported four-year deal for Jack Del Rio, who was a former star athlete at Hayward High before attending USC and embarking on a 160-game career as an NFL linebacker. Del Rio’s experience coaching an expansion team could prove valuable in Oakland, with a Raiders squad that is trying to build a playoff contender from rubble and could find itself in a different city at some point in the next year or 12.
Besides wearing suits and an axe-and-tree-stump gimmick that led to Jacksonville’s punter gashing his own foot, Del Rio’s head coaching career is marked by a quick rise. The Jaguars started out 5-11 in 2003, then went 9-7 and 12-4 in the next two seasons. Mark Davis would LOVE to see the same kind of year-to-year growth — hell, 5-11 would be an improvement at this point.
Del Rio finished with a 68-71 mark in Jacksonville, and was fired during the 2011 season when the Jags were 3-8. He bounced back quickly, becoming the Broncos’ defensive coordinator in 2012 and finishing two of his three seasons there with a defense that ranked in the top 10 in yards allowed. Unfortunately for Denver, their worst defensive performance occurred during the 2013 season, when their offense set a league record with 606 points and carried them to the Super Bowl.
So, the Raiders replaced the guy who replaced a former Broncos defensive coordinator with another former Broncos defensive coordinator. We’ll see if the team performs a little better under Del Rio than they did during Dennis Allen’s tenure.