If there was any question before, there should be none now: Tony Sparano will not be the head coach of the Oakland Raiders in 2015. The Raiders have only won one game under the interim head coach, but there was still some talk that the team could remove the interim tag on him at the end of the season. That possibility was dashed with the 52-0 throttling that the Raiders took at the hands of the St. Louis Rams last weekend.
After former head coach Dennis Allen was fired, there was an immediate change to the feel of this team as they nearly upset the then red hot San Diego Chargers at home. It took a few more weeks for the Raiders to get their first win, but in the meantime they avoided the kinds of embarrassing blowouts that plagued them early in the season. After they finally secured a win, offensive tackle Donald Penn awarded Sparano with the game ball in the locker room, noting that he had kept the team together during the tough season.
But after the team completely flopped, it is clear that Sparano really isn’t doing that great of a job keeping this team focused. Rather than taking the first win of the season and turning it into more solid play, Sparano led them to the worst loss for the Raiders franchise in the modern era of football. It’s an epic failure of leadership to take a team from a solid win to the lowest of lows. The Raiders looked so slow and unprepared, it makes you wonder if Oakland had even practiced following the Kansas City game.
It was already questionable to think that Sparano might get the head coaching job long term, but with the position still being rather undesirable, it was not totally out of the question. If he could muster up a few more wins and Mark Davis could not attract a big name coach, it was conceivable that Sparano would stick around. Now that idea has to be thrown completely out of the window.
The loss does not fall entirely on his shoulders — clearly the players who failed to play well deserve their fair share of criticism — but at the end of the day, a team that looks this unprepared was simply not coached well in the lead up to the game.