“I would definitely say the Oakland Raiders are the punk rock band of football.”
-- Billie Joe Armstrong
A couple days ago I entered the exhilarating world of surfing.
Get a longboard, my friend Matt advised me.
I laughed. I scoffed. I'm coordinated. I'm agile. I’m athletic. I’m nimble. I'll be shredding waves like Kelly Slater within a week.
I ignored him and picked up a six-foot shortboard. Like Jeff Spicoli, I was about to make danger my business.
I shredded. My first time out, I spent a solid hour just wiping out. I turned it into an art form. My second foray was more earnest, but similarly tragic. I devoted a good two hours to a perpetual state of gnar. It was like watching the answering machine scene from Swingers on a loop. It got worse and worse.
I was a glutton for punishment. The Pacific finally felt sorry for me and spit me out. It told me, in no uncertain terms, to take a long hard look at my life and come back, preferably, with a longboard.
Surfing is tougher than you think.
So is running an NFL football team in Oakland.
Since their 2002 Super Bowl appearance, the Raiders haven't made a single return trip to the playoffs. In their last 11 seasons they've compiled a record of 53-176. That's a batting average of .301.
Just win, baby.
Last season, they had $55 million in dead money –cap money devoted to players who are either no longer on the team or in the league. They dedicated 44 percent of their cap space to blokes who were not suiting up for them. Of that dead money, they wrote Richard Seymour and Carson Palmer checks to the tune of $23 million to go away.
The Raiders cycled through more abysmal coaches in the last decade than I go through Haagen Dazs ice cream bars during a Nicholas Sparks marathon: Norv Turner, Art Shell, Lane Kiffin, Tom Cable and Hue Jackson.
They butchered more drafts than Daniel Day Lewis in Gangs of New York. Here are their first picks from 2003 to 2010: Nnamdi Asomugha, Robert Gallery (No. 2 overall), Fabian Washington, Michael Huff (No. 7), JaMarcus Russell (No. 1), Darren McFadden (No. 4), Darrius Heyward-Bey (No. 7) and Rolando McClain (No. 8).
That's six busts, a double (McFadden), Olivia Pope's husband (Asomugha) and a Codeine spokesman.
Every time the Raiders cracked a shortboard in a wipeout, they replaced it with the same model. Did they ever think, "Maybe, we should switch things up?"
In case you were wondering, the Raiders didn't have first round picks in 2011 or 2012 thanks to the Dead Money Duo of Seymour & Palmer. In 2009, they traded their ‘11 first-rounder to the Patriots for a washed-up Seymour.
During the 2011 campaign -- after Campbell went down with a broken collarbone -- Raiders head coach Hue Jackson hatched a plan: Gift the Bengals a ‘12 first-rounder and ‘13 second-rounder for a washed-up Palmer.
That second-rounder turned into running back extraordinaire Giovani “The Italian Stallion” Bernard. As a thank you, The Bengals hired Jackson after he was fired by the Raiders -- mostly for that despicable Palmer trade -- and promoted him to offensive coordinator this summer. The lesson is clear: Great franchises think alike.
Just win, baby.
Since Rich Gannon retired, the Raiders starting QBs have included Rick Mirer, Kerry Collins, Andrew Walter, Aaron Brooks, Josh McCown, Dante Culpepper and Bruce Gradkowski.
So, this offseason the Raiders finally wised up: No more overpriced, underperforming veteran QBs.
Oh, no. In March they decided the Bad QB collection needed one more prized piece. They traded for Mr. Meltdown himself, Matt Schaub.
Instead of taking a flier in the draft on a potential franchise-changing QB like Teddy Bridgewater or Johnny Manziel, they decided to give Schaub $8 million of guaranteed cash and back him up with their 36th pick, Derek Carr. Couldn't they have packaged that pick to move up to snag one of those two phenoms?
How's Schaub doing this preseason? He's 11-20 for 108 yards and an interception. Schaub plays like a wannabe comedian at his very first open mic. That's $8 million well spent.
This is the Silver and Black, one of the most iconic team in football. This is the legacy of Al Davis, the most iconic owner in sports history. The Raiders have the scariest fans. They have the Black Hole. They are the classic depiction of the NFL. Without them, there is no NFL.
In his last years, Davis took most of the blame for the Raiders freak show. But Davis passed away in 2011, and the situation keeps degenerating.
What is wrong with Oakland? How many times can they keep wiping out? Even Spicoli graduated high school, eventually.
I’m hitting the beach with my shortboard again this afternoon. I already told you, I’m a glutton for punishment.
So are the Raiders.
-- Follow Faris Tanyos on Twitter @OnlyFairchild