NFL  > Oakland Raiders  > Mongo think this article good. Rich Gannon Good
September 28, 2009, 03:48 PM
"Rich Gannon had been a journeyman quarterback in the NFL for years, and we gave him the opportunity of a lifetime to be our starting quarterback. We're the only team that ever afforded him that opportunity.''

John Herrera, Raiders executive, in criticizing the team's former quarterback after attempting to ban Gannon from the Oakland facility and preventing him from preparing for his CBS duties as colorman for Sunday's Oakland-Denver game. The Raiders relented because league rules mandate they not shut out Gannon.

The Raiders have been stung by Gannon's criticisms of the team, among them Gannon saying in a radio interview that the team should blow up the current structure and start over. Now there's a revolutionary concept for the losingest team in football since 2003. Now, it's all well and good for the Raiders to be steamed at an alumnus. But what kills me about this organization, dating to the freeze-out of Marcus Allen, is when a minion makes an important player in team history seem like a practice-squadder. It's needless, insulting and stupidly demeaning.

Say what you want about how Rich Gannon got to the Raiders, or what he's said about the Raiders in retirement, but to imply he was an unimportant or marginal quarterback who was lucky to be employed by such a wonderful organization insults any football fan's intelligence. He and Jon Gruden are by far the two people most responsible for the run of mini-glory the Raiders had at the start of this decade, culminating in a Super Bowl loss in the 2002 season.

Further, I see no credible way to dispute that Gannon is one of the three best Raiders quarterbacks in the first 50 years of the franchise -- unless you think a checkered eight-year run by Jim Plunkett (57 starts, minus-1 touchdown-to-interception differential in the regular season, but very good postseason play) merits placement with Ken Stabler and Daryle Lamonica because he was the winning quarterback in two Super Bowl victories by the Raiders. I'd put Gannon over Plunkett.

Plunkett never played a 16-game regular season for the Raiders. Gannon, in six Raiders seasons, played 16 games four times. In those four seasons, 1999-2002, he averaged 3,947 passing yards per year, completed 63.4 percent, and threw 105 touchdowns with 44 interceptions. The Raiders have had two NFL MVPs -- Stabler in 1974 and Gannon in 2002.

Look, I've got no problem with a team sniping at a critic. Critics are fair game if they're going to step out and take shots. But let's not treat Gannon like Andrew Walter. Not the man who, seven years ago, routed the Steelers at Heinz Field, swept the hated Broncos home and away, got Tuck-Rule revenge against the Patriots and won two lopsided playoff games before playing a lousy Super Bowl. It's silly.

Mongo still think Peter King book is no good.


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