On Friday, Oakland Raiders fans were greeted with the news that head coach Jack Del Rio has received an contractual extension. Both Del Rio and the Raiders put their heads together and agreed to a four-year contract extension through the 2020 season, which would be Del Rio’s sixth season (if he makes it) with the Silver and Black.
Personally I am both happy that Del Rio signed this new deal but I am still concerned about the Raiders defense. That side of the football really has not improved in the 33 games that Del Rio has coached. However, there are likely several reasons that I think Del Rio’s contract was extended.
Just Win Baby:
After winning 19 games in two seasons and 12 games in 2016 it was a no-brainer that the Raiders would extend Del Rio’s deal. Before anyone in Raider Nation goes crazy please remember that Dennis Allen won only 8 games in 36 attempts as the Raiders head coach and Norv Turner won just 9 games in 32 attempts.
Del Rio has gone 19-11 since taking over a team that had won just 8 games between 2012 and 2013. I know many of us cannot stand the New England Patriots but the one constant in that franchise since 2000 has been Bill Belichick. The Raiders have a long way to go before they can even think of themselves to be as successful of a franchise as the Patriots but by keeping Del Rio around, they’re on their way to better pastures.
The Pats are 201-71 since Bill took over and they have played in 7 Super Bowls (winning five of them). To be fair, there is another side to the argument. Sometimes, sticking with the same coach for too long can make a team stagnant. I don’t want Del Rio to become another Marvin Lewis. Coach Lewis has been very successful during his 14 year tenure as the Bengals head coach but his 0-7 record in the postseason is downright scary.
My point is…the only way to establish oneself as a consistent winner is to stand by your coach and let him both implement and carry out his plan for the success of the franchise. Del Rio has done well so far, so let’s see what he can do with a little bit longer leash.
Stability Baby, Stability:
If “Captain Jack” coaches out his extension, he’ll be the first coach to stay with the Raiders for six or more seasons since Tom Flores coached the team from 1979 to 1987. Since 1987 only Art Shell and Jon Gruden have coached the team for four or more seasons. Shell lasted from 1989-1994 and Gruden coached the squad from 1998-2001.
Maintaining stability on this team is very important. Al Davis showed no patience with his head coaches after Flores left. Between the 1988 season and the time of his death in 2011, Al Davis hired and fired Mike Shanahan, Art Shell, Mike White, Joe Bugel, Jon Gruden, Bill Callahan, Norv Turner, Art Shell again, Lane Kiffin, and Tom Cable.
Meanwhile, Mark Davis hired and/or fired Hue Jackson, Dennis Allen and Tony Sparano. If you add in Del Rio, the Oakland Raiders have hired/fired 15 head coaches in the last 28 years! No NFL team, no professional franchise for that matter, can win consistently when hiring and firing coaches like the Raiders have. Keeping Del Rio in the long term will maintain the culture and environment that he has instituted and it will provide for the game plan stability necessary to establish a consistent winner.
With Del Rio getting the Raiders to the playoffs last season for the first time since 2002, there’s every reason to believe the Raiders — finally — have the right coach in place. Expectations for 2017 will be high but Del Rio deserved to be rewarded for being at least a year ahead of his revitalization process of this franchise. Therefore, I believe that keeping him is the best thing, outside of extending the contracts of Mack and Carr that the Raiders could go with their team. With this extension Del Rio can be more comfortable and continue to drive the Raiders towards their goal of winning a fourth Super Bowl Championship.