Lane Kiffin got fired today by Al Davis, owner of the Oakland Raiders. What makes this really news worthy is that Davis is firing Kiffin “with cause,” which in NFL-language means Davis won’t have to pay him the rest of his contract.
As Chris Mortensen said on ESPN today, “This happens occasionally, usually involving Al Davis.” Apparently Davis has actually gotten away with this move before, when the fired coach was Mike Shanahan. I was pretty shocked that an owner could do this at first, but on second thought there’s no reason to be surprised, since player contracts aren’t guaranteed in the NFL, why should coaches’?
The real question here is: will any veteran NFL coach ever take a job under Al Davis? Davis will forever have to hire young, controversial, rookie coaches. And you can bet that their time in Oakland will only be one stepping stone on to future success they might (or might not) have.
As for Lane Kiffin, my guess is that he won’t be out of a job for long. Sticking it to his owner Davis for the last nine months shows that he has the strong will that it takes to make it as a head coach in this league. I’m sure there will be some owner(s) who is willing to take the gamble that Kiffin’s problems were more Davis’s fault than his. If his career continues to follow the path that Mike Shanahan’s has, he won’t disappoint.